Monday, March 21, 2016

When In Doubt...Pray and Watch!

Last week, I had to confront my biggest insecurity, yet again—do I make a difference for Christ? I know I will never be one of those internationally known crusaders for the cause winning people for Christ in stadiums bursting at the seams with people. I’m not saving starving and dying children all over the world or ministering to the poor in Calcutta. I don’t serve at shelters or organize fundraisers in my city. Some people think that’s the measure of a Christian’s faith and sincerity—how much money you raise. How many hungry children you feed. How many people you bring to Christ. If I’m not out in the trenches, so to speak, I’m not making a difference, right? WRONG!!!

Let’s back up for a minute. As I started to explain, the enemy took advantage of a moment of weakness and whispered in my ear that I’m not doing anything to advance God’s kingdom. The argument I have with myself is what you’d expect.

“But I work for a church.”

“Yeah, putting together paperwork no one really reads and everyone throws out anyway.”

“But I help my coworkers with their important work where lives are being changed for the Lord.”

“Which anyone can do and it doesn’t really count because it’s your job! You get paid for it.”

When my friends try to affirm me, doubt screams, “They’re only saying that because they’re trying to make you feel better.”

“Well, yeah, they are but they mean what they say.”

“But it doesn’t count because it wasn’t spontaneous.”

Any positive I come up with, my doubt and the enemy can rebut. The harder I try to wiggle out of this quagmire of doubt, the deeper I sink. I realized early in the week that I wasn’t going to win this argument on my own. I went right to the source of my strength and my faith. I took the matter to Jesus in prayer. (Jesus has already beaten the enemy so why not let him handle this little skirmish in the war.) I asked Jesus to show me where he sees me making a difference. I asked him to show me where he sees me using the gifts he gave me to further his kingdom here on earth and then I watched and listened for his answer. In the two days that followed, his affirmations overwhelmed me as I went about my daily routine. He even gave me a few opportunities to offer his love and compassion in new and bigger ways than ever before.

Here are some things I learned from my journey through the valley of doubt this week:
  • Satan accuses. The Holy Spirit convicts. Accusation is the darkness that beckons us deeper into the abyss. Conviction is the light that guides the way out of the darkness. It’s not always easy to tell the difference at first so keep praying and don’t give up until you are sure which you are dealing with.
  • When God answers prayer…it’s usually in a bigger and better way than we ever imagined. Don’t be afraid to ask big and expect even better.
  • Every one of us makes some kind of difference—whether it is good or bad. Just as a stone thrown into a pond causes a ripple effect, my interactions with others will have an effect that may reach far beyond my understanding or witness. When I take a moment to listen to another person, to give them a word of compassion or perform a small act of kindness in the name of Jesus, that moment becomes holy— saturated in God’s grace and love. That moment can change their entire day. And a day touched by God can change a lifetime. 
  • What I do can be done by anyone really. But he didn’t call someone else to do these things at this time in this place—he called me. This is how he wants me to make a difference.
  • Lastly, it’s not up to me to perform miracles, change hearts, end world hunger, create a lasting peace or bring a crowd of people to a saving knowledge of Christ. That’s God’s job!!! Mine is do what God asks me to do—no matter how small and insignificant it may seem by human standards. If Jesus can feed 5000 men and their families with one little boy’s lunch, what will he do with my humble offering?

1 comment:

Common Household Mom said...

I love these five points. So well stated. I have read many books that harp on how big God is, and how big a difference we could make if only we would (fill in the blank, usually "trust God more"). That kind of book is disheartening to me, because I just feel like the author is trying to shame me (which goes back to the first of your five points).

Yes, God can do big things, but I have come to believe that God is also small. Just as you said, a small act of kindness becomes a holy moment.