Does that strike a chord with any of you? Do you ever compare yourself to others and think, "Why not me, God?"
Well, I went to a concert this past weekend and bought a t-shirt.
God, this service isn't one of my strengths."And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' . . . When I am weak, then I am strong."(2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
God, I get asked if I'm still in high school. I look young and feel too young and inadequate for this. "Let no one look down on your youthfulness . . . show yourself an example to those who believe." (1 Timothy 4:12)
God, I like my comfortable schedule, routine and way of life. This will probably throw a wrench in that.Can't I just say no? "If I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me." (Philippians 1:22)
God, are you really sure you want to use me? "Christ Jesus our Lord . . . has strengthed me . . . He considered me faithful, putting my into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor." (1 Timothy 1:12-13)For some reason we think we have to have it all together before we serve. That we can serve only in the areas where we feel gifted. That we aren't good enough. That someone else could do it better. We forget that the Lord will equip us when He calls us. He will be our strength when we are weak. He is good and because of His goodness, He uses flawed people like us.
"'Let your light shine before men in such a way that they see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.'" - Matthew 5:16 (emphasis mine)
"'Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.'" - Isaiah 41:10Remember, no matter how difficult the situation may seem, He's got it. He's got you. He is the LORD.
"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven - a time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak. a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace." - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8Some of the seasons hurt and seem to last much longer than we think they should. Other seasons are full of indescribable joy and they go way faster than we'd like. But they're all seasons. They're all "a time". And the great part about those times - no matter how difficult, sorrowful, blessed, joyful, pained? We know the one who holds them in His hands. And each one of those are equally in His hands.
"But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD, I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in Your hand." - Psalm 31:15
"'You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high. Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one's head like a reed and for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD?
Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed to free and break every yoke?
Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? . . .
If you remove the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday. And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones . . ." - Isaiah 58:4-7; 9-11Deprivation alone doesn't do much good. Maybe our deprivation needs to be accompanied by giving. Depriving so that we can focus more on the needs of others. Realizing that we have so much that we can give some of it up. Using the money saved on that latte to feed a child for a year. Using the money saved on those baked delicacies to free a girl from prostitution. Not buying those new clothes to sit in our closet but instead giving them to a homeless shelter to clothe a kid who's got one pair of jeans. Taking the time to visit our elderly relatives and fellow believers in the nursing home. To stop casting the blame on someone else for all the problems in the world and start doing something - however small - to change it. To deprive my tongue of the joy of gossip and clamping it shut, speaking instead the words of the Lord. Spending time serving in a food shelter or packing boxes of food for the hungry next door and around the world.
"'You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put in under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.'" - Matthew 5:14-16