(Originally posted 11-29-18)
In so much of what I’ve shared throughout the (now) almost 4 years of doing this blog, I’ve tried to be as honest as possible. I can’t fake it and I hope that if anything ever seems counterfeit, you the reader would be the first one to call me on it. But it seems as I sit down at the keyboard to type today, I’m honestly a little thin on ideas or even words to share. I’ve had several episodes of writers bloc before but I usually just push through. As I begin to type, the words and thoughts usually come. Other times, I’ll have had some time in prayer or have read a particular passage and the topic has practically been “given” to me.
So as I began today, I started to evaluate exactly what I’ve been struggling with because that’s probably where I need to land. A thought that has been in a book I’m reading and even passages of Scripture I’ve been in lately has been this: You’ll never be ready. I think it applies to the trajectory of my life and the call God has placed upon it. You see, everything I’ve done has been a sort of calculated risk and even though I talk A LOT about taking big steps of faith in our lives, I still struggle. And I struggle on a daily basis.
What God has been showing me I share in full transparency. Today’s entry isn’t so much a 3-point blog with a tidy little bow on top. Today is more real and more honest. It’s a deeper look at life in the hopes that it causes us to examine where we are at when we consider what God is calling us to do.
My conviction at times is so much based upon wanting to be “somewhere” and involved in something that truly matters for the Lord. I don’t think I struggle as much as I used to with the idea that “if God could only do x, y, or z, then I’ll have made it and I’ll be happy.” What I’ve come to know is the truth of Proverbs 16:9 which states “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.” I’ve gotten used to the idea and even expect God to chart things out a lot differently than how I would’ve done them. But in that, I’m finding He has a much better plan. God determines the steps and we simply follow.
So here’s a real struggle for me: It’s so easy to stagnate and be complacent at times with where I am at in my walk. I feel as though I can talk about taking big steps of faith, encourage others to do it, and be “all about it” on every social media platform…but at the end of the day, am I truly living it? Is it real and does God see me as someone who can be trusted with the call (i.e. am I “all-in”) or am I still one to whom He would say “You of little faith, why do you doubt?”
To circle back to the title of this blog and the over-arching theme today, I believe the stuff of faith is something in which “we will never be ready.” Let me explain. We try our best to calculate and determine what we can or cannot afford to do. We check bank accounts. We take a look at our health. We look at our marriages and our families. We examine our surroundings and our conveniences. We take a full inventory of what it looks like and what it will cost us in order to follow after Christ. And then we determine if we can take that step.
But here’s where that breaks down. God never asks us to wait until we are ready. He knows most of the time, we’ll never move out, we’ll never take the land, we’ll never do anything if we wait for the moment when all is well and we feel like the wind is at our back. No. You and I will never be ready if that is the measuring stick by which we choose whether or not to proceed in doing the thing that God has whispered into our ears.
There’s a vast array of folks who read this blog from week to week. I don’t know who most of you are (and maybe that’s ok!). But I am certain that someone is wrestling today with the ideas set forth here. You are contemplating something but you are weighing all the pros and cons and can’t justify taking that step because of doubt.
Maybe it’s going back to school to pursue something totally unrelated to what you’re doing now.
Maybe it’s going part-time in your job, so you are able to put time into starting a ministry God has given you a vision for.
Maybe it’s selling your house and downsizing so more of your paycheck can go towards supporting a local mission in your city.
The list could literally go on and on.
There’s a lot more I could say about this topic but I want to leave you today with a Bible story that for me, always challenges me to think more deeply about how bold I am in Christ. My best commentary in this column is to point your eyes here; to challenge you and to draw your own conclusions about how this level of faith would be displayed in your own life:
24 A large crowd followed and pressed around him [Jesus]. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:24-34
As I read this passage again, I am convicted by my lack of boldness. Certainly we could examine stories from the Bible that show we are not alone in our fear of going all-in for Jesus (the Rich Young Ruler in Matthew 19, King Saul in 1 Samuel 15, the disciples in Matthew 8:23-27). All exhibited doubt and rather than acting on faith, they moved away from what God was showing them. But the woman in Mark 5 shows me what faith in action looks like. She knows the power that Jesus has and that if she steps out just to touch Him, she’ll be healed. She could’ve said no to that urging in her head and told herself she was crazy for trying to get to Him. But she overcomes and because of her faith, she experiences the miracle.
Guys, may we all be this bold and courageous. May we realize that even if we are never ready, God is the sustainer of life and will supply every need. That kind of boldness is what the Holy Spirit wants to write into our DNA. We aren’t meant to play it safe and we aren’t meant to live this life for our own gain. We are to press in, take hold of Christ, and allow Him to move us forward knowing He is bigger than any fear we have.
I love you guys! Have a great week and let me know how I can be praying for you.
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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Ephesians 5:15-17
Other blogs for further reading:
Determined In Faith
What In The World? 5 Things 2020 Has Taught Us As Christians
Taking The Land