Challenged


Photo credit: Melody Campbell

I continue to be challenged by reading Katie Davis’ new book.

She referenced the following Scripture written by the apostle Paul and something stirred in my spirit as I read it:

People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly…in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth and when God’s showing His power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all. Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small but you’re living them in a small way...open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!  (2 Corinthians 6:10-13, The Message).

That is a supernatural existence. Jesus blazes from that kind of life. People cannot explain that kind of life.

My life is much too “safe.”

I am very self-protective at times…of my time, my resources, my home.

Yes, we all need have to have boundaries. They are important and necessary. However, I am talking about having an attitude of willingness to go with Jesus wherever and whenever He calls…without my primary concern being my comfort.

Jesus never called His followers to a life of ease. That is a lie perpetrated by the false health-and-wealth-this-is-your-best-life-now “gospel”. Rather, He tells us plainly: “If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself (disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests) and take up his cross and follow Me (cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also).” (Matthew 16:24).

Only by living that kind of life can the life described in 2 Corinthians 6 be possible.

So the question is: Am I living that kind of life?

Ann Voskamp has written that “Fear makes a life small.” That is very true.

Fear says, “Play it safe. Think about yourself and your needs first and foremost. Don’t take any chances. You can’t possibly do what God is calling you to! How in the world would it work? What would people say? This doesn’t make any sense!”

But Jesus says, “You can do ALL things through Me. It is My energy that works so powerfully within you.  I did not give you the spirit of fear. I have given you a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind. Once you come to Me, I hold on and don’t let go.  Banish fear and doubt! Be strong and courageous! Run after Me!  Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of!  The life I have called you to is not a timid, grave-tending life. Rather, it is an  adventurously expectant life that begins each day  by asking Me, ‘What’s next?!” I will always lead you in triumph!  Quit worrying about lack. I will provide everything you need! Trust Me and you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace.  Pay attention to the hungry, the poor, the sick, the prisoners, the homeless, the cold, the orphans and the widows. I am there with them. When you minister to them, you are ministering to ME.”

I want to live that kind of life.

Jesus has been beckoning to me,  stirring my heart to let me know that He is at work and the status quo has got to go. I follow a Savior who loves extravagantly and lavishly. He is teaching me to love like that.

I don’t know the specifics quite yet (though I am noticing that He is highlighting certain themes to which I need to pay attention), but He will reveal those in time. I do know what the end result will be because He tells me in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “… Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of His face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like Him.” 

I don’t want my life to make sense or be easily explained. I want my life to shine a spotlight onto Jesus and His mighty power and transforming love.

I can hardly wait to see what the next step of the journey will be!

He brought me out into a spacious place…(2 Samuel 22:20)

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