“We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.” // Colossians 1:9-10
Back when I was managing a coffee shop, I’d ask one or two of the staffs to go and buy supplies at a local store. I would write the list down on paper and carefully instruct them to call me when they didn't see the exact product I wanted so I could decide on alternatives. But every now and then, someone would disregard my instruction and decide for themselves. It would be nice if their decision actually helped, but most of the time it was a waste of money because not only did the product they picked up cost more, it was altogether a different flavor or kind. They might have thought for a moment that their independent action will please me, but in all honesty, it actually stressed me out.
You know, we tend to act like this toward God. Just because “pastoring” is a noble call doesn’t mean that God intends you to be there. God is a specific God and He might be calling you to a different avenue. From my experience, it’s very draining to achieve growth in places where God didn’t plant you. He desires obedience rather than sacrifice. I’ve sat several times with the bible on my lap reading the long passages of the design and details of the temple in Jerusalem. For a long time I thought, “What does this have to do with me and my personal growth in God?” And when God saw it fit to reveal the meaning, I saw that the reason why God communicated to the builders the very exact measures and details of the temple is because it portrays what God wants to do in our personal “temple”, our body and lives.
When we go back to the bible and “carefully determine what pleases the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10), we find that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). In the book of 2 John 1:6 it says, “Love means doing what God has commanded us”. It all goes back to obeying what God instructs us and not what we think will please Him. I know several people who have been walking with Christ for a couple of decades and still believe that our salvation can be earned. As if Christ’s blood is insufficient for the epic redemptive story of all time. That He actually needs us in order to complete the equation of salvation. It nullifies grace because we will find ourselves being worthy since we “worked” for our own salvation. It doesn’t make sense. Because no amount of human effort will please God to grant us eternal life and cross out our sin, but only through faith in Jesus Christ who is sufficient. The bible says “For without faith, it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).
Look into the famous verse, John 3:16 and find a line that requires us to work and earn for ourselves eternal life. Did you find any? Of course you won’t. The only requirement is to trust in Jesus Christ. Even our faith in Him isn’t produced by us. He is the “author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 11:2). It’s not about us, but always and always about God.
So does this mean that I get a free ticket to not do anything in church or pursue a call that I believe God is calling me into? Well, you’re not just another number in the world’s population. You live and breathe for a purpose, a purpose that is hidden in Christ. I believe the reason why Paul and the other disciples called themselves “slaves of Christ” is not because of their position or spiritual state. They’ve been freed by Him and have seen the glory of the cross. And in seeing, following and submerging their lives to His will produces this unquenchable desire to live for the gospel. The character of Christ transcends and His glory changes them into His likeness. On the feet of the cross we are humbled down, knowing without Him we are nothing and we are powerless. Just as a hungry beggar finds a never ending supply of bread and tells another beggar where it can be found, so do those who truly follow Christ, the bread of life.
“Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” // Philippians 2:12-13
I hope when you read this verse you don’t just focus on verse 12: “work hard”, but go on further and know that it is God who is working in you and giving you every desire to please Him. It’s not about you, it’s not about me, it’s all about Jesus.
Do you want to honor God, love Him and please Him? Pastor Judah Smith said “Honor is only honor when the person you are honoring feels honored”. Take the time to hear Him, communicate with Him through His words. Wait patiently for His instructions and the specific things He is pointing out in your life. If He hasn’t responded, just wait and never move without His convictions. Our independence from Him produces consequences that we might regret later on in life. Trust Him and when your faith is small, ask Him.
- Kaye // @kayeohliveare