We all face fears. But the key to facing them is not running from them. Paul the Apostle said, “When we arrived in Macedonia, there was no rest for us. We faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside.” (2 Corinthians 7:5, NLT) It’s God’s perfect love for us that exposes fear as a fraud. My confidence is never in me, but in Jesus who keeps me safe and secure. By standing on the promises in God’s Word I have confidence to face the unknowns. God is holding me the hollow of His hand. The Bible says, “…despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” (Romans 8:37, NLT) Despite all of my fears, failures and frustrations, I am created to be victorious.
The Value of Failure
Looking back over my life, I’ve learned far more from my failures than my successes; and infinitely more from my pain than from any pleasure I’ve experienced. We all reflect little after a home run, but striking out repeatedly will scar your soul. God never intended for us to dwell on success. It’s fleeting and seems to just slip through our fingers. But failure, I can camp there for years if I’m not careful. Funny, I can still break down and cry over decade old setbacks. How ironic that some of the experiences I have hated the most in life have ultimately impacted me the most. Wake-up to the value of your failures, and you’ll not only lessen their damage, you’ll mine their eternal significance.
All In For Others
If your child was ill and their future in peril, if it was a sickness that would eventually take their life, wouldn’t you do whatever it takes to save them? Would you pay whatever price necessary to see them healed, even if it meant incredible sacrifice? If it changed how you lived—would you do it? If it costs you everything —would you still be “all in”? In the physical realm, many people would do whatever it takes to save someone they love. A father would fight to protect. A mother would love unconditionally. A brother, sister, or friend would lay down their life. But in the spirit realm, it’s so much more difficult to connect the dots. Yet, that is what Jesus asks us to do. Care as much for others, as if they were the ones we love the most.
Limitless Love of God
Why is the eternal struggle between Heaven and Hell less real than the temporary battles on Earth? Compared to eternity, Earth is a moment. Why do we spend so much time obsessing over our one-night motel, and so little energy cultivating a relationship with the Creator of our eternal home? Why would we give our own blood in order to physically save those we love, and yet not fully believe Christ’s blood alone is able to save those He loves? These are the great paradoxes of Earth. And they are precisely why we must, as the Bible says, “Set our affections on things above, and not on things on the Earth, for we are dead and our lives are hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-2) Don’t let the limitations of Earth keep you from walking in the limitless love of God.
Our True Responsibility
Those of us who have been rescued by Jesus should be the most grateful people alive. Yet, how desperate are we for those we love to be saved. If others said it was impossible, would we give up and say, “There’s nothing I can do for them?” If enemies tried to persuade us it was hopeless, would we believe them? If we knew the eternal destiny of those we loved was in some tangible way in our court, that we were a difference maker as to where they would spend eternity, would that sufficiently motivate us to step up—to awaken to our true responsibility? I am my brother’s keeper! I am created to do for others what I would have them do for me. Though it will continually stretch me, I am called to represent Jesus well to everyone I meet.
We all tend to minimize our sin. That merely diminishes the extent of our rescue. When I think, “I’m not that bad,” it undermines the magnitude of God’s goodness in becoming sin for me, and the colossal pain of Jesus being separated from His Heavenly Father. When will I believe the reality
that my unforgiven sin would have separated me from my Creator…forever? Had the God of the Universe not come to my rescue and died for my sins, I would have been eternally lost. Leonard Ravenhill described the criticalness of our condition in this way, “Jesus did not come into the world to make bad men good. He came into the world to make dead men live!” I was hopelessly dead, and now by God’s magnificent grace I am marvelously alive.
Life and Death Prayers
Have you ever considered the possibility that the most strategic person to pray and believe for the salvation of those you love is…you? You and I may be the best shot for our loved ones to be spared Hell and to secure Heaven. If that’s true, perhaps the greatest need for you and I is to wake up and begin praying life and death, desperately passionate, prayers for those God has placed on our hearts. The eternal wellbeing of those we love may very well depend upon it. I know my mother’s prayers were life and death for me. Had she not been that person who stood in the gap for my soul, I have no confidence that I would ever have been saved. What life and death prayers can you pray today?
Humility is Humbling
When it comes to sin, we can wait to get caught, or we can turn ourselves in. The former resists connection to God. The latter opens up an intimate relationship with our Creator that unlocks the essence of our very existence. If, as the Bible states, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble,” then humility is key to experiencing God’s transforming power. (James 4:6, ESV) Rick Warren says it this way. “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.” In a full-blown spiritual revival, when the presence of God and conviction of His Spirit are palpable, people rush forward to get right with God. They become eager to humble themselves before Him, even doing things they would have considered humiliating. Face it, true humility is really humbling.
Since the glorious Day of Pentecost, the Spirit of God has sprung supernatural surprises upon unsuspecting souls. His unexpected, rushing, mighty wind overtakes, revolutionizes, and even thrills us. The joy of the Lord becomes our strength. The peace of God is so infinitely beyond our comprehension it defies our circumstances. And the love of God grips our heart so tightly, we are even willing to die for someone else. Without exception, God releases His supernatural power to redeem and rescue those He loves from natural limitations, inviting us to join Him in His supernatural reality. The God who made the universe wouldn’t plan anything less than supernatural surprises.
Too many rescued men and women of God have gone into early spiritual retirement. They have put themselves out to pasture. The fire that once burned hot to live for Jesus has grown cold. Either we each allow God to rekindle His holy fire in us, or we will become “spiritual has-beens”—a shell of our potential. Starting out hot, we’ve nestled into lukewarm-ness, and lost sight of our true identity: being sold out disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you bowed to apathy and indifference, and missed the sublime identity and destiny God has uniquely prepared for you? “Jesus, awaken us in this sleepy age. We want to live the marvelous one-of-a-kind script you have so beautifully written for each of us.”
All of us who claim to be Christ’s followers are called to be servants. Only in serving others do we truly represent our humble Creator. Many a nameless, faceless person on Earth, will be legendary in Heaven. Many who make headlines on Earth, are superstars in the minds of men, while humble servants make headlines in Heaven, and are more importantly legends in the heart of God. Out of all possible options available to Him, Jesus chose the lowest position, and “made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:7–8, ESV) “Jesus, we will follow Your example and become servants as well.”
There is no family more important to God than His own—the Family of God, the Body of Christ. Though God has created us to serve, we are called to be sons and daughters who serve, not slaves who serve. The basic difference between a son or daughter and a servant is relationship. Do you have a stake in the family of God? Servants serve, and sons and daughters serve, but only sons and daughters will inherit. It has everything to do with our attitude or motive for serving. If serving others ultimately serves our own benefit, then we have made ourselves a slave. If, on the other hand, serving is for the glory of God alone and to bless other members of His family, then we are serving with the heart of Jesus.