We want to live lives of audacious faith, accomplish great things for God, and make a difference in the world AND we still have to sacrifice?
In a word...YES.
Years ago, a Christian singer, David Meece, sang a song called Count the Cost. Here's a line or two from that song:
"You gotta' count the cost, if you're gonna' be a
believer. You gotta' know that the price is the one
you can afford. You gotta' count the cost, if you're gonna'
be a believer. You gotta' go all the way
if you really love the Lord."
The Christian life begins with sacrifice - the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. It continues as we lay down our dreams, our wants, and our plans and make them all secondary to the will of God.
The gospels are full of accounts of Jesus speaking of this very thing with his disciples. The cost of following him - deny self, take up your cross and follow.
It is also about allowing God to accomplish his purpose IN us first, and then THROUGH us. This is accomplished as we allow him to prune away all of the things that get in the way of total dependence and faith in him.
Here's my quote of the day from this chapter:
"The great things God will do through you are going to
grow in the soil of persistence, prayer, obedience, and
sacrifice. That means there will be plenty of plowing
and pruning. That's the way living things grow, whether you're
talking about vegetables or visions." (p.79)
Sound painful? It can be. But, it's also a process that will make us strong, healthy, fruitful and able to endure.
Read Bruce Wilkinson's book, Secrets of the Vine, sometime for a very thorough description of this pruning process. It will change the way you think about Jesus' teachings about the vine and the branches.
It's a lifelong process and one that is only made perfect when he finally calls us home. Until then, he has some amazing plans for this world, and is offering us a place in those plans.
For a flawed, imperfect, unprepared and unimpressive being that's quite an honor and an opportunity. I don't want to miss that, do you?
It's your turn: Is God at work in your life, pruning and cutting away things that keep you from being fully focused on Him?
The book is, SUN STAND STILL: What happens when you dare to ask God for this impossible, by Steven Furtick.
Check out the Contest tab to see how to win a copy of Jody Hedlund's new book, THE DOCTOR'S LADY.