Around this time last year, I started reading “Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God” by Francis Chan. I got a couple of chapters in, but could not continue reading the book; it was too hard! At the time, I had some un-repented sin in my life that I was not ready to let go of, and the book made me uncomfortable because I knew I was deliberately doing things that were against God’s will. Shortly after that, I took care of my sin problem, but for some reason, I did not pick up the book again until last Thursday.
I am currently on Chapter 5, “Serving Leftovers to a Holy God” and the book’s timing is perfect for where I am spiritually. Remember all of those posts I’ve made about salvation?…. Chan’s thinking is along the same lines. Let me share a paragraph from the book and pass on Chan’s challenge to study the gospels, with an open heart and mind, regarding what it means to be saved.
“Some people claim that we can be Christians without necessarily becoming disciples. I wonder, then, why the last thing Jesus told us was to go into the world, making disciples of all the nations, teaching them to obey all that He commanded? You’ll notice that He didn’t add ‘But, hey, if that’s too much to ask, tell them to just become Christians – you know, the people who get to go to heaven without having to commit to anything,’ …. To call someone a Christian simply because he does some Christian-y things is giving false comfort to the unsaved. But to declare anyone who sins ‘unsaved’ is to deny the reality and truth of God’s grace.”
I’m speaking to myself, here, too… as I think I have a long way to go with the whole surrender thing. But, I’m trying….it’s just such a slow process!
Chapter 5 continues talking about how “rich” we are, and tells the story how hard it is for rich people to enter the kingdom of God. This is an area where there are plenty of opportunities for my own personal growth!
I’m just grateful that I don’t have to do everything on my own. I just have to keep trusting God for my spiritual maturity and continue to work towards complete submission to Him. This is the third time I read this particular passage this week! I think God is trying to tell me something…
I want to switch gears here and address a question that a friend of mine emailed after reading parts my blog. I think it’s a great question, and would like to try to publicly share my answer. The question was, “I can see you spend a good deal of time on this-please let me know how you find this time.”
What I am learning is that studying the Bible is absolute the best possible use of my time. I have a true hunger for knowledge of the nature of God, as well as myself, and by reading other people’s perspectives and meditating on scripture, I gain so much in every area of my life. I can share what I’m learning with my son, to hopefully encourage him to put God first in everything. I stay much more focused at work, remembering that I can do anything through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I have compassion and love for others, and enjoy encouraging my friends and even strangers through their problems. Most important, I am focused on the future, and I am figuring out exactly what God wants for my life on earth, and how He wants me to grow before spending eternity in heaven.
In my heart, I sincerely want to put God first. I think it’s too easy to give God the “leftovers” because of our busy lives and I really want to give Him so much more of me!
As far as the writing part…that comes easy; it’s very therapeutic! I have always enjoyed sharing whatever I’m learning with people. My last two jobs involved teaching and training, and I’m sure at some point my current position will move in that direction. I’m also an open book, and get really excited about things that are going on in my life. I’m like a ten-year old kid in this respect! I find writing to be the perfect outlet for my personality. Besides, it saves certain people who are close to me from having to hear yet another story about something I learned! I admit, I can be overwhelming at times…. 🙂
I just hope that God uses my blog to encourage someone out there, friend or stranger, to continue along their own personal spiritual journey and grow closer to Him. That’s what it’s all about… Loving God and Loving People!
I will end with my favorite verse from the song “In Christ Alone” since I’ve heard this over and over recently too…
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life’s first cry, to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Could ever pluck me from His hand.
Til he returns, or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I stand!