Read His Words Before Ours!
2 Corinthians 1:3-11
“Why do you want to go on this trip?” she asked over the phone, while I paced back and forth, my bare feet hitting the edge of the grass before returning to the cool cement.
“Well, I feel like my life is pretty comfortable. And I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.” I responded with words I’ve heard dozens of times from other believers.
Maybe you’ve found yourself in the same boat I found myself at times. You’re comfortable. You have got it made. You have a great home, you love your job, you attend church every single Sunday and spend time with your community group on the days in between. Sure, sometimes momming is hard, or you have a rough week at work. Money can be tight but it always works out. But really, life is great. It is smooth sailing.
You’ve worked hard and now you’ve arrived.
Your life has almost plateaued.
It is almost…
And, friend, stagnant is dangerous.
Think about this:
You have a vivacious niece who is five years old. She’s not in kindergarten yet, her mama makes all of her meals and she fills her days with playdates and pretend. She comes to you one day and says, “Auntie. I love being five. I’m going to be five forever. I don’t want to go to school. I don’t want to do anything else except be five!”
“Well, sweet girl,” you say, “being five is fun! You get tucked into bed every night, you only have a few chores, you don’t have to go to work like mommy and daddy do. But there are so many fun things that come when you turn six! And every time you grow up a little more, even more special and exciting things get to happen! You will make so many new friends and visit so many new places. You might get married one day, you might become a teacher, you will do so many amazing and fun things that you can’t do if you stay five forever!”
I feel like this is what the Lord says to us!
“Oh child, I know it is amazing being right where you are. You have a beautiful home and a stable career. I love that you come to worship Me every week. But there are so many amazing things that will happen as you grow closer to Me.”
God wants us to find our comfort in HIM instead of our belongings! He wants for us to learn that our comfort doesn’t come from how much money we have, our career, our health, our relationships with other people.
Our comfort needs to come from Christ alone.
Here’s the deal: sometimes God allows things to happen in our lives that are uncomfortable because He wants us to learn that HE is comfort. Sometimes we just need a little wake up call when our lives are so free and easy that we aren’t growing closer to Him anymore because we aren’t relying on Him! We are depending on things and praising God when our things don’t fail us.
We need to depend on HIM and praise God because He never fails us!
Our little wake up calls can come in the form of a health scare or a job loss. Or it can come in the form of a fellow sister in Christ who has walked in your shoes, struggled like you are, and can still testify of God’s pursuant love!
He wants you to find comfort in Him so you can grow as trials come your way!
He wants you to GROW and experience His fullness and all of the beautiful things that He has in store for you!
Things you will never experience if you keep placing your comfort
in everything and anything but our Father.
Oh friend, we can be too comfortable.
We can become stagnant.
And stagnant is dangerous because it means there’s no growth.
Do something today that makes you completely uncomfortable.
Something that leaves you relying on God instead of your smartphone, your credit card, or your own ability. You may just discover a new level of comfort in the arms of your Savior!
Read His Words Before Ours!
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
I watched a movie the other night about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. It was a hard movie to watch, mainly because all I could think about was the evil that humans are capable of. We, humans, can do so much good, but we can cause so much pain and so much hurt. I began to question God, “How could there be so many people with so much hate in their heart? How do we ever stop this?” I thought of how cold and hard the hearts of terrorists must be and I began to get a little scared. But God quickly reminded me that He can change even the hardest of hearts. He loved Osama Bin Laden. Woah. Jesus died for Osama Bin Laden and he needed Jesus just as much as we need Jesus.
The next day, I watched with the rest of America as a young American man came home after being detained in North Korea for over a year. I read comment after comment about how terrible Kim Jong-un is and the wretched conditions in North Korea. My heart grew increasingly heavy and I began to wonder, once again, what hope there could be in a man like Kim Jong-un ever coming to know the Lord. The Lord quietly spoke to me, “Remember, Kendra? I can soften the hardest of hearts.” And peace flooded into my spirit.
It is so easy to doubt that the Lord really can change hard hearts. We imagine people with horrible and vile intentions, or those addicted to different substances for years upon years. I think of cruel dictators, terrorists, people in the human trafficking ring, and parents who abuse their children…
but God can change the most broken people,
and He has changed incredibly broken people.
Paul was born as Saul and was a Jewish man, born in the large city of Tarsus, who studied the Old Testament profusely and cared deeply about upholding Jewish traditions. He was a Pharisee. He was an angry and bitter Pharisee.
He hated that other Jews were choosing to follow Jesus, leaving behind treasured traditions, sacred scripture, and Jewish law. He hated that these Jews-turned-Christians were mingling with Gentiles (non-Jews) and were practicing idolatry with these new friends.
It wasn’t right! It wasn’t fair!
Saul had devoted himself to two things: his trade of tent-making, and his religion. These people were walking away from Jewish traditions for some “lowly man” whom they claimed God favored enough to raise from the dead?! Preposterous!
The hatred Saul held in his heart for these traitors, led him to become one of the loudest voices in encouraging the persecution of the Christian Church. He spent his days traveling from town to town declaring that disobedient members of the synagogues should be disciplined through ostracism or flogging or imprisonment or death.
It would take something huge to change his heart of stone.
But something huge did happen.
God called Saul, changed his name to Paul, and used other believers to minister to and disciple Paul.
In Galatians 1:11-24, Paul quickly shares his testimony… he once was a man who persecuted Christians, but because of God’s great grace, Paul was now preaching to Christians. The Good News of Jesus Christ was so compelling that he was transformed from persecutor to preacher. Paul was transformed!
See, God has transformed the hearts of people who are stuck in their religion and traditions. The gospel is transforming. It is powerful!
The Good News that Jesus died to cover our sins, redeem us and now He LIVES, is POWERFUL!
The gospel changes people.
It melts the hardest of hearts and the coldest of souls.
And if we have seen the gospel change Paul’s life, if we have seen how the Truth was so compelling, Paul HAD to share the Good News, shouldn’t we want to share, too?
Shouldn’t we long for people to know the gospel so they can be transformed,
just like Paul was… just as we have been?
Pray with me.
Pray for the people in your life who feel like they will never change.
Pray for the people who shut you down every time you ask them to go to church with you,
or who comment negatively on any social media post about Jesus.
Pray with me for those who are so stuck in their religion and traditions that they refuse to believe that all they need is Jesus.
And pray with me for the people who we often refuse to believe could ever change… dictators, political leaders, terrorists… the people a lot of us forget to pray for.
We should never stop praying for people who don’t know Jesus because the Gospel is so compelling that we must pray and we must tell others about Jesus.
Just as Paul did.
Because the Gospel is so compelling, people will be changed and they will be saved!
Just as Paul was.
This Bible Study is property to Gracefully Truthful, where it was first published. For more studies like this one, check out GracefullyTruthful.com!
From Bible studies to blogs, articles to musings of the heart, Kendra's writings are unbarred and raw - exactly how she speaks.