The "training time" in our lives has really intensified recently. The books I've been reading, groups we're involved with, Church services and events I've attended, even my home school curriculum choices have consistently drawn my attention to Jesus so much more lately. I have been consistently led into places that require my continued faith in God, and I have been cared for every time. I have been asked to obey the Lord's commands, despite what seems acceptable to the world around me, and have been blessed every time. The way that the world is doing things is wrong! It may feel right at first. It can be talked through and justified and made to sound so sweet but it is a bitter fruit my friend, a temporary indulgence that leaves you unsatisfied.
Sometimes I feel so compelled to share the true, good fruit, the good news, to be a messenger of truth and hope, that I feel like I might burst. I have often chuckled to myself, feeling sorry for the poor soul that I might run into, all this pent up evangelistic energy might make me come across a little crazy! (Perhaps you might think I sound a little crazy right now, too.) But mostly I find that it is my children that I'm sharing this enthusiasm with. This isn't a bad thing by any means. Josiah said the other night, "Mom, I feel like God is calling me to China." Then, the next day he added, "I think I'd like to preach the gospel to orphanages using lots of animals." We recently saw Reptile Man at the library and afterwards we talked about what a platform he has because of his knowledge and love of reptiles. God creates each of us with unique gifts, talents and desires and all of these can be used to uniquely share the gospel in a way that no one else would.
So, what is it I want to share? I feel strongly that there are many lies that we've accepted, even as Christians, that leave us feeling dry and unsatisfied. When truth seeps in it is like cool, fresh water in the parched, dry mouth of life. I've been guzzling this water this year and it is changing my life. I can't help but look around at the dry mouths that surround me and feel compelled to share some of this endless supply of sweet relief.
It's been very hot recently, record breaking actually, and the most refreshing beverage has been ice water. If I was standing in this heat with a crowd of thirsty people and I had a bottomless water bottle that constantly refilled, how could I not share it? That's how I'm beginning to feel about sharing the good news. I'm really starting to understand what a precious gift I have. And, knowing I have such a precious gift, how could I sit in church each week simply as a part of my routine while I mouth half hearted worship songs to the One who gave me this gift? Or how could I just check tithing off my list each month as part of my to-dos? Or dutifully force myself to read passages of scripture, or pray repetitive, safe prayers to the King of Kings, Creator of everything, my personal Savior, God Almighty?
If I really believe He is God and that the Bible is true, then this changes everything! I operate under a new set of rules, the old worldly game is not the game being played, those rules do not apply. Not only that but my attendance at Church is no longer out of duty, it's out of a desire to learn more, and worship with other believers. My worship is not just singing songs, it is an offering to God, an opportunity to sit at his feet and say, "Thank you", to be in his presence and be overwhelmed by him. Tithing becomes an opportunity to be apart of ministry locally and around the world! I can do so much more than just my little bubble of influence by supporting someone or an organization that God is using to spread the good news. I read the Bible to gain understanding because I long to know God more. My prayers have become a conversation with my Heavenly Father, a connection to him. My sin has become more of an abomination to me and it makes me appreciate Jesus' death on the cross so much more.
How I want you to experience this, too! I think some steps that help lead us into this perspective are this:
1. Ask God to reveal himself to you in a new way. The Bible says in both Matthew 7:7 and Luke 11:9 (hmmm, wonder if it's important?!), "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." We can not find truth on our own, we need God to reveal it to us.
2. Look around you and realize the awesomeness and intricacies of all that God created, including you. Really take the time to appreciate this and let it change how you think of God our Creator.
3. Examine Jesus' death on the cross. We can not appreciate how great a sacrifice his suffering was unless we fully look at the temptations he conquered and the pain he endured for us. Understanding the gravity of his death causes an explosion of celebration at his resurrection. It completes the promise to us. HE'S ALIVE! What he said was true. I'M FORGIVEN!!
4. With these two views of God in proper perspective, what's left is to abandon everything and follow him, which is no longer a sacrifice to be made or anything scary or tedious to partake in but instead an exciting journey and an opportunity to know him more and even be used by him! (Believe me, I'm hoopin' and hollarin' right now!!)
Steps 2 & 3 are where good commentaries and books, Biblestudies, movies and testimonies of others can help you see more clearly. This is why we as Christians do these things... to gain clearer vision not because we should.
I believe step 4 is only possible with the first three steps. I can not give up everything I'm comfortable with unless I really know my Creator and Savior because, when I do, He is easy to trust. This is why my whole life I will seek to know more and more of who he is so that I am more pliable in his hands and able to be used however he desires, without fear.