living completely for God

21 04 2009

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I sometimes “step on your toes” (or meddle, as some call it).  I try to be both challenging and encouraging (and hopefully it never comes across as condemning).   This is the kind of “iron sharpening iron” that I like from my friends, where we share what God is revealing to us and it will be convicting and encouraging at the same time.

This post may be the most challenging one yet, so be forewarned.   🙂  Just remember that this is not directed at anyone in particular, and you are reading it of your own free will.  So if you get offended, don’t blame me.  🙂

In our spiritual growth, we tend to have seasons where it’s challenging and seasons where it’s a little more comfortable.  (I don’t know that we’re supposed to be comfortable too much, but it can happen.)  When we’re comfortable, God sometimes will rock the boat and challenge us to a higher level of devotion, so we’ll grow more.  These times can be quite difficult, because we may have to give up things that aren’t bad at all, in order to move up.

Sometimes we find ourselves challenged to a level where we’re not comfortable, and we may fight against it for a while.  It’s not that we don’t want to move up — although part of us wants to stay where we’re comfortable — but it’s difficult to make the necessary changes, to die to self even more.  So we might struggle to change, and this struggle may last for a while sometimes.

That next step for spiritual growth may mean giving up something you enjoy or it may mean doing something you’ve never done before.   Either way, we know what we should do, but for whatever reasons we’re not fully doing it yet.

I’ll admit I’ve been there, so I can relate to that struggle.  I wish I could say I’ve always stepped out in faith instantly when prompted to do something, but sometimes it has taken a little while to put my will in full submission to His will.   Perhaps you can relate.  (I hope this helps someone.)  You don’t have to share with me and everyone else reading, but at least be honest with yourself.

I was struggling with this in a particular area when I heard a sermon recently by Brian Jarrett (which I’ve already written about a couple of times).  Here’s something he said that really put it in perspective:

“Are you gonna play God for a while and then trust Him, or will you trust Him now?”

He was referring to a huge step of faith and obedience that he was called to, and he wanted to do it, but he wasn’t stepping out immediately.  In his mind he was wrestling with the step and trying to rationalize a way to delay his obedience, so he could find the right time to take that big step.   But he realized that when God tells you to do something, you should do it as soon as possible, unless He wants you to wait.   If you think about it, that’s how it should be.  Delayed obedience is dangerously close to disobedience, and to a degree, it is disobedience.  We don’t get to decide when it’s convenient to do God’s will.

This concept also applies to everyday life.  Even if we aren’t facing a major step of faith, we’re all called to walk in the Spirit and follow Jesus’ example and even do greater works than Jesus did.  If we’re honest with ourselves, we haven’t arrived there yet.  But the bigger question is: do we expect to grow to that point?  Do you expect God to anoint you for awesome works in your ministry every day, and do you expect to know God in a very intimate way, as a friend?   That’s part of His will for your life.

So do you expect those things?   I figure most people who call themselves a Christian would say they want it.  But just wanting it doesn’t make it happen, as you’ve probably figured out.  Are you taking the steps necessary to make it happen?  Along that line of thought, I want to share a quote that has stuck with me for years:

Just when do we plan on beginning to walk in the presence of God moment by moment?  Well, most people don’t plan to.  Most Christians just like to talk about it and read books about it and “intend” to get around to it!  After all, when 99.9% of the people they know who call themselves Christians are able to claim to be the real thing without ever being personally responsible for their own feeding in the Word; and without ever manifesting a hunger and thirst for righteousness; and with more interest in worldly emotionalism in place of obedience and adoration of God; then, why can’t ALL of us get away with that, eh?   Isn’t that really the bottom line? ~ Bro. Dan Jenkins

I don’t think the number is 99.9 percent, at least among people I know.  I’m not going to even try to estimate what it really is — that’s not the point, and I have no way of knowing anyway.  The real question is whether we are taking the necessary steps to live a victorious life in Christ in the fullness we are called to.   It’s not enough to hope it happens and to talk about it — we must do all we can to make sure it happens.  It’s God’s will, so it’s up to us whether it happens or not.

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