Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Steadfast

                I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. I have traveled down paths that I knew the Lord did not want me travelling. I have fallen down, I have failed, and I have sinned before Him in many ways. Even today, as I sit before my laptop and write these words, my sins and disobedience are before His face. Yet, for some reason that is too much for me to understand, He loves me anyway. But this blog today is not about me and my sins, there is not enough space on my hard drive to write all of that! Today is about my calling, your calling. The call that He has placed upon our lives and the way He desires us to walk towards them.
            All of us have a calling on our lives. When I first became a Christian, that calling was to minister to my unbelieving husband and my family. As I grew in the Lord, my calling changed somewhat and I was called into Children’s Ministry. Through Children’s Ministry I grew in Him and then became the leader of the Children’s Ministry. Through it all, God continued to grow me, and was preparing me for the specific calling that He has called me to today. All those years ago, I could not see this calling. I did not always understand why He had me going down certain paths, or why He had me leaping in faith here and not there. I couldn't see the bigger picture that He was painting in my life- I could only see what was right in front of me. But today He showed me how it all tied together and has shown me what exactly it is that He was preparing me for and what He has called me to do.
Photo: saltandlighttv.org
                It all started with a word. (If you read any of my blogs- you will know I love words!) When the Lord speaks to me, it is usually with one word. A word that gets me intrigued and makes me want to go check it out. I am a digger, I love to dig for treasure in His Word, so giving me a word is what makes me take my pen and bible out and start digging. Today, that word was “steadfastly”. I have heard that word mentioned a few times in the past week, and it has been sounding off in my head ever since. Today was different, because today I was obedient and listened to what He was saying to me. My treasure hunt took me to Luke 9:51.
                “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51 NKJV)
                Here is Jesus walking towards what He knows will be His death. He knew what lied ahead. He knew the sacrifice, the pain and the suffering that was waiting for Him, and He steadfastly set His face towards it. This spoke to me in many ways this morning. For me, I have been avoiding what I know the Lord is asking of me. I have been avoiding what He has called me to do. I have found ways to excuse myself from the calling that He has placed on my life. Jesus knew the purpose and the reason He had come to earth. He knew and understood the sacrifice it was going to take and He steadfastly set His face towards it.
                I know what the Lord has called me for. I know the purpose and the reason He has orchestrated all these events and paths in my life. Every single one of them has brought me to this point- this point in my path where I have a choice;  a choice to either walk it with steadfastness of heart, or run as fast as I can in the other direction. What He has called me to do will require me to step out of my comfort zone. It will require sacrifice on my part. Sacrifice of my time, my will and all my resources. It will require me to fully depend and rely upon Him and Him alone. I know what He has called me to do, and I know that He wants me to firmly fix my eyes upon this calling and not look back. But how do I do that? How do I look steadfastly into the road ahead and walk it? I found my answer in Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
                “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12 NKJV)
                This calling on my life will require three things of me. The first is faith. I cannot go this road without faith, for I must believe that He has called me to it if I am going to walk it. If I do not believe He has placed this calling on my life then how will He be able to fulfill it in me? Paul said that he pressed on so that he might lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus had also laid hold of him. I have been placed in Christ Jesus for a specific purpose and calling. I was not created by accident. I was created to be a strategic piece of His heavenly plan. He chose me, now it is up to me, in faith to choose Him.
                “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,” (Philippians 3:13 NKJV)
                Paul set his heart to fulfill his calling. He stepped out in faith, but he also knew and understood that he was going to make mistakes along the way. He knew that he was going to fail and fall down. He knew all of this beforehand, but this did not deter him from the call that God had placed on his life. No matter what happens on the road ahead, we must steadfastly look towards the call that He has given us and follow after it with all we have. When Paul went to sleep at night he laid to rest all the mistakes he had made that day, placing them before the cross of Jesus and left them all there. When he woke up in the morning, he was renewed in his steadfastness and was able to press on towards the call of God on his life. We must do the same.  All our sins, mistakes and failures of the day must go to sleep with the end of the day and not wake up with us in the morning. We must forget those things that are behind and be steadfast towards those things which are ahead. This is the second thing that is required of us to be steadfast in our calling.
                “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God.” (Philippians 3:14 NKJV)
                Paul knew his calling. He was sure and positive through faith that God had specifically called him to preach to the Gentiles. He did not question God, he did not let anything distract him or deter him from the ministry to which God had placed him in. He knew the sacrifices that he would have to make. He knew the pain and persecution he would have to face, and the suffering he would endure. But, he also knew that Jesus Christ had called him to this ministry. There was no doubt in his mind or in his heart. He knew that no matter what may come, he had to steadfastly march towards it. We too must press towards Him, we must press towards the goal that He has given us- no matter what comes our way.
                Jesus gives us the perfect example of what it means to be steadfast towards our callings. For me, personally, I know what my calling is- He has clearly shown me. For you, perhaps, you are still wondering. You may be where I was, not seeing the bigger picture yet. But one thing I can confidently tell you is that no matter what it is that you are doing right now at this minute- do it with a steadfastness of heart. If your ministry is your home and your family, do it with steadfastness. Do not let anyone or anything distract or deter you from it. If your ministry is within the church setting, do it with steadfastness. If your calling is to evangelize the world, and do missions, then look around you and begin to do missions steadfastly right where you are.

                It is my hope and prayer today that we, as women and daughters of God, would be steadfast in all that He has called us to do. You may not know exactly what that calling is yet- but be confident in the truth that He is preparing you for something greater. Paul knew the trials and the tribulations that he would have to face. I too know and understand what this calling on my life will require me to sacrifice. But, I also know that if I steadfastly pursue it He will faithfully fulfill it in me. May the Lord Jesus Christ speak to your heart as He spoke to mine. In Jesus name, Amen and Amen.