Monday, November 5, 2012

By God's power

"What would it look like if every Christian in your community fully submitted themselves to the Spirit's leading?"

This is the question that Francis Chan asks on page 107 of his book, "Remembering the Forgotten God" workbook.  I wanted to share my answer because yesterday after Ryan and I left church the Holy Spirit was laying heavy on my heart this question but in a, "Danielle, what would your life look like if you fully submitted yourself to my leading?"  And I haven't been able to shake it.  I've been thinking and dreaming for the last day about this question.  Today, I sit down to finish chapter 7 of this study and here is that question.  So, I started to just dream.  To just write out my answer as things flew into my brain and two pages later, I could have kept going.  

I want to share it with you- whether you believe Christ is who He says He is or not.  I want to share it because it's on my heart.  So, here goes.

If every Christian in my community, including myself, fully submitted to the Spirit's leading it would look like this:  The poor would be fed, clothed and cared for throughout the year, not just at Christmastime.  The orphans would be loved, held, fostered and adopted.  The rich would be generous with more than just their money.  The ones with less would give more- not for their own glory, but for God's.  Walls would come down in every heart.  Masks that have been worn for years would be taken off.  Insecurities and lies would be thrown at the foot of the cross, left there and replaced with the incredible truth that God doesn't make junk.  That He has created man and woman alike in His image, for His glory and to live in relationship with Him.  Conflicts would be addressed and forgiveness would abound.  The gospel wouldn't just be preached on Sundays, but lived out every day of the week before an unbelieving world- for all to see, for all to experience.  Church would become more than just four walls, a pulpit and a preacher.  It would be a body of people choosing each day to believe God is who He says He is, even when life hurts, tears fall, and circumstances don't make sense.  It would look like people choosing to step out of the safe into the unknown, laying down what is most precious to them and picking up the cross.  It would look like comradery, the kind that comes from doing life together, from being in the trenches together.  When one person hurts, all would hurt and when one rejoices, all would rejoice.  Selfishness would be thrown to the wayside to instead lift others up, put them before ourselves, even when it isn't easy or convenient.  The goal of life wouldn't be to obtain things that are bigger, better or faster.  The goal of life wouldn't be more stuff, a bigger house, a newer car or a top paying job.  Instead, the goal of life would be to love God with all your heart, mind and soul and to love others as yourself.  And while there is nothing wrong with having a nice house, a new car or things, it wouldn't be the pursuit of the people of Christ.  If we chose to submit to the Spirit's leading we would recognize all that we have is really God's.  He can give and He can take away.  And we would wake up daily and ask Him, "God, how can I glorify you today with all that you've blessed me with."  It'd look like the people of God, regardless of age, race, gender and socio-economic status, asking that very question and living with open hands and open hearts.  To fully submit to the Spirit's leading would look like crazy, radical living and the world wouldn't know what to do with it.

Zechariah 4:6 says, "...'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty."  And Matthew 22:37-40 says that the greatest commandment is, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."  Finally, in Galatians Paul writes, "So, I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other... But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law... Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."  (Galatians 5:16-17, 22, 6:9-10)

So, today, I am asking God to submit me to His authority.  I'm asking Him where in my life I need to step out in faith and truth Him to be who He says He is.  I am asking Him to provide opportunities to be generous, giving, compassionate and kind and that in that moment, scary as it might be, to act.

Join me in asking these things.  Let's live out the gospel- loving the unlovable and caring for those God has put in our lives.  We can submit to His authority and choose to believe Him and love Him today.  Christ died that we may have life and have it abundantly.  Let's choose to share it with those around us.