As you are making your way through this challenge and nearing the conclusion, the commitment service on November 30, you might be at that point where you are asking, “What now?” God is clearly speaking to you as you have drawn into Him, and he is directing you to ACTION. Maybe you know what He is calling you to, but your are nervous.
He is calling you OUT. Where? OUT of your comfortable, cushy, and safe life into the deep waters of faith in Him. He is calling you to STOP lifting up your name and your glory, but rather put that to death and behind you in order to lift up HIS name, HIS fame, HIS glory.
By now you’re probably wondering, What in the world does this mean for me? After the apostle Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, people “were cut to the heart and said … ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2: 37). The first church responded with immediate action: repentance, baptism, selling possessions, sharing the gospel. We respond with words like Amen, Convicting sermon, Great book … and then are paralyzed as we try to decipher what God wants of our lives. I concur with Annie Dillard , who once said, “How we live our days is … how we live our lives.” We each need to discover for ourselves how to live this day in faithful surrender to God as we “continue to work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2: 12).
Should you put your house on the market today and downsize? Maybe. Should you quit your job? Maybe. Or perhaps God wants you to work harder at your job and be His witness there. Does He want you to move to another city or another country? Maybe. Perhaps He wants you to stay put and open your eyes to the needs of your neighbors. Honestly, it’s hard enough for me to discern how to live my own life! My suggestion as you think, make decisions, and discern how God would have you live is to ask yourself, “Is this the most loving way to do life? Am I loving my neighbor and my God by living where I live, by driving what I drive, by talking how I talk?”
I urge you to consider and actually live as though each person you come into contact with is Christ. Asking and reflecting on these sorts of questions points us in the right direction, but we have to get beyond asking the right questions. We often have “aha!” moments but don’t act; in fact, we’re famous for it in the church.
Oswald Chambers writes, “Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you.” 1 To that I would add, “Be careful not to turn others’ lives into the mold for your own.” Allow God to be as creative with you as He is with each of us. Have you ever said, “I was made for this moment”? Do you believe you were crafted for specific good works, things that God knew before you even existed? Or do you compare your life to others and lament what you have been given? We have a God who is a Creator, not a duplicator. He’s never made a Francis Chan before.
Paul tells us, There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. —1 Corinthians 12: 4– 7
Imagine if you opened up a drawer in your kitchen and found twenty cheese graters but no other utensils. Not very helpful when you’re looking for something to eat your soup with. Just as there are different utensils in the kitchen that serve diverse functions, God has created unique people to accomplish a variety of purposes throughout the world. That is why I cannot say in this book, “Everyone is supposed to be a missionary” or “You need to sell your car and start taking public transportation.” What I can say is that you must learn to listen to and obey God, especially in a society where it’s easy and expected to do what is most comfortable.
My hope and prayer is that you finish this book (this challenge) with hope, believing that part of your responsibility in the body of Christ is to help set the pace for the church by listening and obeying and living Christ .Knowing that God has called us each to live faithful and devoted lives before Him, by the power of His Spirit.
You do not need to preach to your pastor or congregation; you simply need to live out in your daily life the love and obedience that God has asked of you. I was recently told about a man who heard me preach on 1 Corinthians 15: 19– 20, where Paul writes, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.” This man was convicted that since Christ is indeed alive, he needed to live like it. So he quit his well-paying job and became a pastor—something he had felt called to do for a while. When people make changes in their lives like this, it carries greater impact than when they merely make impassioned declarations. The world needs Christians who don’t tolerate the complacency of their own lives.
Is This What I Want to Be Doing When Christ Comes Back?
I often think of those that have been martyred for Christ’s sake and His name. I’ll spare you the details, but it was repulsive and horrific. I think of how they must have looked at each other while being tortured with stares that said, “Just hold on a little longer. Don’t deny Him! It’ll all be worth it.”
How thrilled they must be right now— I cannot imagine the joy they felt just five seconds after their deaths. I know that when I meet them, they’ll say it was so worth it. A hundred or thousand or million years from now, they’ll still say it was so incredibly worth it. Stories about faithful saints like our brothers killed in Turkey are what we will talk about in heaven.
The Bible is clear that each of us will stand before God and account for our lives:
- For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Cor. 5: 10 ESV)
- O great and mighty God, whose name is the LORD of hosts … rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds. (Jer. 32: 18– 19 ESV)
- For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Rom. 14: 10– 12 ESV)
What will people say about your life in heaven ? Will people speak of God’s work and glory through you? And even more important, how will you answer the King when He says, “What did you do with what I gave you?” Daniel Webster once said, “The greatest thought that has ever entered my mind is that one day I will have to stand before a holy God and give an account of my life.” He was right.
Get on your knees before our holy, loving God. And then live the life with your friends, your family, parents, spouse, children, neighbors, enemies, and strangers that He has created and empowered you through the Holy Spirit to live. May you be able to say at the end of your life, along with Paul, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. —2 Timothy 4: 7– 8 ESV
Chan, Francis (2013-04-01). Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God (p. 174). David C. Cook. Kindle Edition.
God is undoubtedly calling you to TAKE ACTION. Pray now, literally now and continue that this will be made clear to you.
November 30 will be an opportunity to commit this to action on Sunday, 10 AM. CAN’T WAIT! GOD IS WORKING AND MOVING!