Last night I finished one of the most powerful books I’ve read in quite some time. It was A River Rising by Athol Dickson. I rarely talk about the books I read on my blog, but this one is well worth mentioning. The author used the life of one of his characters to show readers what it truly meant to live the gospel message.
We share the gospel message quite often, but few of us (myself included) know how (or are willing to) live it out. I believe living out the gospel message means living like Jesus 24-7-365. We quote that a lot, don’t we? What would Jesus do? Be His hands and feet…but do we really get what that means? And just how far would those “feet of Jesus” take us?
One quote from the novel has stuck with me. On page 165, Hale Poser, the character that demonstrated through his actions what it meant to be a Christ follower, thought, “…he was not accustomed to thinking of himself as an exceptional man. Indeed, he was not accustomed to thinking of himself at all. And with that realization, suddenly he knew why he had been chosen.”
This statement is quite true. Throughout the novel, Hale is focused on two things–the needs of others and showing them Christ.
It’s made me ask myself a most uncomfortable question:
How often do I think of myself? My comfort, my desires, my dreams, my plans?
And what would happen–what might God be able to do–if I lay it ALL aside?
Gonna ask you that question. Stop a moment and consider your plans for the day. Have you laid your day at God’s feet, asking Him to do as He will? Are you ready to truly be His hands and feet, regardless how inconvenient or time-consuming that may be?
And as you go about your day, be alert to all the “I” thoughts that wiggle into your thinking. Ask God to show you the extent selfishness has crept into your day, then, as you become alert to it, ask Him to help you flip it. When you think, “I’m hungry?” stop to consider those around you and change the question to, “Is my spouse hungry?” or “Lord, is there someone who’s hungry right now you’d like me to pray for?”
We are born with a sinful, selfish nature and are very good at looking out for ourselves. The challenge then is to train ourselves to see and focus on the needs of others.
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
There’s plenty of people serving for their own glory. For name recognition, for increased prestige. But God’s looking for humble servants so in love with Him and His saving message, they’re willing to lay it all aside to be used how-so-ever God wills.
I challenge you to make the following song your heartfelt prayer this morning. Ask God to search the deepest recesses in your heart, doing whatever is necessary to remove whatever gets in His way, drawing you ever-closer to His good, pleasing, perfect will.