Thursday, October 14, 2010

What's Your Excuse?

There are many excuses we use for not responding to God's calling. Just like Moses we present such things as our believed inabilities to him, from our lack of training to our fear of people. We dismiss his calling as a thing of our imagination because "God knows me and would never ask me to do something that makes me feel uncomfortable".

Are you kidding me?

Are you reading the same Bible I am?

This is the Father that told his Son to leave all his rights and privileges behind, to enter into creation as part of creation, to face every temptation we face, to face rejection, to love without being loved back, to suffer at the hands of an ignorant creation, to take on himself the ugly, detestable sins of the world and then to die a horrible death on a cross. But don't stop there. Consider the many people he called to be prophets, evangelists, apostles, teachers, pastors. Many of them have been beaten, jailed, made to watch as their families are killed, and they themselves are killed. We don't have to look back a couple thousand years ago, it is happening today.

You seriously don't think that our Father would call you in your weakness, to serve him through his power and strength? Of course he does and it is his preferred way. When he calls us to serve him in our weakness, he receives the glory. When we try to serve him in our strength, we often get the glory, even when we try to direct it to him.

The thing is, we are to forget that we are serving him in our weakness and step into it as if it is a strength because we are not doing it in our strength but in his. In Jesus' explanation about John the Baptist he said this strange thing:

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. (Matthew 11:12)

I've always avoided this Scripture because it makes me feel uncomfortable, being that my weakness is shyness. However, I also did not like it because of the way people have used it as an excuse to be rude and "in your face". Lately I am discovering that it is a Scripture that cannot be ignored because it is a basic truth to our calling.

This Scripture is not an excuse to be rude but it is a release from our inhibitions, a release from our excuses, a release from self. It is a statement that we must be bold in our calling and service to our Lord. It is a boldness that comes from the realization that we are doing nothing in our own strength and what we do we do with Jesus' authority. He has anointed us with the authority to love. This means we can be bold and lavish in our love. He has anointed us with the authority to forgive. Be bold and lavish in your forgiveness. He has given us authority over demons and sickness, so be bold and lavish in this authority. Come on now, lay hold of what you have been called to and anointed to do at the bidding of the Spirit.

I'll confess to you that I often use the excuses of busyness and tiredness to deny God's calling in my life. It is easier to get busy with the mechanics of things and remain hidden behind routines. This is my shyness trying to exert authority over me. I have ignored many promptings of the Spirit, many times when he has revealed things to me about people for me to respond to. It is easy to cover these things up with excuses and fail to walk in the boldness of realizing our calling and Jesus' strengths. Every time I do it I am denying Jesus in me and I will have to give an account for these times, unless I repent and walk in my full calling. You probably realize the same thing for yourself. It is time to walk in the boldness of the reality of our God.

Let's face it, our Father wants us totally dependent on him so of course he is going to call us to our weaknesses. It only makes sense. Peter was a fisherman, not an orator yet look at his life. Paul was blinded by his national pride, prejudices, and narrow understanding of God, until he was called to serve Jesus outside of the box with the Gentiles. Both men had to learn not to limit God and to walk in the boldness of Jesus' strength. What will be said of you and me? Let's set aside our excuses today. Let's offer up even our weaknesses for Jesus to use. Let's make ourselves totally available to our Lord, whatever he would have us do. Let's serve our God without fear and with great boldness, for the sake of a lost and dying world. Let us take hold of the Kingdom of God which is forcefully moving forward.

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