By PKD Lee
Many people complain to me that they have surrendered their life to Jesus but nothing dramatic has happened. That is the norm, I have found in my life, that most of the time you just ran by faith and led a very normal life. It is only when we look back and see what God has done, it begins to dawn on us that God was working all the time. In fact, when we think something great is being done, it is usually not God working (though it can be) because God’s version of great is often different from mine.
When Abraham entered the Promised land what he found was famine (Genesis 12:10). Moses on his journey to the Promised land, just went from one crisis to another, and spoke of his frustration to God. Jeremiah was so disillusioned with his call that he said God had cheated him and he wished he had died (Jer 20:7, 14f).
O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me.
Cursed be the day in which I was born! Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me! Let the man be cursed Who brought news to my father, saying, “A male child has been born to you!” Making him very glad.
But all of them created history in their life.
When we come to God we surrender control of our life to God, so that God’s purpose for our life is fulfilled. Psalm 139:13-16 and Eph 2:10
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
says that God has a predefined purpose for us, but we do not know what this purpose is till after the event. So our life tends to become a roller coaster, where we only know the present and the immediate future of our life. We may have a long range plan for our organization but we cannot have a long range plan for our life.
The life we lead and the work we do, are not by our power but by the power of God, as it says in Eph 1:17-20,
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
If it is God’s power, which is too great for me to comprehend, how do I plan and do my daily work? Often you just cannot, and all that you can do is to be faithful to what you are doing, and continue. You are on the roller coaster, and you are being faithful to what has been revealed to you. At times it may seem that God has abandoned you. At times, you feel confident that you are in the centre of God’s will. But by faith we KNOW that God is present with us and we continue in faithfulness.
We see these acts of faith in the widow of Zarephath, who in faith did what God has ordered – show hospitality to strangers, and was blessed by the power of God. Joseph, who as a slave and then a prisoner was faithful and was recognized by Potiphar and the jail warden for his work. Jeremiah was faithful, and the long list in Hebrews 11 records the faithfulness of people, who never saw more than the present and the immediate future, but trusted Yahweh for their life. Set goals of faith and work towards it, and expect God to do powerful things beyond what you can imagine, even if you are feeling abandoned by God. He never leaves you.
James says that God will give us the wisdom to understand His will and purpose. For this, we need to turn away from worldly thinking and its certainties and seek the wisdom of God (Romans 12:2).
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Once you turn away from the worldly perspective of things, you have lost your moorings in this world and you are now on a different plane. No longer do worldly plans work the way they used to, rather you see the power of God doing things in a way only God understands. As we seek God’s perspective, we get to see what God is doing, but often we feel overwhelmed. If this be the case what should I do?
Prepare yourself for the place God has put you in, studying and learning how to interpret the Bible. Read extensively on the context God has put you in, so that you have the information to process what God is doing.
More importantly, let the fruit of the Spirit manifest in your life, and be a blessing to people wherever you are. As you bless people intentionally, and seek the welfare of others, you will understand the heart of God.
1 Thess 1:5 says that the gospel comes in power, and this power is seen in a transformed life.
For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.
Let that transformation be a reality in your life. Experience victory over sins and addictions as God sets you free. Do not aim to be a star, just aim to be faithful. Wanting to be a star is of the world. The desire to be faithful is of the kingdom of God.
As you focus on being faithful, your life will become more and more of a roller-coaster and you will wonder where God is taking you. See Paul’s description of His roller coaster ride in 2 Cor 11:22-29
Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
You will find your life becoming unbalanced and yourself stretched like an elastic band. You may wonder if you are overdoing it. But that is the Christian life surrendered to God. You are overdoing it, when you are trying to do things for God, or create history for God. When you are just being faithful to the responsibilities He has given you, it is not.
Does this mean that you neglect your ‘worldly’ responsibilities to do what God wants you to do? NO. There is no such thing as worldly responsibilities, all are from God. So, you cannot neglect any. Since you will be doing all that God has made you responsible for, you begin to get stretched. Am I allowed to rest? Yes. Take the Sabbath break. Take the festival breaks which were a week long. But see that you are faithful. You are not trying to prove anything, you are just trying to be faithful to what God has called you.
You may or not may not get feedback on your faithfulness. Most of the time you do not. But occasionally God encourages us with feedback that shows His power working through us.
Rev. David Corfe was my pastor in a fairly dead church, where we faithfully went to the Bible study of three or four people. Many years later I met him in UK and he shared that the period he spent in that church was the driest in his life, and he never understood why God sent him there. I told him, he was sent for me, as I made my commitment to Jesus in a sermon he had preached in the church. You may be wondering what are you doing in the place you are. God is working, you cannot see it.
One thing I have found, after several years, 10, 20 or 30 years, as you look back on your roller coaster ride, you can see how God had done great things through you, with you and sometimes in spite of you. So, don’t get discouraged at the seeming confusion around you, at the spontaneity of events as God works things,
Let us just make three commitments:-
1. To surrender our lives to Jesus as Paul describes in Romans 6:1-6
2. To commit ourselves to the Great Commandment to love people (especially our family and church) in Matthew 22:37-40
3. To commit ourselves to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20