“This is not about you. It’s about me” – God to me one afternoon this week.
What does that sound like to you? Well, let me tell you, God’s not being a drama queen, always wanting to be the centre of attention. Hmm …hold on. Anyway, this meant not just one, but a few things to me – talk about killing a few birds with one stone; God loves to multitask!
Firstly, this meant that it really doesn’t matter about winning theological arguments or how I am perceived through my blog or social media (a couple of things that have been on my mind a lot recently). The ONLY thing that matters is God’s love. I am not the one running the mission, God is. All a calling is, is God asking if you’d like to join in on His plan. This gives me a tonne of peace. It also brought me to a revelation.
Presently, I have a massive heart for bringing people to Jesus, but I’ve realised I’ve been fighting the grain in my own ability rather than God’s. I’ve been lookin out to debate strong atheists on social media, thinking that if I could change their minds it would be a massive win! Despite being able to win, to my confusion, they didn’t become believers and I may have even pushed them away, unfortunately. But it’s never worked that way. The format is too impersonal, and I pray that God pursues them in another way.
Even before I’d chosen to investigate my calling, God brought the people who needed to hear Him TO me, to be introduced – not battled. I never had to go looking! Like I said in my previous post, the decision to follow God isn’t solely a decision that is made in one’s head. The posture of one’s heart needs to be considered.
The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’Psalm 14:1
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.Ezekiel 36:26
Some people, for whatever reason, have a poorly postured heart. No matter the evidence, their predisposition is to reject God. Only God knows why and we must pray for them. After all, it wasn’t impossible when it was promised to Israel through Ezekiel, and it’s not impossible now. So what I’ve learned is, I can argue like a child all I like, but without my Father’s help I will never be able to soften their hearts. Instead, I need to listen for His whispers and for whom He tells me to talk to. People whose hearts He has prepared to receive.
In The Case For Christ, Lee Strobel concludes with a formula for faith based on verbs from a verse in John: Believe + Receive = Become.
Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.John 1:12
However we come to believe, whether it’s through seeing God at work supernaturally, gathering the evidence conclusively or just simply having a spiritual intuition, we still need to receive Him in order to become His children. This is the heart part that balances the head part, I guess. Have you received Him? If not, it’s very easy. You won’t feel anything weird, there’s no lightning-bolt moment. All you need to do is – in prayer – accept that Jesus has paid the death penalty for your rebellion and wrongdoing, so you can be reconciled with God. It’s sort of like surrendering because it’s impossible for us to make ourselves worthy on our own. The Bible says that forgiveness and eternal life is a free gift that cannot be earned – it’s called grace, and it’s available to anyone who receives it in a sincere prayer of repentance.
The other thing that struck me about God’s message to me this week was that, I had become unaware of my pride. I was starting to feel good about myself because of the work I am doing for God. A dangerous thing. Not that I should feel bad about it, but I mustn’t ever think of myself as above anyone else. All glory to Him. After all, none of this is really my doing but God’s allowing me to do so. He’s God! He could quite effortlessly do whatever I can do in a lifetime, in the blink of an eye! But relationship is a dance and God should always be leading. What’s exciting is I get to take part!
In self-giving, if anywhere, we touch a rhythm not only of all creation but of all being. For the Eternal Word also gives Himself in sacrifice; and not only on Calvary … From before the foundation of the world, He surrenders begotten Deity back to begetting Deity in obedience … From the highest to the lowest, self exists to be abdicated and, by that abdication, becomes the more truly self, to be thereupon yet more abdicated, and so forever … What is outside the system of self-giving is not earth, nor nature, nor ordinary life, but simply and solely Hell … That fierce imprisonment in the self is but the obverse of the self-giving which is absolute reality.C.S. Lewis
I love this man. For me, some of his language was quite difficult to grasp the first time I read it so read it over a couple more times just to make sure. How profound. See from this, I can understand that in my self-giving, I had also started to become self-absorbed and therefore imprisoned once more. For example, I had started counting views and likes on posts – trying to think of ways to increase them. Luckily, this week I have been reminded THAT’S NOT THE GOAL. I need to trust that God is doing important things with the people that DO see them. If a post of mine has any part whatsoever in bringing even ONE person closer to God, I will be overcome with joy. Thank God, He made me aware of it, eh?
Finally, I was also feeling really guilty for some things I’d done and said this week – something I haven’t felt, or spent much time on in a while. In my repentance, I once again felt the complete awe of redemption and grace. In our awareness of our wrongdoing, we become more aware of the weight of Jesus’ death and the vastness of God’s love and forgiveness. In fact, part of my bible reading today talked about exactly that!
Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it – I see that my letter hurt you but only for a little while – yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance … Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow only brings more sorrow.Paul, 2 Corinthians 7:8-10
Before I sign off, I just want to mention that fundraising plans are underway so stay tuned for updates!! It’s really not long now until I’m sent packing and I just know God is gonna do something miraculous. Please pray for me that an appropriately timed job opportunity will arise too and thank you all once more for supporting me! The responses I receive from these posts are very encouraging (forget what I said about the self-absorbed thing, keep em coming haha). I will post an update specifically about the event when details are solidified.