Tuesday, July 22, 2014

No More Excuses

We are a people of excuses. We know what we should do and we know the benefits but we don't do it, and we are not honest with ourselves. We have heard the same message for decades concerning the long term benefits of healthy eating and exercise. None of us are incapable of increasing our activity or of making right choices in the grocery store, but we don't make those choices. What is true physically is also true for us spiritually.

The big shocker for people is to realize that we haven't been saved for ourselves. Father is not interested in spoiling us, giving us everything we want or having life focus on us. His goal is to mature us for eternity which means we have tough lessons to live through and learn, just like in childhood. The biggest adjustment is to get ourselves out of the spotlight and to put it on Yahweh and others. First Yahweh, and as a result then others.

Father has prepared a work for us to do and that work is going to be sacrificial and self-denying. It is going to smooth out the rough edges and help us gain the character of Jesus. It is going to provoke us to love, according to the definition of Jesus. It is going to cause us to see others before ourselves. He is telling us to go and get involved in people's lives. But what excuses are we offering? Moses offered excuses:

“O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” (Exodus 4:10)

Good excuses but not good enough to be excused from Yahweh's plans:

“Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LordNow therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” (Exodus 4:11-12)

We have no excuses because Father is able to make us capable of what he needs us to be. We have to remember who we are serving. We have to get to know him better. We have to trust him, to simply obey what he tells us to do.

I have shared before that I am an introvert. I would love to spend all my days surfing social media, studying and hiding behind books. Yes, books are fantastic but not when we use them as shields against the calling of the Lord. As an introvert I have to overcome some pretty big barriers to do what I do every day as a pastor. But the Lord called me, equipped me, strengthens me, and fills me with the courage I need to be involved in so many people's lives. Yes, it is definitely a struggle at times and I catch myself more than once crawling back into my shell but that is when I hear him ask, "What are you doing here?" I fully understand Paul the apostle as he writes:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

And so can you. No more excuses. No more excuses of why you can't manage the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading, meditation, prayer, worship and witnessing. It's just a decision that these things are important, that Jesus is important, that people are important. No more excuses for focusing on yourself instead of on those who Jesus died to save. No more excuses for denying your calling. Read Yahweh's response to Moses again and decide to trust, leaving behind whatever shield you are hiding behind.

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