I do not want to go to Africa. Never have. Don’t ever expect to. My daughter’s boyfriend is going to India on a mission trip this summer and he is pumped up about it. He wants to go and feels the Lord leading him to do it.
Sometimes we act as though we have to go to Africa, India, Haiti or some other exotic, foreign land to serve the Lord What do we do when we don’t want to go to some international destination to serve Him?
He Gives Us The Picture As Needed
When Jesus called His disciples, he simply said, “Follow Me”. He did not tell them that he would send them out on a mission in teams of two. The closest he came was saying that he would make them fishers of men.
This is not much different from the Old Testament. The Lord did not give Abraham all of the details at once. Neither did He with Moses, David or much of anyone else. He told them what they needed to know at the right time.
You want to serve the Lord, but think that may involve Africa? It may. Or it may not.
He Gives Us The Tools We Need
The Lord told the disciples to take a few things with them. A tunic. A pair of sandals. A walking stick. Why? He wanted them to depend on God for their needs.
David faced Goliath with a slingshot.
Israel waited each day for manna for that day.
God simply wants us to depend on Him for what we need.
He Prepares Us His Ministry
The disciples went out and preached that men should repent. They cast out demons. They healed the sick.
They couldn’t do that before they followed Christ. He taught them how to “do ministry”. He gave them the power to cast out demons and heal. They were prepared by Christ for ministry.
David was a teenager when he was anointed king. It was years before he actually ascended to the throne.
It took Noah about one hundred years to build the ark.
Paul spent about fourteen years between meeting Christ on the Damascus Road and becoming a super apostle.
The bottom line is that if God calls you to go to Africa, He will place a desire to follow Him there. He will give you the tools you need for the ministry. He will prepare you to go. Then you can go to Africa. Or India. Or wherever He wants you to go.
Have you ever been afraid of what the Lord was calling you to do? Do you think you could never do what He wants you to do?
Have you ever used a Christian Copout? I have. Many times. For the sake of not taking personal responsiblity, I have used the following excuses for the way things have turned out in my life. I may not have used these exact words, but these are basically what I mean.
The Devil Made Me Do It
The Devil tempted me. He presented me with an opportunity that I couldn’t resist. He knows exactly where I am weak and attacked me there. He tripped me up. He caused me to stumble there. I had a real bout of spiritual warfare there, but I lost that one. I’ll try harder next time.
The truth is, I wanted to do it. It wasn’t something that I should have done, but I wanted to. So, I did it, but it sounds spiritual when I can pin the blame on the Devil. That way it wasn’t really my fault. This didn’t work for Geraldine (hope some of you get that Flip Wilson reference) and it doesn’t work for us.
God Told Me To
There really isn’t an argument you can put up with someone who uses this one, is there? They say God told them to. End of discussion. They will play that card over and over. “Why am I walking around barefoot? I was reading in Exodus that God told Moses to take his shoes off when he approached the burning bush. I know that is a word from the Lord for me to not wear shoes.” I know that is a silly example, but I have heard people use something similar. I bet you have too.
God Hasn’t Told Me
The exact opposite of the previous one. This one helps someone avoid responsibility. An important decision needs to be made. You don’t want to do it, but you don’t want to come across as not being spiritual. “Would you like to chaperone at the youth conference?” “No, I’m sorry. God hasn’t told me to.”
Or here is another variation. A decision needs to be made. You don’t like the direction that someone else wants the decision to go. What do you say? “God hasn’t given me that answer.” Really, you don’t like the other decision, but you cloud it up with spiritual talk. You paralyze the proceedings.
We’ve All Done It
I’m not getting onto to you if you’ve done this before. We have all used one of these excuses or something like it.
I just want to encourage to stop it.
Don’t blame the Devil. Don’t do something you want to do and blame God. Don’t stall by saying that God hasn’t told you.
Pray about it. Make a decision. Live with it. Stop using Christian Copouts.
It’s not going to screw up His plan for you. Whatever the decision, it was His plan.
Have you ever used an excuse like these to avoid responsiblity for something?
I heard someone recently refer to God as a gentleman. This sounds like a wonderfully plausible statement, doesn’t it? The idea is that God is a gentleman who will not force Himself upon anyone. This person was trying to convey what he thought was a beautiful picture of God.
However, is it biblical and accurate?
Did God sit back and let Noah think about whether he wanted to build the ark?
Did He tell Abraham that if he felt like it he could move to the land He would give him?
He wrestled with Jacob.
He showed up in a burning bush to Moses and when Israel didn’t obey He wiped several of them out.
I know, though, you have some objections. You want to say Jesus wasn’t like that.
Jesus told his disciples to follow Him.
He told one man to sell everything he had, give it to the poor and follow Him.
He called the Pharisees hypocrites and snakes.
Jesus told Zaccheus to come down out of a tree because He was going to eat with him. He invited Himself to dinner.
Let’s fast forward.
He struck Paul blind and sent Ananias a message that he was a chosen instrument of His to go to the Gentiles.
Simply put, I don’t think that God is a gentleman.
I think God is God.
He does things His way. Who are we to argue with it?
What do you think? Is God a gentleman? Or is He simply God?
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained
Do you have a mission? A dream? A vision?
If not, there is a good chance that you are unrestrained. Or perhaps you like the above verse in another translation where it says the people die.
No vision. People die. People are unrestrained.
I like to think of it this way. If you have a vision, you will stay on the path toward life. No vision? You will wander around toward death.
I spoke with someone the other day who said that they needed to find their passion. They need to find their dream. They need to find their vision.
They aren’t happy with where they are in life. They’re going through the motions. They’re slowly dying.
Moses was leading the Israelites from Egypt toward the Promised Land. He kept the Vision in front of Israel as they traveled. He went up on the mountain to speak with God and receive the stone tablets. The Vision was not out in front of the people. What happened?
The people went into a frenzy. They had Aaron make a golden calf. They became unrestrained. They died a little. God even told Moses that He was going to wipe them out. They were near death.
That’s what happens when we don’t have a Mission, a Dream, a Vision.
What’s your Vision? I can’t answer that. Pray about it. Ask God to reveal it to you. Don’t expect writing in the sky. Don’t expect lightning and thunder. Don’t expect a burning .
Just expect a Vision from the Lord. Something that gives you Life and Life to your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Do you have a Vision? What are you doing about it? What are you doing if you don’t know what you’re Vision is?