The Desert Before The Promise

I am wrestling with my own call and mission as we discuss this topic with others. I have to be honest, I have always struggled with this. The main source of my frustration comes from this idea that if God calls me to do something, then he will pick me up and put me there. I see it kind of like the NFL draft. Congratulations, you are now on this team, you will be this number, you will get paid this much, and you will do these things. Yay! Take some pictures and you are officially an NFL player.

Unfortunately, God doesn’t work like the NFL…which is probably a good thing over all.

So, why doesn’t work that way?

The convergence of two different things came together for me today.

The first was a conversation with my mentor. (I highly recommend seeking mentors.) Our conversation was around my fear. He referenced Mathew 28:17, where some worshiped Christ and others doubted. The reality that fell on me is that I fall into that crowd that doubts. Intellectually, I know who Christ is and I’m on board. But there is a fear that holds me back. There is also the passage where Christ tells a rich man to go sell everything and follow him, but he can’t because he would loose “everything.” The people who doubted Christ knew who he was. The rich man knew who Christ was. There was no doubt in everything that he was because he was doing miracles. I connected this to time the Israelites spent in the desert before they entered the promise land. They literally saw God leading them as a pillar fire, but still they doubted. God had to kill off everyone who doubted until there was a remnant that truly believed, then he brought them into the promise land.

The time in the desert is killing off doubt. Once everything inside of us that doubts God is dead, then God can lead us. If there is anything left inside that doubts God, then we will turn away. We will run up to the line and then stop. We will hesitate, worry, and rationalize our fears. In order to enter the promise land, we must be one of those that worship Christ when we see him, not doubt.

The second was this video by Inky Johnson. If you don’t know Inky, I recommend spending some time listening to him. His story is amazing. The message here was about how the process of pursuing our call changes us and that change is the goal, not the reward at the end. Christ didn’t say, here is your cushy salary, now you have the means to go and make disciples. The Holy Spirit is all we need to do that, so stop looking at the rewards and just go to to work.

So much my fear is driven by the fear of loosing things. The call is not to gather things, the call is to go do something. The reason it is a call to action is because it is through that action that God can work in us, change us, develop us. The result don’t matter. Faithfulness to the call and the Caller is what matters. We have no control over the outcome. Some people will receive our service and see Christ and others will not. That is between them and Christ. We have not control over the result of our service. The only thing we have power over is ourselves. God gave us free will. That free will applies only to us. We cannot make decisions for anyone else, or that would mean they don’t have free will. So if the only power we have is over our own selves, then that means we can only be responsible for our side of the equation.

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