What have the past 20 years that I’ve been a Christian been all about? About You? Sadly, no, they’ve mostly been not about You but about me. And I didn’t even see it. Until now.
This “now” is changing me. I know so much now, in this moment, that I didn’t know just a few short weeks ago.
For 20 years I didn’t know You want me. I didn’t know You look at me and see someone who can be used by You to change the world. I didn’t know that Your call on my life is no different than your call to the disciples 2000 years ago. I didn’t know I didn’t need to wait for a “calling” from you. I didn’t know that this normal American dream of a life isn’t all that You want for me.
Reckless abandon. I guess I always thought that some people were called to live their lives with this kind of love for You, but I just wasn’t one of them. My “normal” life was acceptable. I thought some people were just “cut out” for going to Africa, for being missionaries. Now I’m starting to get it. There’s nothing biblical about choosing not to obey because I am not “cut out” for something. These people in Africa and elsewhere are not all “cut out” for their work, for Your work. No, but they are “cut out” for You. I want to be “cut out” for you. My sacrifices (and there haven’t been many) are not pleasing to You. It’s not my sacrifices You’re after, You want my obedience.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
I love Preston Sprinkle’s perspective on obedience. Speaking in reference to Matthew 25:31-46, he says, “Jesus emphasizes obedience as the marker of distinguishing the believer from the unbeliever.” Does that mean there’s no grace? No. Absolutely not. What it means, I think, is that it’s through obedience that fruit grows in a believer’s life. We’re always looking for fruit as the evidence of faith, but maybe we’ve got it wrong. Maybe we should be looking for obedience as the evidence of that faith. I think sometimes we’re tempted to believe that if we see what we consider fruit in a person’s life that means they are walking with God. But how do we know that that fruit is a by-product of the Holy Spirit working in a person’s life or if it’s just their desire to do “good” things which is usually driven by the desire to please other fallen people rather than the perfect Creator God? Perhaps it’s not the fruit that declares a person godly. I think it might be the obedience to God’s commands. When there’s obedience, naturally there will be fruit.
I know very little, but one thing I’m being convinced of over and over as I read Scripture these days is how much it feels Jesus demands of me. Or is it really that much? He sent His perfect Son to die for me, to purchase me back from death and on a daily basis I say, “No thanks, God. I can do it myself. This cute little life I’ve created is good enough.” But it’s not. It pales in comparison to the glory He seeks.
If Jesus, on the night before he was murdered, prayed for God to be glorified, who am I to think that I shouldn’t do the same? Daily. On my face before Him.
Jesus, I am praying “anything” for You. For Your glory because You will not share it with another. It’s all about You and it’s always been only about You, but maybe I’m just now waking up to that truth.
Jesus, You’ve never been more beautiful to me. Make me completely Yours.
“The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9