Lately, the Spirit has really convicted me in certain areas of my life. Those two areas are judgment and investment. What do I spend my spare time doing? That is the question the Lord placed upon my heart. Am I being a good steward of the things God has placed before me? Or am I too busy wasting it on the things of this world, like judging others in a poor way or investing my time and energy into the wrong things.
Judging is something we all fall into the habit of doing, believe it or not. We all tend to look at someone else’s life and compare it to our own too. Sometimes it will go like this: “Kaitlyn is so much prettier than me, of course she would get that promotion,” or, “Of course Joe would get that new car, he just thinks he’s better than everyone else”. It could sound a little like this: “Wow, my wife found out that I was sneaking Cheetos behind her back while we were dieting together, at least it’s not like Bobby whose wife caught him cheating on her”.
Just the other day I found myself almost slipping into this judgmental trap. I had a mid-term exam in one of my classes about a week ago and this week my professor returned our tests. As he did, he announced who had the two top highest grades. I had the second highest grade with a low B. I was not happy with this grade, but as I was looking around there were really not a lot of good grades. I had to stop myself from thinking “I got a low B, well at least I didn’t fail it completely”.
This is the judgmental trap that we fall into. We look at the things going on in everyone else’s lives and get so caught up with them that we forget that we actually have our own lives happening and need to examine how we are living. First, as believers in Jesus, we are all seen as God’s children in His eyes. Secondly, there is no sin greater than another. We all sin. Romans 3.23 says: “We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”, not just those that cheat on their wives instead of diets.
The second area that the Lord has convicted me in is investment. As a college student, you would think I don’t have that much free time, but ironically, this semester I have extra time oozing all over my schedule. I have a few hours here and a few hours there, a big gap of time now, maybe twenty minutes to spare later. My roommate wonders why I have so much free time. One day she asked me: “don’t you have homework to do?” My response: “Yes”, and then I curled up on my futon with my phone and took about an hour long nap before going to dinner and then socializing in the dining commons for another hour.
This is my conviction. I am a student, and yes that can be pretty tiring, but I have a lot of free time that I wouldn’t otherwise have if I invested it wisely in my studies, ministry, and growing relationships placed in my life.
Please tell me I am not the only one that struggles with using their time in an unwise manner, as opposed to investing more time into the Kingdom of God and making disciples? Church, that is what we are called to do – make disciples of Jesus. How can we do that if we are too busy getting caught in the judgmental trap and investing our time in things that are temporary? The only thing that is doing is blocking our growth with the Lord. And growth is essential to a relationship with the Lord.
In Matthew 28.19 we are told to go out into the nations and make disciples. How can we do that when we ourselves are stuck in the muck and cannot grow any further?
I know sometimes growing can be painful. It can be going through a difficult situation. It can mean change in an area of your life that has been the same forever. Sometimes we have high moments in our lives where it’s really easy to worship God, and other times not so much. The growing pains are what deepens our worship before the Lord, so we should never look for “easy street” – that’s when we miss out and our worship becomes empty and meaningless.
Church, in order to fulfill the call of missions on our lives, we must continue to grow closer to God in our relationship with Him, first and foremost, as well as others. We must return to our first love just like the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2. We must allow Him to mold us and shape us like clay in the potter’s hand.
This summer I heard this phrase: “I am a coin in my Father’s hand, willing to be spent at His demand”. How do we get to that point of being willing to be spent when God tells us to go? How do we get to the point of MOVING when the Spirit says MOVE? How do we get to that point of entrusting our lives to the Great I Am, the King of Kings, and Creator of the world?
It’s through growing. When we have a tight relationship with someone, we tend to trust them with more things, more of ourselves, more of our dreams, and more of our desires. That is the relationship Jesus wants with us. And even beyond that. Have you ever heard that the more you are around someone the more you start to act like them? Jesus wants us to be so close to Him that we start to act like Him. Just like Peter did in Acts 3.
And growing never stops! There is no limit on how much we can grow when it comes to our relationship with Jesus! Why? Because God is limitless! He is inexhaustible! There is no maximum placed on our God. We have to trust Him because of that. We have to trust that when He says “I want you to pray for the woman behind you in line at the grocery store” that we do it because there’s a kingdom purpose behind it. We have to trust that when He says “I’m sending you to the nations” that He’s going to provide and protect us when we obey and do it!
We can’t do that if we stay stagnant in our faith, if we allow complacency to overcome us.
Church, let’s be a Church ever-growing for the Lord. Let’s pursue Him with all we have, seek Him diligently in all our time, and look to Him as the mighty judge, rather than ourselves. Then, let’s be a Church who is about HIS MISSION; making disciples in our communities and the rest of the world.
Pastor Aaron talks about GROW this week in his sermon series: “Life On Mission”. He shares specific stories from the Bible that allowed people’s lives to be moved by the spirit so they could grow into the disciple He called them to be. Take some time and listen to this podcast http://painesvilleag.com/life-on-mission and see how you can relate to the stories and apply these truths to your own life.
Remember Church, if we are going to live LIFE ON MISSION, we have to allow ourselves to grow and never stop. Let’s go out and make disciples of Jesus!
Writer, Blogger, College Student