Life.  Some see it as a randomly assigned smattering of days with no purpose.  Others believe in divine appointments they rarely keep.  For most, ordinary.  But it doesn't have to be.   What if we dared to go the narrow way? Join me in taking THE FAITH DARE.

Caution: Participating in this challenge might force you to give up some of the things (people?) dearest to you. This challenge could change your life.  Join at your own risk.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

FAITHdare #6: Revisited

This post has been several days in the making, brewing from my heart. The challenge is to find the right words. There are always words--cute words, smart words, wrong words, mean words...those kind of words are easy to find. RIGHT words take more time and effort. So I pray that "the words of my mouth [or keyboard in this case] and the meditations of my heart would be pleasing to Him..." (from Psalm 19).

I have to be honest. When God begins to convict me of wrong living, my mind begins racing. I start to make lists, on paper and in my head, of everything I need to do to straighten my path. Last week, the lists started building yet again after I watched the second Radical sermon (FAITHdare #5). My sister made a comment, though, that tripped me in the midst of my list forming: (paraphrased) "I think part of being 'radical' is learning daily faithfulness."

That comment has been the source of a constant conversation with Jesus this week. Because here's the deal...I WANT to change. I WANT to live in obedience to God. The danger is not in my desire to change, but in my weak ATTEMPTS to change. I start thinking drastic (doing something big on my own power) instead of radical (living in daily obedience to Christ)...because drastic is easier. And drastic draws attention. Want an example?

I could move to Africa {drastic}, but what's to say I won't live in laziness there, ignorant to the needs right outside my door? Drastic without radical faithfulness.
I could sell all I have {drastic}, but keep on spending frivolously. Drastic without radical faithfulness.
I could adopt a baby {drastic}, but fail to raise him or her with daily, selfless love. Drastic without radical faithfulness.

We know this principle already. A person can have gastric bypass surgery {drastic}, but what good is that operation going to do if all he or she does is continue to live in bad habits? In fact, in some ways we probably look down on people that live drastically without daily faithfulness. Like the drug addict who checks himself into a rehab facility{drastic}, but drops out a couple of weeks later. We despise those who can't follow through, looking down on their lack of willpower and desire to change. But I'M like that. I would much rather do something CRAZY than be FAITHFUL. I would rather move halfway around the world to serve the lost than walk next door to serve my neighbor. Not that there is anything wrong with moving halfway around the world to serve the fact, Jesus instructs us to take the Gospel to the lost. But how am I going to serve the lost there if I can't even serve the lost on my doorstep here?

Jesus teaches on this principle in Matthew 25, where the parable of the talents can be found. To the faithful servants, He says, "You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things." This is the heart of what God has been teaching me this week. How can I expect God to trust me with 10 talents, when I buried the one He's already given me? I can certainly take things into my own hands and skip the hard stuff, but the result will be a painful lesson on my inadequacy. I cannot change on my own, and yet God cannot use me if I refuse to be obedient in the small things.

I don't know if any of what I am saying makes sense, but I want to direct you to the words of Jim Elliot, missionary to Ecuador and martyr for Jesus: "Wherever you are, be all there." God has me where I am, at this point in my life, for a reason. I can choose to live each day for myself, to stumble from pleasurable activity to pleasurable activity, waiting for God to give me something "better" to do (you know, like caring for orphans or healing the sick), or I can be ALL seeking His voice everyday in disciplined prayer and meditation over His word, by spending the time looking for and loving the lost right next door, by being obedient in stewardship of His resources generously given to me, by finding new ways everyday to serve Him.

I guess the bottom line is this: We need to OBEY. If that means washing dishes and kissing the booboos of your kids, do those things with radical faithfulness in selfless love. If that means leaving everything and moving to a third world country to preach the Gospel to a people who has never heard about Jesus, go without looking back and serve in daily faithfulness to Him. It may not seem like it in comparison to drastic living, but daily faithfulness IS radical. Most people in our culture, and sadly most people in the Church, live for themselves. We like to THINK that we are living in daily faithfulness, but the amount of desperation and purposelessness plaguing our cities says otherwise. Truly radical living is not glamorous, and it does not really draw the kind of attention so many crave. But it's what Jesus calls us to.

