Do you consider yourself a successful Christian?
How do you know?
I read a devotional from Ezekiel this week that really made me stop and think about what God calls us to do. The focus of the reading was Ezekiel 22:30 which says:
"I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand
before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to
destroy it, but I found none."
It made me want to go back and re-read Ezekiel so I started at the beginning and read about the prophet Ezekiel whom God sent to the children of Israel; children he described over and over again as "rebellious, obstinate, and stubborn".
So God sent Ezekiel to warn this rebellious, stubborn group of people who should not have been rebellious and stubborn at all. They had a beautiful history of God providing for them, rescuing them, and leading them. He also had proven his love for them over and over again with his grace, forgiveness and redemption. But they were a hard-headed, hard-hearted lot.
Now I don't know about you, but if it had been me I would have preferred a group primed and ready to hear the gospel with open, broken hearts and repentant minds. I might have argued - I mean discussed - this with God a little bit. After all, I hate the thought of anticipating failure before I've even begun, don't you?
Here's the thing, though. That kind of thinking is so human, so small, and so ungodly. Why? Because it not only puts all of the responsibility for success on our shoulders, it even makes us responsible for determining the measure of success. Now that's a problem.
Here's a new perspective: twice in chapter 2 God tells Ezekiel that he must SPEAK whether they listen or not. It may be more helpful to point out what God does not tell him to do. He doesn't say:
- change their behavior
- make them see my side
- argue with them
- punish them
- make them feel good about themselves
He just said: "You must speak my words to them". Period.
We need to remember the verse in 1Samuel 15:22:
"To obey is better than sacrifice."
God never makes us responsible for another person's choices and actions. He will hold us accountable for our own disobedience. How many times during a day do we need to remember that God's agenda is far above our own. When he speaks we need to listen and obey. That is success in God's eyes.
We need to free ourselves from the burden of being successful as we count success, and allow ourselves the pleasure and blessing of God's favor when we simply trust that he knows what he is about and obey him.
Is God nudging you to do something that you believe will end in utter failure, is destined to crash and burn, or simply not to succeed?
If someone offered you a million dollars if you would only TRY to find a cure for cancer, would you turn it down because you knew it wasn't possible? If all you had to do was make an effort? Or would you give it your best shot and then collect your money?
Does that sound too good to be true? Well it is and we all know that's not ever going to happen. The great thing is, God is not too good to be true. He's better than we could ever imagine and all he wants us to do is obey and leave the results to him.
Now, go back to that thing that God is nudging you to do. How do you feel about it now? What is keeping you from obeying? Fear of failure? Pride? Those are the two biggies!
Ask God to help you trust him enough to simply obey. He will be pleased and delighted with you and you will find yourself blessed in ways you can't imagine.
Share your struggle or experience here. Post a comment to encourage or to allow us to encourage you. Go on your way today and be fully blessed in your obedience to a magnificent Lord.