I started out writing this to a couple guys at Compass who we are keeping touch with in order to encourage reading the Bible and spending time in prayer. After my quiet time this morning, I just started writing and what came out was a bit much for a text message, as you’ll see. (I didn’t edit out the first couple of lines just for humor purposes. If you really know me, you’ll have a laugh too.) I’d love to share my heart with you this morning and pray you’ll start (or continue) seeking the necessary change to be effective in our command to make disciples. And that you’ll encourage me to do the same.
Morning, guys? WHAT?! A group message? See the Holy Spirit CAN empower change in our lives! Haha! Guys, I hope you are receiving the blessing of God’s Word and the personal connection to our Father through prayer. This morning, I read the introduction (written by Francis Chan) to a book called “Follow Me”. In every step along this journey, God motivates me a little more to leave behind the things that cannot be used to advance His kingdom. The best part about what I read this morning is that God is for us! He promises an abundant life–when we are pursuing His kingdom purpose. And Jesus assured His assistance and presence. So why are we (am I) so afraid of this? We are sealed by the Spirit for the empowerment to this purpose. I’m so ready to be done with feeling bad about wasting so much of my life having accepted God’s salvation but then deciding to set aside the rest and live the way I want. But that conviction is not enough! There’s got to be change! I want to be like Paul, who at the end of his life confidently stated that he had done ALL that God had for him to do and declared himself innocent of the blood of all.
As I’ve allowed God to prune out the things I need to let go of, there’s been a rich reward of experiencing His goodness and understanding His grace! Does that mean I’ve had to let go of some of my comforts and reevaluate our cultural–in terms of society and Church–tendencies? Yes, and it has been a battle. I like my forms of entertainment. It felt good to do some of the things I’ve been doing or watching or experiencing. But to do this work, we can’t let Satan have a foothold; not even a little bit. (One huge area is in the realm of our culture’s obsession with sex. God has convicted me, despite having never crossed any physical “lines”, that even entertaining myself with TV shows that glorify biblically-defined sexual immorality is wrong!) Let’s stop being mired in the things that are unacceptable to God yet acceptable in our culture just because the majority do them. In order to know those things, we have to see what God’s Word says about them!
And so we turn to Jesus for our satisfaction and find that’s where it truly lies. And as I get another taste of God’s glory through obedience, it only compels me to want more! Remember, it is an obedience of faith that God calls us to, not just “wishy-washy” faith. Lest I be misunderstood, I firmly believe and agree that we are saved through grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone. We can know that faith is authentic when there is obedience. So together, let’s lay aside the world and sin that entangles us and, by His Holy Spirit’s empowerment, live for the purpose we were created! The instrument of change is God’s Word. We have to discern it for ourselves and abide in it. And prayer is our weapon in the war. I was reminded this week that just as soldier with no weapons wouldn’t survive long in battle, so too will we not stand firm in the spiritual battle for lives without prayer. I’m already finding “success” (if you will) in saying those little moment prayers when sin starts knocking at my door. Do these things from a willing motivation and you may just find yourselves not quite so resistant to making the needed changes, stepping away from culturally acceptable but biblically renounced tendencies, and moving from “I want to want to _______” to real change. Love y’all.