Four o’clock in the morning. That’s what time I used to get up before the shelter-in-place mandate was set. If I found myself crawling in bed at 10 or 11pm then I’d show myself some grace and “sleep in” until 4:45am. That was pushing it. Nowadays, getting up before 7am is a real struggle. I was doing so good before all of this. Not great, but good. More often than not I would get a new post up every Wednesday morning. I was finally on my way to being consistent. And then this happened.
I know from experience that life will test us in far more severe ways than just throwing us off of our daily schedules. It will reveal just how committed – or uncommitted – we are to our cause. But those tests don’t come to disqualify us and prove that we don’t have what it takes. They come to help us develop what it takes. If we said “no” today, we can choose to get up and say “yes” tomorrow. I’ve been fighting myself for over two months. Some days my answer was “yes” but most days it was “absolutely not”. But I must keep fighting.
We’re all very familiar with Romans 12:1-2, which reads: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
I’d like to read The Message translation to further support the point that I’m trying to get across:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing that you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings out the best of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
I want to deal with those last two lines very quickly.
“Readily recognize what He wants from you and quickly respond to it.” Many of us are fully aware of what God wants from us because it presses on our hearts like a burden. We constantly find ourselves saying, “I should be doing (insert your calling here) but I just don’t have the time.” We feel the heaviness of the burden but we somehow manage to excuse ourselves from carrying it out. But when we finally say “yes,” transformation occurs.
That last line says, “God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” When we do what is asked of us, we will never walk away empty-handed. When we say yes to God, we say yes to the process and yes to growth. And when we say yes to growth, we say yes to becoming of greater value to the body of Christ and yes to where our Father wants to take us next.
This is not the end of the line for us. There is life after the pandemic and God yet has a plan for us. He yet has promises that He wants to fulfill. Some of those promises are irrevocable – they are without condition and guaranteed. But some of them are conditional and totally dependent upon our obedience. So let’s say yes to what God is instructing us to do now so that we can walk into where He is taking us next. And let’s not just say yes for our own personal gain but because offering ourselves up to Him is our reasonable service – it is the very least that we can do.