“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24
The other day I received the following email and it was a very necessary wake up call considering the things I have before me this coming week as the Lord has set my path.
“...I feel like you are a going to make the same mistakes I made. I thought I could come on the board and be a nice person with good, sincere intentions and make a difference and I was wrong. I couldn't believe the amount of corruption. In fact, I think this was the first time in my life that I realize there are people that are evil. You cannot image the things I saw and heard. A very wise man who was a retired administrator/teacher in the district and a good christian told me that I was going to get ripped apart because you either are for the district/teachers or against them. I told him I wasn't with anyone and he said I know you'll be honest and open and you'll be destroyed and he was right. Peggy, nothing has changed. The majority of the faces are the same...I am just sick watching both sides. It's become a power struggle...lying and manipulating...My emotions have run away with me. Just be realistic please...If you get elected and I sure hope you do, you will be in the minority on almost everything because you'll vote for the right reasons but they'll continue to vote for their individual interests.”
I think most people, considering the full knowledge of what this woman disclosed to me, would turn around and run in the other direction. But, as I responded to her in the following manner I knew this course was beyond my control. This is what I stated: “To those who do not know or understand God the way I have come to know Him would never understand why I am so willing to go, as some of my friends have called it, 'into the pit of hell' but then again I do not want to live with the consequences of running away from where I know I need to be and where I feel I must go. I have had a team of people praying for me and I know that is where my protection and wisdom to stand in the middle and speak truth has come from. I do not expect the road ahead to be filled with roses but rather thorns - might as well be realistic from the start.”
From God's word we know God does not temp us and that instead He will even protect us from being led into places which cause us to be tempted to sin. Through Jesus then, we have the power to overcome the sin that surrounds us and which tempts us, and in the end we can be delivered without harm.
The ultimate focus is Jesus, not the fight in which we are thrown. That is the difference in perspective a believer has over someone who enters into a battle trying to fight on their own. If we focus on the fight we have already lost because on our own we do not have the resources to fight the evil in this world. In Jesus alone we have spiritual armor, the joy which protects us, and the eyes to see the real fight of truth against lies that is being fought in the realm beyond what those who can only see with physical eyes can see and perceive.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Hebrews 12: 1-3
I came across the following quote this morning and thought it fit in so well with what I was going to be writing about today. The focus again cannot be on the service we are called to because rarely are Christians called to do things that make them happy, cheerful, and content. Instead those higher callings are surrounded by evil, sadness, and the wicked ways of the world. It is in the midst of all of these dark things we are called to serve and do so with a joyful heart just as our Lord did when the crowds only wanted to mock Him and kill Him.
“Cheerfulness in our faith causes any act of service to be performed with delight, and we are never moved ahead as swiftly in our spiritual calling as when we are carried on the wings of happiness. Sadness, however, clips those wings or, using another analogy, causes the wheels to fall off our chariot of service. Our chariot then becomes like those of the Egyptians at the Red Sea, dragging heavily on its axle and slowing our progress.” unknown
Why do we go forth into the world, knowing that our own lives will more than likely be cursed at and our worldly happiness will be fleeting? Because there is a bigger goal that God has in mind when He calls us to serve Him – that of showing His love to a world that is trapped in sin, sorrow, and shame. It is for those few who will see the light of Christ in our lives and believe on Him that we were willing to stand up when we were asked to stand instead of cowering back and letting the evil overtake those few who are desperately searching for something more than what they currently know.
Just because there is a harvest though is not reason enough to go out and stand against evil in the name of Jesus. No, the calling comes as the circumstances are set before us – one at a time down the road we have been asked to walk. And, even if the calling we are given does not make sense to others around us and we have to set aside those things that some well meaning Christians have tried to tell me in the past were higher priorities over following certain calls I have felt led to pursue over the years, that mostly of being home to raise my children verses ministry or pubic service, I must not let their words overpower those which the Lord has confirmed I need to follow. A similar sentiment as to what Oswald Chambers says in the following quote:
“No Christian has a special work to do. A Christian is called to be Jesus Christ's own, one who is not above his Master, one who does not dictate to Jesus Christ what he intends to do. Our Lord calls us to no special work: He calls us to Himself, 'Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest,' and He will engineer circumstances and thrust you out.” Oswald Chambers
The rest we leave in the hands of the Lord knowing that He intentions are never to harm us (at least not our souls). Walking away from what the Lord has called us to do, is to join forces with those who oppose the Lord, it is not just an option we can take or leave. If you are feeling called to step out in faith, to face the uncomfortable, to walk out in the midst of evil, and/or speak truth where lies currently prevail then you must if your life really belongs to Jesus and you have allowed Him to be Lord of your life. Do not be afraid, but rather find your strength and joy in the Lord and nothing will be able to deter you or leave you shameful before the Lord when judgment day comes and you must account for each opportunity you have been given to shine the Light of Christ in our world.