(This blog post was written while at debrief, my first week in Moldova)
“Okay God, so You’ve called me to be a missionary overseas for 11 months. I get it, there’s a lot of work to be done in the world. Although I humbly realize that I can’t do it on my own and that You have called many to go out in Your name, I know that YOU know, that I’ll do whatever You ask of me and no matter the cost. So I go and I work for You because I love You and in truth, You serve the ones You love and I love You the most. When You said, “The harvest is plentiful,” You meant that there’s a lot of work to be done. When you said, “. . . the workers are few,” You knew I’d be one of those You would call to do Your work in Your world. So do work, I must and go, I shall. Let’s do work, You and me and the rest of the ones who will truly surrender to Your call in daily ministry.”
Yep, there it is, my heart in all its’ selfish bias, on a platter for literally THE WORLD to see. If you thought anything more of me than you should have, you now know the blatened truth. I’m human and sometimes I lose the heart of the ministry/lifestyle that I’ve been called to. Sometimes, more times than I care to admit, I work for God out of the desire to measure up to His call and to try and pay back what I “owe” him. Can any of you relate at all?
Not only are those often my motivations for working for God but I also fall into the salvation by works trap that if I haven ‘t worked hard enough in a day, I’ve not held to my side of this bargain I’m chained to. Yes, chained. It’s easy to become trapped in legalism. Legalism is rampant in today’s church and if I let it, in my heart too. I was about to type, “but I want to be free.” Instead, let me write the Truth God’s Word declares, “I am free!”
This freedom is not only to be embraced inside of my worship or speech; it is also to be exemplified in my service. My offering to the King. Freedom in the utilization of my giftings and freedom in working for God out of the natural course of embracing my call because God’s Spirit is alive in me and moves me to work for Him! Before I get off subject and ramble on into the topic of freedom, let me reign my thoughts in and stick with the inspiration Jesus has given me for this post. I was called to live my missionary lifestyle (The kind I’ve been summoned to walk out anywhere I live in the world) as a natural flow of the Holy Spirit and specifically, in 11 countries all over the world this year. Making God’s dwelling place . . .my body . . .His. His to do work with.
Did you catch that? The “do work” phrase in that sentence? The phrase had nothing to do with me and all about a daily movement of my Lord in me that causes me to love like He loves and to give like He gives and yes, to serve like Him. Out of the abundance of His joy, should I sing for Him and out of the overflow of His love should I and can I, give to others more than I receive (Matt 10).
Through the lives of people like Jonah and Jacob, from the Bible, I see that God allows all to struggle in this world. Rich, poor, mighty, week . . . all will struggle (Wrestle, if you will) with God and His ultimate plan. We will want to work things out for ourselves, more than trust His sovereignty in our lives. I don’t believe that this comes from a rebellious spirit always either. The desire to run our own lives, most likely stems from our past hurts, our wounds, the ways in which we could not control our lives and now therefore try to. We must let go. To do proper work in God’s kingdom, there is not a special blessing, call, gift of the Spirit, or anointing that must come first. Only the clear desire for Christ to reign as Lord of our hearts. Romans speaks of the way in which we are “saved.” This comes by belief and confession in Who Jesus is and Who He is to us, according to the inerrant Truth of the Bible. God is indeed complex but the salvation He offers is not. Simple. Loving. Gracious. Accessible.
Walking out our Christian faith seems to be much the same from what God is teaching me. I can make it difficult by bringing into my actions, all of my thoughts from the years of theological training I’ve had and by striving for perfection (Yes, a works based faith), OR . . .
I can love, live, and breathe . . .
He, in turn, can use me wherever, whenever, and in whatever way He pleases, to whomever to make His kingdom come. I want that. I claim that. I have decided to stop “working” and to start “being.” God loves me as I am, and He created me fallible. As I’ve shared so often with my sphere of influence, God’s love for us does not change based on our actions, and this remains true in His call on my life. As a missionary overseas, this truth remains. As a missionary in my hometown, this remains true. As me, in the identity that God has given me as His precious daughter, this fact IS TRUE. God is not dead (I can never say this enough these days!) and He lives in me. I am not meant to strive but to be. As He did with the faithful men and women of old, those who struggled as I and God chose to use as examples in His Word anyway, I too can depend on my God to “do work” in me, for me, and through me.
So I pray,
God, please do work. Do work from morning until night! Do work in me. Do work in the world around me. I praise You, my awesome God, for the perfect work that You are doing and I am so grateful to live, breathe, and love You each and every day. Help me to be while I let You do the work that needs to be done. You don’t NEED ME in this world
. . .
YOU WANT ME TO “BE” IN THIS WORLD.