Finding Him in "Hard"
Do you feel attacked? I do. FAITHdare was really hard for me this week.
Last night, it rained. As I was running on the still damp streets of my neighborhood this morning, I could not miss the probably hundreds of evicted earthworms, flooded out of their homes after the rain only to dry a sad death. It made me think about how much I hate difficult things.
In the western world, we measure the effectiveness of an endeavor by how easy it is. If something is hard, we must not be on the right path. So we quit. When faced with the forecast of a hard decision, some of us don't even start. Jesus uses a completely different kind of gauge to measure effective living. He said, "In this world, you WILL have trouble..." He promised persecution. And yet even the modern church has forgotten this. The Gospel is changed and fitted to look appealing to the crowds (after all, numbers are everything), youth groups are all about "fun," and the hard truths are avoided as church becomes a place where people can have their life choices affirmed without having to make uncomfortable changes. What a sad state of affairs.
In the midst of such a culture, we arrive at the end of FAITHdare #2. And I have to be honest, it was really hard for me. But as I was reflecting on the "hardness" of this week while I was trying to skip over withering earthworms, I was encouraged. Because Jesus said following Him would be hard. If this were easy, I would need to question if I was following Him with all I have.
Everyday, we have a choice to make. We can stay in the comfortable dirt of the world, and ultimately be flooded out--drowned--by the idolatry, materialism, and hate for the things of God, or we can take the high road, the Narrow Way, where every tiny slither takes the last ounce of our human strength. When we take the Narrow Way, we reach the end of ourselves and the beginning of Him. Do you want comfortable living or His strength?
You might not be happy with me for this, but I am actually praying that this FAITHdare year is really hard for you. That you are convicted and exposed for what you really are. That every week you find yourself broken. Why would I pray such a prayer? Because "in your weakness, He is STRONGER." The less you can do on your own, the more HE has to do for you. The more you dry up and fade away, the more He shines through you.
May we be a city on a HILL!
So how is Matthew 10 going for you? If it is hard, be encouraged...and keep on keeping on! What were you convicted of through David Platt's message?
I will share the question that broke me the most when I first heard this message, and then I will stop rambling and let you move on to more important things...
"Practically, what is it costing you to follow Jesus?"
As I looked at Luke 14:25-35, comparing my life to the life Jesus calls His followers to, I was broken. Because following Him has not cost me much. Following Him has not cost me my family or my comfort or my well-being, not really even my reputation. But He said it would cost EVERYTHING...didn't He? I have begun to make changes in my life, but I pray my gauge of effectiveness is no longer hardwired to shout "give up!" when the going gets tough...
Because Jesus said when it gets tough, you can know that you are finally in step with Him.
What challenged you this week? Do you feel like giving up? What keeps you going? Let's be an encouragement to each other this week! Please share your thoughts on this weeks dare in the comment section. Tune in Sunday for next week's FAITHdare.