the gospel

A Life Well Lived

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A few months ago my pastor preached a sermon about a life well lived. Pastor Scott’s words had such a profound influence on me that day. So, I tucked away his message for safe keeping for the day I could share my thoughts. Well, I can’t imagine a better time than today as I sit in the Frankfurt, Germany Airport awaiting my flight to Abuja, Nigeria.

In 18 words, Pastor Scott summarized the depth of my passion for ministry in Nigeria and how I want to live my life.

“I don’t want to be standing in front of Jesus with my hands full of burnt up life.”

As I sat in service that day and heard those words being lovingly shouted from the pulpit, I pictured myself standing before the Lord with my hands full of useless trash; feeling inadequate before the Lord. NOT because of His opinion of me, that was still and always will be filtered through Jesus, but because of my own lack of trying.

1 Peter 1:17-19 says this:

“Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

I was bought secondhand, in all my sin, and redeemed by the sacrificial death of a perfect and pure Being. So, if Redemption Himself calls me to do something, and I do not even try to live “in reverent fear” of Him, will I not surely find myself standing before the Lord one day with my hands full of ash? Ash that could’ve easily been delicious fruit, promising adventure, redeemed souls and new names?

This doesn’t mean that being obedient to the Lord or trying to live your life with a sacrificial heart isn’t downright terrifying.  Like moving to Africa as a single 28 year woman who has never been away from her family longer than a few weeks. But when I think about my other option; turning around, going home with my folks and trying my best to live life in the states, I have to ask myself the question:

“If I give up, if I choose to go against God’s plan and even my own dream, what will I hold when I stand before Jesus? What will I have to give to Him?”

*Before I go on, let me clarify something: God does not ask, expect, or demand ANYTHING when we come to Him. That’s the beauty of being a child of the One true King. Because of Jesus, our debt is paid, our mistakes are forgiven, and our lives are no longer made up of works. God has no more wrath to pour out. We can come to Him empty handed and still be welcomed in with joyous shouts of celebration. So my point is not to say that I must work and create good things before I stand before my God. That is not what I believe nor what God represents. But as His daughter, His mouthpiece, His hands, His feet, His heart, I want to love Him and serve Him as much as I possibly can while I am here on this earth.*

I believe my life was given to me to be of use. It took me a long time to figure out what that use was but now that I have, I do not want to waste one minute of it; even knowing God will accept me empty handed.

I want to move to Nigeria. I want to have adventures every day. I want to love the leper and kiss the blind man. I want to hug the orphan and pray with the prostitute. I want to hear the stories, live the memories, tell Truth, spread Hope and be remembered as a daughter of THE King. Not so that I will gain glory or be patted on the back by God. My goal is not to work and work and work so that I can present my Lord with accomplishments or completed goals, but rather to serve His world in a way that allows me to slide into Home plate knowing my hands are not full of ash. I want to finish the game with my hands overflowing with life! A life well lived.

May I not burn up this life.

 

Get Out of the Way

I had a terrible day yesterday. It was one of those days where every single thing goes wrong and you find yourself shouting at the sky, “Really?!”. Which only makes you angrier because that doesn’t really help the situation. But after an ice cold shower, car trouble, a ridiculously crazy day at the office, hard client appointments, miscommunications, more car trouble, misplaced paperwork, breakfast, lunch and dinner at my desk, I came to a realization; more like I heard God ask me a question, “Why are you fighting him?”

It was clear to me early on in my morning that the events of my day were merely a reaction from the Enemy. The day before I had been given such encouragement from some special people in my life. My spirit had been renewed and pushed even more towards the charge God has given me to serve in Nigeria. God’s goodness and encouragement came in the form of not only one, but two, shout outs from my pastor in Sunday morning’s service, time with a forever friend who I don’t get to see as much as I’d like and my first committed monthly supporter! I went to bed Monday night with such joy and anticipation for what God was going to do next. And Satan was afraid. Satan was fearful of the work of The One True King. And yet I felt obligated to take place in the fight. I was throwing punches right and left. I was telling the Enemy, “You are not going to win this!”. I was furious. I was participating in a fight I had no business being in.  

So after all of yesterday’s setbacks, when God whispered to me, “Why are you fighting him?” it hit me like a ton of bricks. I said, “Why AM I fighting him?”. The battle has already been won. I serve the God of Heaven and Earth, the God Almighty, Jehovah Nissi, My Deliverer, who wants to and will fight for me. I do not have to fight. I merely have to step out of the way. 

But that’s the hard part, isn’t it? Getting out of the way and allowing God to work. As prideful humans we tend to want to save ourselves. I do, at least. I don’t want to be a “damsel in distress”. I don’t want to need help or be seen as weak. So, I fight back and I fight back hard. But when I do that I’m not allowing the beauty of the gospel to be played out in my life. When I fight back I take away the purpose of Christ’s sacrifice. When I step in between God’s angel army and the Enemy, I am changing the message of John 3:16 to “God sent is one and only Son to die”. That’s not how it reads but it’s the message I send when I fight a battle that belongs to the Lord. 

My God wants to fight for me. He can fight for me. He WILL fight for me. I just have to get out of the way!

 

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.”