One thing’s for sure, if you don’t really want to serve God, don’t tell Him you do, and don’t answer Him when He calls. Another thing is for sure; If He plans on using you for His purposes, He will make sure it happens. One way or another, God will prepare you for that call. The question you have to answer is: Will you allow God to prepare you?
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. (Heb 11:24-27)
Moses is an example of someone who took matters into his own hands…frequently. Humble in birth, but raised as a Prince of Egypt, Moses was at home with power and privilege. When Moses first set foot in the Hebrew Camp, to join his fellow Hebrews, it was obvious he had an agenda, and planned on exercising that agenda. He killed an Egyptian Slave Driver for beating a fellow Hebrew. He felt he had done the right thing, but was later rebuked by his own people for trying to break up a fight between two other Hebrews. His newly found family feared Moses was going to kill them too. Wanted for murder, and no longer feeling safe among his people, Moses fled for the wilderness.
From Prince to pauper, Moses ended up shepherding sheep near Mount Horeb. Moses had to learn to serve instead of being served. Moses had to learn the patience it takes to be a shepherd of sheep. 40 years after leaving Egypt, the Living God called Moses out of that land to return to Egypt to lead the Hebrews out to the Promised Land.
It took God 40 years to get Moses out of Moses’ way so he can serve the Living God. Moses was brash, fiery and temperamental. God needed 40 years to get the agenda out of Moses and work into him a patient humility that would later lead him to free the Hebrews from bondage.
How long will it take me to reach the end of me before I am of any use to God?
Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; … And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
(Jon 2:1-2 & 10)
God told Jonah to run over to Nineveh and preach the message of repentance. Jonah high tailed it out of town and went straight toward Tarsus. That is the other way from Nineveh. Jonah had such a low opinion of the Ninevites that he figured God had gotten it all wrong. Besides, the Ninevites scared him.
Jonah booked passage from home to Tarsus on the first fast boat he could find. God brought a storm. The sailors were scared. Jonah admitted he had disobeyed God and recommended the sailors throw him overboard. (He was not being brave, he knew he stood a better chance overboard than in the hands of the angry sailors). A whale swallowed Jonah.
Jonah had a few days inside the whale to think things over. Life inside a whale is not exactly a luau and grass skirts. He was miserable, scared, and alone. He found himself caught between certain digestive problems, and God.
God called Jonah for a reason. The evidence of that is what was recorded in Nineveh when Jonah preached there. Jonah was so consumed by his fears, his opinion of others, and his lack of respect for what God intended, that he decided that his agenda was more important than Gods, and his opinion meant more than God’s.
Is my agenda and opinion standing in the way of my being able to walk in the authority of God? Am I in the belly of the whale because I value my view more than Gods? Have I brought this disaster on myself, when all I had to do is obey God? I need to recognize that my understanding of things is not the same as God’s. And if I want to be used by Him, I need to see things His way.
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard when a servant girl came up to him and said, “You, too, were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it in front of them all, saying, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” As he went out to the gateway, another woman saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus from Nazareth.” Again he denied it and swore with an oath, “I don’t know the man!” After a little while the people who were standing there came up and said to Peter, “Obviously you’re also one of them, because your accent gives you away.” Then he began to invoke a divine curse and to swear with an oath, “I don’t know the man!” Just then a rooster crowed. Peter remembered the words of Jesus when he said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Then he went outside and cried bitterly. (Mat 26:69-75)
Before any of us beat Peter up, how many times have we been in a situation where we had the opportunity to stand for our faith, just to act as if we never heard of Jesus?
Yea, me too. Sucks, doesn’t it?
Before Peter could be of any use to Jesus, Peter had to understand that the only way any of us can represent Christ is to stop trying to do things out of fear. I cannot please man and please God at the same time.
When push comes to shove, we cannot fake a relationship with Jesus. We either have one or we don’t. Circumstances and pressure will show what is really in our hearts.
Perfect love casts out all fear. Does the love of God reside in me so strongly that I fear nothing man can do? When we love someone…really and truly love them, it shows in the little things we do. In order for me to be guilty of being like Jesus, my love for Him must be strong enough that my actions do not betray Him. Anyone can talk the talk, but it takes real stones to walk the walk.
…Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. (Act 7:58)
33 A.D. – The conversion of Saul
44 to 46 A.D. – Apostle Paul’s First Missionary Journey begins
From the time Saul was converted on the road to Damascus, to the time He was able to serve Christ as an apostle, Paul needed 11 years to learn what the completed work of the Cross meant to all mankind. Three of those 11 years were spent being taught directly by Jesus Himself. Imagine all that seminary learning and religion he had to unlearn. In order for Paul to be useful as a servant of Christ, he had to see that all his higher education and religious upbringing amounted to nothing but a heaping pile of “dung”.
Am I so full of my religious notions and education that I am useless to the call of Christ? Has my religious conviction and intellectual pursuits become a weapon I use to beat genuine believers to death with? Am I so busy being righteous that I am scaring the lost further into the depths of darkness? How long will it take Jesus to empty my cup of all the nonsense I think I know about God, so I can actually be used of God? Let my claim, Lord, be, only Christ and the Cross, and Him risen.
THE PROBLEM OF FOLLOWING CHRIST
The problem of following Christ means I have to be emptied of my agenda, I have to be willing to obey when he calls, I have to see things the way He sees things, I have to understand His love and the power of His grace so that I can give that away freely. I cannot let the arrogance of what I think I know get in the way of what God wants me to really know. I have to know that I cannot change unless He changes me. I cannot grow unless He grows me. I cannot become less of me unless He takes that part of me away that does not belong to Him.
If it is my heart’s desire to answer the call of the Lord, I have to become More of Him, and Less of Me. It is not until I come to the end of me that I can see the beginning of Christ in me.
Let God empty you of you. Let Him fill you with Him.
Will you have More or Less?
Let’s be about it.
I love you
David G. perkins