Willing to be Spent

pexels-photo-247195

If God poured out the life of His Son why can He not pour out your life as well?

Many Christians believe that because God is good, their life should always be comfortable. A self-centered mindset permeates much of modern Christianity. Far too often we speak and act as if Christianity is all about us.

God’s greatest concern, however, is not our comfort and ease but rather the souls of men and women. Jesus suffered and died in order to bring people to Himself. His entire concern in coming to earth was the rescue of lost people.

1 Corinthians 10:24 says, “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.“

Jesus is the embodiment of this verse. He never sought his own well-being. He did not come to earth for Himself. He did not suffer and die for His pleasure. Jesus came seeking our well-being. He bled and died for us.

We are called to live as Jesus did, seeking the good of others. We are not to live self-protective lives. We are to give of ourselves.

When we come to Jesus we lay down our rights and relinquish control giving our lives to God to spend just as He spent the life of His Son.

On January 8, 1956, five young missionaries—Pete Fleming, Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Nate Saint, and Roger Youderian—were speared to death while trying to reach a violent tribe in the jungles of Ecuador with the gospel. Some years later one of the widows, Barbara Youderian, was asked the question, “when you found out that your husband had been speared to death and you asked God why, what did He say?” Barbara replied, “It never occurred to me to ask God why.”

If we have surrendered our lives to Jesus we have given them to Him to spend in any way He might choose. Barbara understood this. She and her husband had surrendered their lives fully to Jesus. They were sure that he was leading them to reach out to the Waodani. They knew the danger but they trusted Him with their lives.

When her husband was speared, Barbara did not have to ask why. She had surrendered her own life as well as that of her husband to be spent by God. If God spent the life of His son why would he not spend Roger and Barbara’s lives and ours as well?

Are you willing for your life to be spent by God?

 

Weak Things

pexels-photo-634548

For 40 days Goliath had boasted. For 40 days Israel had trembled. For 40 days the name of the Lord had been blasphemed. Finally, on the 41st day, God raised up His chosen vessel to defeat Goliath—David, a little shepherd boy.

David was not the warrior that you would have expected. He was a youth, not a soldier. Yet he had tremendous faith in the power of his God. His brothers, King Saul and Goliath all doubted his ability to fight but through it, all his faith did not waver.

For Seven years Israel had been oppressed by Midian. They lost their crops to their enemies and suffered famine. They hid in dens and caves and strongholds. Finally, God raised up an army to fight for Israel and drive their enemies away—Gideon and a mere three hundred men.

This tiny army is not what you would have chosen to go against the Midianites and Amalekites. They were too few. They were too weak. But they trusted in the mighty God they served.

Our God uses weak things and foolish things. He uses little shepherd boys to take down giants and tiny armies to defeat mighty nations. When little David triumphed over Goliath and when Gideon and his 300 routed the Midianites and the Amalekites all of the glory had to go to God. It is clear that it was not Gideon and his men and David and his stone but rather their God who won their battles.

All throughout Scripture God used unlikely people—David, Gideon, Mary, Peter, Andrew, James, John, Matthew, Rahab, Ruth. He used fishermen, tax-collectors, prostitutes, and shepherds. He uses unlikely people because He receives glory. He chooses the foolish things and the weak things to accomplish His impossible plans.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 says, “ For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.”

Often we are terrified to do anything that is bigger than us but we must remember that what is impossible for us is possible for God. He wants to call us beyond our own ability. He uses weak things and foolish things because He gets the glory. He calls us to do the impossible because He longs for us to depend fully on Him.

What is the impossible call of God on your life? Are you willing like David to step up and fight when everyone thinks that you are crazy? Are you willing like Gideon to send your troops home, purposefully putting yourself in a vulnerable position because God asks you to?

The Courage of Surrender

pexels-photo-635699

Come and die.

This is the call of the Christian life. Jesus gave everything for us. He purchased our very lives on the cross. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Jesus has purchased us. We are His possession. We must, therefore lay aside our own dreams and desires and live for His dreams and desires. Surrender. Pour your life completely out at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to use it in any way that He sees fit.

God does not ask that we would surrender. He demands it. All throughout Scripture we are commanded to lay aside our own desires, plans, and ambitions and live fully for our God.

Luke 9:23 says, “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

To deny in this passage literally means to lose sight of oneself and one’s own interests. A cross is an instrument of death. Jesus is calling us to die to our wants, our dreams, our desires. He is calling us to die to ourselves.

As Christians, we understand this and yet something often holds us back from full surrender. Fear. We are afraid to surrender.

It takes courage to completely surrender. It is not easy.  As Elizabeth Elliot said, “One does not surrender a life in an instant. That which is lifelong can only be surrendered in a lifetime.”

We can gain the courage needed to surrender today yet lack the courage to surrender tomorrow. We are called however to live surrendered lives—every day, every moment, every second fully at the disposal of Jesus Christ to use as He sees fit.

How do we gain the courage to live this way, the courage to surrender?

We must get to know our God. Surrender is only terrifying when we forget to whom we are surrendering. When we remember that we are giving our lives to a perfectly loving, always forgiving and completely unchanging God surrender is no longer frightening. Suddenly it becomes the safest and most reasonable thing to do.

As Corrie Ten Boom said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

But Lord—The Ultimate Oxymoron

pexels-photo-568027

Someone once said that Christ is either Lord of all or He isn’t Lord at all.

For most of us, that statement brings a lot of conviction because we have areas of our lives that we have not fully surrendered to Jesus. Far too many of us are still clinging to control of portions of our lives.

The reality is however that the term Lord is an all-inclusive one. When you choose to make Jesus Christ Lord of your life it is all or nothing. If Jesus is truly your Lord and your Master whatever you have belongs to Him. If He is truly your King when He asks you to do something you will do it.

We live in a society of freedom and independence. We do not seem to understand the concepts of slavery or submission. If Jesus is Lord we are His slaves and a slave does his master’s bidding.

In our churches today we tend to glaze over this concept of slavery far too often. We like the idea that Christ has set us free from the bondage of sin. This is true and wonderful but there is another side that we must not forget or ignore. In Romans 6 we are told that we are either slaves to sin or to righteousness.

Romans 6:15-19 says, “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!  Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?  But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.  And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.  I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.”

Romans 6 makes it clear that we cannot choose whether or not we will be a slave, we can only choose the master to whom we will be enslaved.

Either Jesus is Lord of your life or sin is Lord of your life. You will be enslaved to sin or to Christ.

Lord, Master, these are all-encompassing terms.

Is Jesus truly Lord of your life?

If you are still saying things like, “But Lord” you should ask yourself this question and seriously examine yourself to see. Far too many people claim Jesus as their Lord and master and yet still live lives ruled by their own selfish desires and whims, which are sin.

If this is you, repent.

In the church today we have tried to make Christianity as easy to swallow as possible. But the reality is that Christianity is not an easy calling. It is a call to come and die. It is all or nothing. Jesus is either Lord of all or He isn’t Lord at all.