I've come to wonder...what does my incessant striving say about what I believe about myself? About the Gospel? What does your striving say about you? Where can we find rest?
I often struggle with the contradiction between striving to be more like Christ while also trusting God to work through me. The juxtaposition seems almost impossible. How are we supposed to work out our own salvation if it is God who is working in us?
The Bible is big and at first glance it can seem intimidating. I mean, it's 66 books that were written thousands of years ago by really smart people under the inspiration of God.
So how do we even go about studying it?
It's a word we throw around in the church a lot and it's a word that is actually not explicitly written in the Bible.
So what is DISCIPLESHIP?
This post is rooted in years of questions and doubts about whether or not I was truly following the “calling” of the Lord on my life. I pray that the words I share are encouraging to you.
“We are all tempted to want to do something important, but who are we to say what is important and what is not? Every person we engage is an eternal soul and every moment is one that can be leveraged for the sake of your spiritual growth and for the sake of the Gospel.”
We serve a God who is in the business of redeeming every single painful and heartbreaking moment for a grand and glorious and eternal purpose.
And what a beautiful thing it is to be able to trust in the fruit that He is growing in us because of this light and momentary suffering.
Yes there is freedom in financial peace, but there is even more freedom in trusting God fully whether your bank account is empty or full.
Yes there is a benefit to having a retirement fund so that you can serve God freely after you stop working, but there is even more benefit to sacrificially and regularly giving of what you have, whether your gifts are large or small.
In the act of open-handedly holding your finances before God, you are invited to a level of trust and intimacy with Him that is so incredibly beautiful.
I drop a load of heavy grocery bags on the kitchen counter and walk out the front door to grab the last of the bags. I look back over my shoulder at our two-year-old puppy as he tilts his head at me, asking me (in his adorable dog-way) where I'm going.
"Sit....... Stayyyyy," I say.
These are daily words in the Bowerman household as we try to train Chief, our adorable rescue pup.
You know that feeling when something so deeply resonates and you feel this unexplainable sense of rightness? That deep deep conviction that God is real and true and good and faithful. And sometimes you can't even tell if that deep conviction is your own or if it's the faith of the people around you upholding yours. All I can think to describe it is the deep encouragement and sustaining of faith that comes from community. And it is beautiful.
You know that feeling when you literally have no idea how something is going to work out? When you know there's a "next step" that's coming but you have no idea what it is? When the deadline to have things figured out is just a month (or a week) away? When people ask you "what's next" and you can't answer because it feels like there's just this big black empty void of a black hole ahead of you that will swallow you if you get too close?
Do you ever have those days when everything seems to be crumbling? When things are just falling apart left and right and you don’t have the strength to hold it together anymore? When it seems like everything is just too much and you want to give up?
The songs we sing cannot be vague and imprecise because worship cannot be vague and imprecise. We are worshipping a specific person who has saved us in a specific way. Therefore, worship should magnify our view of God by highlighting His characteristics and His work of salvation through Christ.
Hope in God. David proclaims what I would do well to remember – that even if everything around me gives way, even if evil and darkness rule my life, there is still hope because God is unchangeable and steady and unshakeable, “His grace is the ground for unshaken hope” (Spurgeon).
Even if you are in a place where you don’t feel God’s love, it does not mean that He is not present. Even if the darkness does not lift, “the darkness is not dark to him” and there is still hope.
...We are therefore able to have immense joy in the time of suffering because Christ Himself is our present joy and our future hope.
Let us not be thankless and praiseless because we are in a season of sorrow or trial.
Instead, may our pain and loss bring praise to our lips as we are reminded that our Savior is our only true comfort and our only true rest.
Our Father does not look for moral competency – for crossed t’s and dotted i’s and straight-line walking. Instead He takes the sin and the shame, He lovingly deals with them on the cross, and He promises to walk with us as we seek to follow Him and know Him more.
His grace. It saves and sustains. It redeems and it reminds. It is forever and it’s also right now. In every moment, over and over and over. It is available in abundance.