“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered people who were hesitant to answer God’s calling on their lives all because they were afraid of what that would mean for their plans and purposes. In the words of one of my childhood teachers, “slow obedience is no obedience.”
But the question is, ‘why?’ Is it because we’ve grown accustomed (and comfortable with) what we have because of our cushy job or lifestyle? Is it because we’re afraid God is going to send us to rural Africa? Is it because we think God can’t handle our dreams?
But let me ask you, ‘what in this world could possibly fill up our lives more than living as a slave to Christ?’
When you’re financially comfortable and you ‘need’ something, what do you do?
Oh, well, let me think… I buy it. Boom.
That’s cool. But what if you don’t have that kind of money lying around? What if you see it flying off your hands as quickly as it comes?
Does that maybe prompt you to pray a little more?
To seek your Lord and ask Him to provide?
And what happens when He undoubtedly comes through? We praise Him! It grows our faith!
Having the resources to just carry out our plans might be faster and easier, but it sure does very little to grow our faith.
There’s a reason Jesus said “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:23-24)
Bro, Sis, if you’re worried about what surrendering to Christ would mean for your finances, check your heart. Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is. Don’t believe me? Peep Matthew 6:21. Don’t let money become your god. Jesus Christ is Lord of ALL and able to provide for your every need!
Then again, maybe you’re not as worried about the monetary aspect of surrendering to Christ fully, maybe you’re just scared, scared He’ll ask you to do something you don’t want to do. Scared he will send you someplace way too far out of your comfort zone.
Maybe you’re just afraid you’ll have to go through a lot of pain in order to change from who you are right now to become more like Christ. Maybe being ‘sold out’ seems much too radical for you. Jesus said:
“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:25-26)
Think about a time you really excelled. Maybe you got an A on a research paper in college, or maybe you stopped being the chubby guy and now you’ve got the body of your dreams. Let me ask you this, ‘did that just happen?’ I mean, were you just so naturally good that you excelled at fitness, academics, art, or sports? No, I didn’t think so. Okay, how about this: Can you think of a single figure in scripture who didn’t have to endure some serious trials in order to become the person God called them to be? Are you picking up what I’m putting down?
From the moment you come into the family of Christ, you begin a process of sanctification. Purification. What must gold go through to become pure? Fire. What must we do to become more like Jesus? I’ll make it easy for you to remember.
“DIE, DIE, DIE!” To self.
This last point really does it for me:
Do you think God is incapable of handling your daydream? Maybe you have a knack for videography or computer programming and want to start your own business, or maybe you love fashion design, or perhaps you have a promising career in professional baseball up ahead. My thing growing up was music and writing, preferably both at the same time. But can I be honest? I was at times afraid that if I trusted God with my dreams, nothing would ever come of them. Maybe you’ve heard the following verse of scripture: “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
I’ll tell you what this scripture does not mean. It doesn’t mean that God is your fairy-godmother who is there to bippity-boppity make all your dreams come true. Nuh-uh. What it means is that by putting God first and finding your delight in Him (and not on your wishes), God will take what you desire and conform it, mold it, and fashion it to align with His heart’s desire for you.
See, we were all born naturally gifted at something, that’s why Jesus says we are all members of one body! An arm has a function, but so does your pinkie! Sometimes surrendering to God is as simple (notice I didn’t say easy) as serving in your local church doing something you’re really good at and that can help the entire Church body.
You may have figured it out by now, but what I’ve been good at for most of my life has been writing. I didn’t know how I could use that to serve God, but the fact that you’re reading this right now just goes to prove that the Lord is awesome and oh so kind to develop this gift in me and use it for His Glory!
You know what else? Sometimes our Heavenly Father accomplishes things through us that we never even wanted to think possible because they seemed way too big. But um… when has God EVER looked at one of our little problems and said, ‘uh, this one’s too hard.’ HA!
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21) On August 1st God did something AMAZING in my life. He allowed me to publish my first book! And do you know what kind of book it was? I’ll tell ya. A young-adult Christian fiction novel. Why am I emphasizing ‘fiction’? Because God can use something like my love for story-telling for His Will!
My book, “Dreamer,” brings to light relatable struggles like anxiety and depression as well as our trouble understanding our identity in Christ through characters that God placed on my heart to write. There’s friendship and romance and fight scenes and humor… everything that would keep a reader hooked, and the best part? Each copy of Dreamer comes equipped with the message of the gospel! So, whether the reader knows it or not, by picking up my book, they’re going to hear about my Savior. See?
When we live for the LORD, He delights in working miracles in our lives and using us, weak and depraved sinners apart from Him, as the vehicles to show forth His Grace!
Spend a day with me and you’ll see all the reasons why I’m nothing, but the beauty of it is that when wonderful things happen in my life, and when my book starts breaking records (In Jesus’ name) you’ll be able to look at me and say, “Yep. That HAD to be God!” He gets all the glory.
So, Brother, Sister, whatever is holding you back from giving God your everything… don’t let it. Be encouraged to lean into the Lord, confess your doubt to Him, and just let HIM do what He does best.
Pray. Trust. Obey. Repeat.
After all, what better way is there to be free than to just surrender?