Those we deem "heroes of the faith" knew daily faithfulness well. They did not get up one day and do something huge for God. They got up everyday and did something huge for God. You don't have to read many biographies to find their key to success...daily obedience in the grittiness of life. Lots of time in God's Word and in prayer. Lots of time doing unpleasant things to serve the needs of the lost. They weren't extraordinary people. They were EXTRA ordinary people.

Forgive me if I've thoroughly confused you = ] If you take nothing else from this post, watch the video below. It is about a family who allowed God to open their eyes to the lost right next door (9 miles away), a family that refused to bury the one talent God had given them. Daily faithfulness in the little things.

I love what she says: "One thing that we've that life can be very unpredictable. Being available, and being willing, can be enough. Let God do the rest...Let God bring the needs, and the opportunities, and even the ability to fulfill those needs...He can flow that through us." I really just want to be available and willing every day...LOOKING for God to fulfill needs through me. Obedience in daily faithfulness.

Thoughts? How do you live in daily faithfulness? What has God been teaching you?


  1. OH ABIGAIL! When I read your post I screamed so loud that my kids came running into the living room asking what happened and Justin asked if everything was alright. It was a scream of joy! It is so amazing that our brains are starting to think alike, scary, but amazing. I am so glad that you wrote what you wrote. I was going to write the same thing. I had to talk to Justin about it, and he asked me, would your rather be right with people of faithful to God. If you can't tell Justin is great on making me see the right path.
    Oh what a joy is to follow God day by day. To be faithful daily, moment by moment, not on the big things, but on the smaller ones. Mathew 25 has been one of the greatest convicting passages of scripture to me (among others), how could God trust me with the big things, if I can't even follow Him in the small things. How short I fall everyday of being obedient to His will.
    Let me share what local radical faithfulness loos to me. Now please, this is not lifting or worshiping my son, this is how God has created a new creature in my son, and how He makes all things new. Radical faithfulness for me is what my son does every day. He goes to school, knowing that he is the only follower of Christ in his class, witness to his atheist friend Ted everyday, not only with words but with actions, and to all of his friends, has many talks with his teacher, gets punched at, tripped, spit at, gets his bible thrown at, all because he believes on the One true God, while teachers look the other way. Now I am not boasting on my son , I am lifting on the One that gives him the power to go through these trials everyday. Michael finds his strength in the One that saved him and glories in Him everyday. To me that is radical obedience, because he has been doing all of this through out the school year, relaying only in God and the power of prayer. Christ has shown me that Michael has touched more lives with the gospel in less than a year than I have in eight years of my Christian walk. God is faithful, in every way. He shows me how much he longs for me to be obedient everyday, for me to just say Yes Lord, when He calls. I don't want to be too busy when there is a need right next door, even if I think that is small, but it might be great in my neighbors eyes. Being available doesn't mean, for us to be available to fly around the world to save lives, which don't get me wrong, those lives need to saved also, but I know that in my neighborhood there also lives that need to be saved, saved by the blood of the lamb.
    I do know that Jesus commanded us to go and feed the poor and tent to the widows and the orphans, but right next door to me there are those that are lost and are poor in spirit. Don't they also need food and drink, but living water and the bread of life? Ok I can go on forever about this, this is just what God has been teaching me this week. I only know that while my son is being faithful right now, he will be ready when God calls him for other things, further away, and we will gladly say GO ON SON!

  2. Monica, it's so encouraging to me to know that God is moving in your life! I'm so thankful that we do not have to walk this journey alone, but that God uses the lives of others to encourage and inspire us to keep on running the race. I am always so challenged when you share Michael's faith in the midst of the trials he faces in his world. I know God is using and will use his life in a mighty way...and I love what you said at the end, "I only know that while my son is being faithful right now, he will be ready when God calls him for other things, further away, and WE WILL GLADLY SAY GO ON SON!" I pray that, if I am ever a parent, I will have the same prayer for my children! I am praying that God will continue to work in your life...and thank you so much for sharing what He is teaching you along the way!

  3. I loved that video!