Confidence in the Calling

Click here to read Acts 14:1-7.

It’s the same things that have happened to Paul and Barnabas before. People are undermining the truths they are speaking and are doing everything they can to discredit and remove the “threat” other leaders consider Paul to be. Have you experienced this kind of situation in your life?

Being a leader is difficult. It is a calling. It is a lifestyle. It is who God created the leader to be. Leadership is difficult and not for the faint hearted. Please don’t let this discourage you. Being a leader is also very rewarding. People in leadership, who exercise their gifts effectively, motivate and encourage others to reach toward a higher standard of living. When a leader answers the call of God in their lives, guiding people to see the work of the Living God all around is an incredible experience.

The thing I see, in this passage today, is how Paul and Barnabas kept growing in their confidence of being God’s servants because they paid more attention to the results than to the hardships that were going on around them and to them. Did you notice that people kept responding to the grace of God? Even in the midst of hardship, the midst of tragedy, chaos, God’s shining light came through and people’s lives are changed because of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Look around you, what do you see? Do you see more of the good or the bad around you? When you wake up each morning, what do you look forward to each day? I would encourage you to find ways to start each day with praising God for all the ways He is working in the world.

Now, this does not mean all we need to do is change our attitudes. This means we do change our minds, we change our hearts. Change happens with the work of the Holy Spirit is your life. It is not something we can do on our own. This change, this renewing of our hearts and minds happens when we are open to the Spirit working in us and allowing our eyes to see the incredible things that are really going on around us.

As you pay attention to the work of Jesus Christ, you have many chances to remember Who called you, and Who continues to work in and through you. I pray you grow in your confidence in Christ. Remember it is through Christ we get the power, direction, grace, and confidence to do the work He calls people to do.

Stay confident with Christ’s work in you and around you. As you stay confident in Christ’s work, I hope you can remain confident in the work Christ called you to do.

Rearrangement vs Total Rennovation

This week, I was watching construction workers rebuilding a bridge on a county road. I love observing things get built. As they were working, I noticed a couple of the workers seemed to just be moving the same materials back and forth. Since this seemed to catch my attention, the next thought I had was, “isn’t this what we do with our lives?”

We can look at our lives and know what is important to us. When something in our relationship gets “out of whack,” we tend to rearrange our priorities to either put that person “first” or include that person more often in what we’re doing. This got me thinking even more.

As I was pondering this, I remembered the verses of Scripture where Jesus says, “whoever wants to follow me must deny himself…” When we look at this, it doesn’t say, “whoever wants to follow me has to keep doing the things you’re doing just put me first.” This would make Jesus as a check-off item on our to-do list. Instead, it says to “deny yourself.” Woah. ┬áDeny ourselves? Jesus can’t mean that, can he?

Here’s how this has played out in my own life. Everything I do used to be done to give me the glory, honor, praise, recognition. As I grew in my faith, I still wanted to do the things I wanted to do. So, I just put the “Jesus stuff” at the first part of my day and went ahead doing what I had planned.

I always felt like I was not being fulfilled in my dreams and plans I was making until…it clicked. I was in my early twenties when I realized it’s not about simply putting Jesus first; it’s about having him be the central focus in my life. The ultimate goal is to deny myself the earthly pleasures and follow Christ. Not so I can show off my humility or so I can look like a ragged person; but so I can experience the true peace and true fulfillment that Christ gives.

Keeping Christ central in my life is not easy, nor does it mean I have or I will have an easy life. What it does mean is that now that I know who I am and Whose I am, my life has purpose. With this purpose, my desires have not gone away, they have been completely transformed and totally renovated to Christ’s desires.

Do I succeed daily? No. But with Christ working in my life and in your life, it is incredible what it really important.