Friday, January 1, 2016

Be Strong! (And Just Do It)

We all have a past. Every one of us. As we reflect, some moments make us proud, while others cause us to cringe in embarrassment.  A few may bring the sting of heartache.  But one thing is sure: every moment of our past is part of our testimony and makes us who we are in Christ. 

Our Past Prepares Us for the Future

There’s not a minute of our lives that the Lord would change because He’s used every millisecond to conform us - more and more - into his likeness.  Each smile, every tear, and all of the things we may wish would have never happened gave us cause to lean on the Lord, whether we recognized we were doing so or not. 

We doubted and learned to trust. 

We laughed and enjoyed the celebration. 

We suffered and learned to let go. 

We hurt and then recovered. 

We sinned and found redemption. 

We faced challenges and embraced victories - even small ones. 

If the process isn’t complete today, we find peace knowing it’s underway.  He who started a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). 

All of our moments, right up to this one, have made us ready for what we’re about to face. They’ve prepared us for the road ahead and strengthened our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

We’re Ready for What’s Next

Whatever has happened over the past months, whether happy or sad, traumatic or joy-filled, let’s find a way to be grateful. We know they’ve served a purpose and made us ready for what’s next in the journey we call life.

In 1 Chronicles 28:10, King David said to his son, Solomon in preparation for what was next:  “Realize now that the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary. Be strong and do it.

I believe the Lord has the same word for us today.  Fill in the blanks of this sentence:  “_______ (your name), The Lord has chosen you to _________ (your assignment). Be strong and do it.” 

Has the Lord chosen you to do something? Is it exciting and adventurous or challenging and unglamorous?  Perhaps it’s as simple as caring for your family, ensuring the house is kept and the meals are prepared.  Maybe he has chosen you to care for a special needs child and your hands-on parenting roles last decades longer than you ever imagined. Maybe He’s given you a challenging assignment of shining for Him in an office full of people who reject His love. Or loving a husband with more emotional needs than you “signed up” to supply.  Maybe He’s called you to step into ministry and serve children, lead women, or participate on a worship team. 

Our current calling - the work that the Lord has chosen us to do - may be something easy or extremely challenging. We may find it exhilarating or consider it drudgery.  Either way, the Word tells us that we’re chosen for this task and instructs us to serve the Lord with a whole heart and a willing mind.

Solomon had a mighty task before him. David said “The task is great because the temple will not be for man but for the Lord God.” (1 Chron. 29:1) Solomon was chosen to do something that was not his idea. It may not have been his passion or the first priority that he’d envisioned for his time on the king’s throne.  Yet, God chose him to complete the work.

God Equips the Called

Be encouraged in this as I am:  As King David commissioned Solomon to build the temple, by the Lord’s grace and great generosity, he was provided with all that he needed to finish the work:  Plans, materials, labor, resources.  God fully equipped him for the work at hand.

You’re equipped, too.  We forget sometimes that the Lord gives us all we need to walk in step with His Spirit. All of our needed resources are available to us, but they often look far different from what we imagined. When we don’t see what we expected or hoped for, it’s not an excuse to forsake our calling. 

Upon realizing that the Lord has chosen us to do this work, we have three choices:

1) Reject the work.  We can walk away and refuse to do this thing that He’s called us to do. We can quit and look for something better.  Sadly, this happens among us every day. In learning to recognize and embrace God’s best, I would encourage you to stay.  Instead of running away, pray that the Lord confirm your calling and ask Him to give you a love and passion for it.  

2) Do the work while grumbling and complaining.  This leads to a life of misery. Please don’t do it.  Serve the Lord with a whole heart and a willing mind (1 Chronicles 28:9) by showing a heart of gratitude, a willingness to grow through the journey, and a heart that praises Him through every trial. He is faithful. Trust Him. Embrace what God provides, what He instructs and walk in joyful obedience. Blessing will follow and we sure don’t want to miss it!

3) Be strong and do it for the Lord’s glory.  This requires serving in the Lord’s strength rather than our own flesh.  We do this by walking closely in relationship with Him so that our needs are met while we serve others. By the Lord’s power and His work in us, we can live according to Colossians 3:12-13, “Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another.”

As we embark on a new year, may we walk in strength and do as the Lord directs.  I pray that “the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus - the great Shepherd of the sheep - with the blood of the everlasting covenant, equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Glory belongs to Him forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21 HCSB)

Your Turn:

What challenge are you facing that the Lord has chosen you to do?  

How will you be strong and do it?

Join the conversation by leaving a comment below or chiming in on Facebook or Twitter.

Be strengthened today, by His Word,

Psalm 119:28

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