When we are ‘put’ somewhere we don’t like or don’t find comfortable, it can be tempting to ask for a change of location. But what if God wants us in that very place to advance the gospel?
When I was a child, I often walked into churches and wondered why everything felt dead. As I became a man, I realised that the problem was not the church, but my heart. God was present; the aridness did not come from without, but within. Slowly, as I learned what it meant to come to Jesus and drink of His every-flowing grace, my entire experience of church changed. Church shifted from feeling like a desert to being an oasis. Worship became an experience of gulping grace and bathing in love. The shift was transformational.
For us to serve and bear the weight of each other’s burdens, we need be aware of what others are facing, on a personal level. We seek to live out this life together, daily, with the difficulties, and the joys. This takes a high priority because when we love and serve each other as scripture calls us too, we display the gospel to a lost and dying world. The advancement of God’s kingdom is what He commands us to participate in (Matt. 28:19-20), more than the advancement of our own lives.
A sign of authentic faith is when a person stops asking the question, ‘what do I want from life?’ and begins to ask a different question, ‘what does God want from me?’ This shift is a sign that the idol of self has been dislodged and that there is room in the heart for Jesus to be Lord. Only then can life-planning become productive because only then is planning an act of obedience.
Part of the reason why I want us to look at the horizon is because I genuinely believe we are headed in an exciting direction. Last Sunday morning we thought together about the gospel imperative to “enlarge the place of your tent” and “strengthen your stakes” (Is. 54:2). This is a timely word to us.
We find it difficult because it is difficult, but it is worth fighting daily for as being nourished by God’s Word over the long haul will bring vitality, life and joy in the Lord Jesus.
We belong to God and his desire is for us. That is stronger than any desire sin may have. As we seek to heed God’s warnings and avoid the danger of sin crouching at our door, we do not do so in our strength but in his mighty power, knowing that we are his.
Imagine what it would look like for you to live a life consecrated to God – not just in the morning when you have a devotion, or at church on Sundays – but with everything, all of the time. This, after all, is the deep intent and purpose of God. His will is not just that we praise Him occasionally, but that our entire lives are summed up in a single word, worship.
When we think back to Jesus being scourged by the Roman guards, or having to carry the cross-beam to Golgotha, we need to own the truth that he did this so that the curse of sin could be lifted from our shoulders. Jesus was not a victim; he was a sacrifice. He willingly gave his back to the whip of justice so that our guilty souls could be pardoned.