Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Must be Prepared First
“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” John 17:17–18
God will always sanctify you before He sends you. The Father set aside the twelve disciples and made them holy by the Truth, His Son. As they related to Jesus, the Truth (John 14:6), the disciples were refined by that Truth and were prepared to be sent out to preach the gospel. Jesus challenged their ambitions (Luke 9:46–48), chastised their lack of faith (Matt. 17:19–20), refuted Satan's influence (Matt. 16:23), and denounced their pride (Matt. 26:33–35). When Jesus had finished preparing them, the disciples were sent out in such power that their world was never the same again. Satan will try to convince you that your sin renders you useless to God. That is a lie from the author and father of lies. As soon as you sin, the Deceiver will whisper, “You failure! You are now of no use to God.” This can bring a deep sense of defeat and hopelessness to a Christian. Yet, there is no freedom that compares to a soul set free by God's grace. When God's people allow God's truth to realign them to God's will and God's standard, then the power of God will be released through them the same way it was through the first disciples. The Truth will set you free. The Truth is: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9), and we are restored to usefulness to God. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
My memory isn't like most people's. Maybe like some, but not like most. I tend to forget most things after going through them. Most easily to show as an example is 30 seconds after we leave to go somewhere, "Was the garage door down?".
Significant events tend to come to mind under various circumstances. Sometimes it was a lesson previously learned or started then forgotten. But regardless of how well I remember the facts, the truth is, I am a work in progress. So are you.
Many decades ago I came to Christ. Realizing that I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I was oh so excited about it. Of all memories that I cherish, I still do remember being in the Pastor's office on a sunny Sunday after a service. Meeting with some men who were confirming my decision to come to Christ. I remember most of the men who were there. Remember being given a tiny white book of John.
The next few days went from excitement to disaster very quickly. I wasn't prepared for how people would take my sharing what had happened to me. In school today it would now be labeled as being bullied. It hurt. I was being mocked and made fun of. I wasn't ready for that side of things.
When I graduated from a tricycle to a bicycle there was a period of using training wheels. Trusting in those additional wheels to stabilize my journey on the same sidewalks that I had ridden the tricycle. Then came the day that those training wheels were removed. It was time to learn how to ride the way the bike was intended. There were moments of great uncertainty. I fell many times times. Then came the moments when I really got it. The freedom of having a purpose and knowing that purpose.
Driving was thd same. Learning to do so. Learning on side streets. Drivers Education classes. Learning on highways. Driving around town. The more I did the more it pushed and prepared me. But then we moved to a different part of the state. The intensity of the driving experience seemed to go through the roof. Then, over time, it didn't bother me as it once did. I had been prepared for it.
The Spiritual life is really no different. Little by little, circumstance by circumstance, you learn how to crawl. Then stand, then walk. Then fall, to get up again, walk a little farther, fall again. Repeat. In time you start recognizing what's going on and by the Spirit of God, you begin learning how to handle life.
In the beginning of your life you were in the dark, in sinful darkness, as with everyone else. You knew your way around in the dark. Then came the light of Christ. For the first time, you began using your Spiritual eyes. The revelation of things hurt. Of how you looked, for one. Then came getting around. You were just like a baby learning how to get around all over again. Each step, each event, in life preparing you for the next time.
And oh how Blackaby has it right. Your own negative minded anti-cheerleader is there to try to knock you down again. Discouraging you. Telling you that you will never be successful, never be good enough.
But in time, God will do an amazing amazing thing. He's done it with me on various occasions. Just when you wonder about if you're getting anywhere, just when you think you can't possibly be doing life right. A voice tells you to stop, look up, turn around.
And you are shown the whole picture of where you were to where you are now.
God is indeed faithful. Even when we are not. Scripture says He began the work in us and He will continue until the day of Christ Jesus, when the "it is Finished!" moment of our lives happens.
When we are where we are supposed to be we will indeed see Spiritual success. It may not be physical success. The physical world may indeed be a disaster. Jesus said this world hated Him it will hate us. He said that we should expect trouble in this world, but to be of good cheer for He has overcome the world.
God never started anything that He didn't finish. He is faithful.
When we crave success as the world does, rather than success as God does, we will be disappointed 100% of the time.
Every single person is a work in progress. Some in being lead towards Christ for Salvation, others back to Christ because of the world. Still other towards a richer life in Christ. As long as a person has the breath of life, there's hope. THAT my dear reader is why we shouldn't arbitrarily condemn others in THAT kind of judgment. We are not in the place of God that we know every thought and intention of their life. Evaluate, yes, condemn, no. Who is to say if the very unbelieving, seemingly evil, person before you will someday receive Christ and change the world? You and I cannot know. Only Jesus can.
We have a mission in life. To come to Christ and become more like Him. To then tell others. It's not for you or I to 'save' anyone. That's the job of the Spirit of God. The Spirit goes where we cannot. No argument you will ever bring will ever be as effective as the Spirit of God who can see right through the one you speak to about Jesus. But you will be prepared for that conversation.
Today be encouraged. Jesus has overcome the world. The Spirit is with those who believe. You are in a learning process. So am I. Don't let failures get you down. Stretch up your arms and Jesus will pick you up again. He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
Life is going to be hard. But Jesus is the Rock. He's harder. He is with you no matter where you are in this universe. If you haven't come to Christ, stop today to ask yourself why haven't you? If you have, be encouraged, your Savior and mine will always be with you. He's coming back for us soon.