Jesus loves you. He knew your name before the beginning of time. He saw your tiny frame being formed in your mother’s womb and loved you even more. If you had been the only person on the face of the earth…He would of still handed over His life as a sacrifice for you…that’s how precious you are to Him. I know it’s humanly impossible to fathom the love Jesus has for us…for it’s beyond our comprehension. But Jesus loves you with a love that will never end…never give up…never forsake.
Paul realized that he would never be able to please everyone by his ministry. No matter how he approached people, he found some would listen…some would scoff…and some would take offense. When we’re a people-pleaser, our focus is to deliberately and intentionally mollify our message…to water it down in order to be palatable for all, but in the process every ounce of Holy Spirit power is leached out. God isn’t calling us to be wishy-washy, lukewarm Christians who try to be “politically correct” with every person we meet. Paul understood that his allegiance was to Jesus Christ and not to the crowds…his total dependence was then on the Master of the universe not man.
Why do some decisions come easier than others? And why are there times when we are so indecisive and timid we can’t pull the trigger on anything? John 14:27 tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” For it’s when we allow our emotions to rule us, we walk around, wringing our hands and crying, “Woe is me!” over the smallest decision. Couple that with fear of the unknown, and it’s amazing we make choices at all. Major life decisions will face all of us, but it’s only after seeking God’s counsel first and receiving His peace that we can confidently make the best choice.
There I was a few nights ago…lying in bed, awake and worrying about medical tests I had just completed. Mentally, I was taking myself through every worst-case scenario, when God stopped me mid-thought with, “Haven’t I had your life in My hands all these years, and won’t I continue?” For the next few minutes it was like a video ran in my head of past situations where God had literally saved my life…some I had been immediately aware of at the time, but some I had totally forgotten about. By the time this “Video” was done, I was seeking forgiveness for my lack of faith and declaring with new-found confidence, “My life was in Your hands then, and it’s in Your hands now…my faith and trust is in You, Lord, regardless of what happens.”
What the Lord requires of me is completely different from what He is calling you to accomplish for Him. But we have all been set apart or selected by God…entrusted with the divine call to share the Gospel Message with others. Yes, your calling is to your co-workers, friends , and family…those in your circle of influence. But it’s also to those people He brings across your path daily…the sad looking waitress, the harried, young Mom waiting in line with you, or the neighbor who’s just received devastating health news. You have been set apart for all them…called to bring the Good News of Jesus to those who desperately need it.
Praying shouldn’t be a publicity stunt for the cameras while seeking 15 minutes of fame. For it’s our personal, intimate conversation with God…and He takes prayer very seriously…and so should we. As a Believer, I’ve seen the power of prayer and witnessed how intercessory prayer can literally change the atmosphere. But we tend to think of prayer as some sweet little poem we recite at the dinner table before meals and not the authoritative commands we can speak under the power of Jesus’ blood. To paraphrase I John 4:4, Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world. And if we could but grasp a glimpse of just how powerful our prayers are…this world would be shaken, and all the evil in it. May I then be so bold as to encourage you to prayer walk around your town…around your schools…around the area you live in. For we are all asking ourselves the same question, “What can I do in the face of all this evil in the world?” The answer is prayer…bold, impassioned prayer.
The Apostle Paul readily admits here that he’s not yet arrived at perfection in his spiritual life. So how come we think as soon as we become a Christian we’re a mature Believer that can’t fail? I Timothy 6:12 tells us to, “Fight the good fight of faith.” The journey of our Christian walk is going to be a struggle…it’s going to be a battle between good and evil, with us sometimes coming out of the skirmish bruised and battered. But we need to get back up and not allow failures to define who we are in God. Failures simply mean we’re still trying…and still fighting the good fight of faith.