1. Jesus didn’t say we need to have faith like a mustard seed for no reason.
Faith is hard. Simple as that.
Ever send your kid out on a mission?
“Go on little Jonny and get me these things from the store” You say as you hand the little man the car keys and list of groceries for the week.
“Ok!” He says, smiling as he turns and heads for the door. Then he stops, looks down at his tiny three-year-old body and calls out.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?”
No. You give appropriate tasks for your child’s age, you ask your three year old to pick up the toys in his room, and then you move in beside him to help him get the work done, you know what he is capable of and you work around it.
When it comes to faith we were created more like three year olds than grown-ups. He asks that we have faith as little as a mustard seed because He knows that is all that we can possibly muster, and then he moves in beside us and helps us get the work done.
We need to start being real about the fact that when we pretend in this area it is damaging to others and to ourselves, and we need to learn that it is okay for us to be honest that He created us to need Him.
2. The worst of sinners
Paul puts it perfectly in 1 Timothy 1:15
Here is a trustworthy statement that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and have eternal life.
We need to shed our perfect-got-it-all-together attitudes and be before anything else, honest about the wretchedness that lies in our hearts and our need for Him. It is impossible to offer any genuine help to another, or connect with God ourselves, from a place of pretending we have it all together.
3. There is little worse than calling yourself a “wretch” but thinking inside that you are really “hot stuff”.
This one goes hand in hand with number 2. Yes, it is important to know our dependency on Him, but faking it just shows that we are using Him for our own identity needs and not letting Him really fill the space in our hearts that was created to for Him to live inside.
I like to think of this as a thermometer as to how I am doing on the inside. Do I feel the need to pretend to others that I need Him?
Then something is wrong.
4. Practice never makes perfect
Faith is not something that you can ever attain like a merit badge. We don’t wake up one day and have just enough tests behind us so that we can say we have faith figured out.
Faith is a journey, one that constantly needs attention, and our dependency on Him never gets any less. The more we learn, the more we discover of our need for Him.
5. I am more scared of the peaks than the valleys
When there is money in the bank, food in the cupboards, the van seems to be on a good streak and has been starting every morning… That is when I find the most danger of forgetting my dependence on Him.
I believe that sometimes life calls for a little recklessness abandon so that we get closer to him. This might mean we have to give up “comfortable” on purpose.
Never have I seen a time when God did not honor giving up our own comfort to help those around us. Never.
No, I am not saying that comfortable is wrong, or that we should never seek to take care of our own, but I am saying that when we find our comfort (or seeking comfort) getting in the way of having a real relationship with Him, then it is time to consider doing something drastic.
Being close to Him is always more important than anything this world has to offer.
6. We are not capable of deciding what will better God’s kingdom
Another trap that I fall into when it comes to faith is believing that we know what God needs from us, or what plan He has for our lives (or the lives of others).
John Piper puts it this way. “We are held accountable for being wise, not influential”
Think on that one.
He wants us to do our best, but to let Him handle who we are going to reach, and how it will all work out in the end.
We may never know of those reached because of our action to help a child on the street, who then went on to evangelize to millions. We might only know that we were being obedient on the day when we helped that child.
God can handle the plans. We cannot.
7. This place where you are, is exactly where you are supposed to be.
God never has us in a place where He does not want us to be. Yes, we may have strayed from what is good, but he always has a plan for this place-this here today. The question is if we are learning the lessons that He has for us in this season. So often I have stayed stuck for months or even years longer than I should have because I failed to stop and ask Him what it was that He wanted for me to learn from this season.
8. His timing is not our own.
This might be obvious, but yet I screw this one up all the time and so it made it here on the list today.
So often I get stuck thinking that when He comes through at the last minute it is because He did not care. But we need to remember that He does what He does for a reason, and though we will never understand the great-mystery that is Him, we can learn to embrace His timing in our lives and much fruit will come of learning to be at peace in His seasons.
9. There is no substitute for digging into the word every day.
Simple as that.
Faith may not be something you will ever attain fully, but it is something we can loose (no not salvation, but faith).
If we are not reading our Bible and seeking His wisdom in our lives daily, we are on the path to having no faith left.
10. There is nothing special about living in Ethiopia (or any other country).
It does not matter what country you practice your trade in, what is important is that we all stand up and accept the calling that He has for us. We are all called to be fishers of men, all called to show His love for others on this earth, and where we do it, or how we are paying the bills could not matter in the least.
I admit, I used to buy into the whole “moved to the other side of the planet to be the hands and feed of Jesus” line. But its wrong! God wants all of us to show His love regardless of where we live. And to be honest I think that “full time missionaries” do a lot of damage for the rest of us who are trying to live out His calling for us but have not been called to move. I say, screw the labels! We all are missionaries, we all are called, and we all have a role to play, none less or more than another.
How about you? Any lessons about faith etching into your heart lately? Tell us about your journey, what is God teaching you today?