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July 22, 2019

I am enjoying the A/C this morning maybe a little more than I should. It is good to be back home and . . . at the moment . . . not sweating. When people talk about “getting out of your comfort zone” they are usually speaking metaphorically or emotionally but now I know what it really means. I pray that your week has already started on a high note with worship yesterday and you are off and running to do His will today!! It’s easy to get caught up in “my stuff” but it is when we learn to stop worrying about “my stuff” and start focusing on what He wants that life becomes meaningful and joyful.
 
This morning I was drawn back to the topic from yesterday’s sermon about being transformed. I’m not sure I adequately conveyed how important it is that we continue to be transformed. I tried comparing it to a house that isn’t completed and yet we live in it ignoring the parts that still need work as if it is normal. What is your house (i.e. your spiritual walk with God) like? None of us is complete. All of us has so much room to grow though it seems like the older we get the less interested we are in transformation. We get comfortable and we become very settled and content with right where we are even though it is still very far from where God wants us to be.
God is striving to make you complete, perfect, in every way. That is the goal. Do you believe that? And I hear you saying “but David, I’m never going to be perfect and I’m really not that bad. In fact, as I compare myself to others, I’m pretty good. So yeah do I need to work on a few things? Sure. But transformation? That sounds a little extreme.” I can say those words because I, too, fall into that trap and that way of thinking. I find myself sometimes like Paul who said, “I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.” Philippians 3:4-6 (NLT2)
 
Like Paul I sometimes think, OK, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Bible & Theology. I have a Masters and Doctorate degrees in theology. I have been in full-time ministry for 40 years. I have dedicated my life to serving Him. Why do I need to change? And then God steps in and reminds me of just how far I have to go. I like to think I’m pretty close in my relationship with God and then He comes along and holds up the standard and I am immediately humbled and broken and I feel ashamed and worthless. God continues to work in my heart and life and the more He works in me the more I realize how far I have to go. When I am tempted to sit back and think highly of myself I look at the goal and I think, OK, I have a ways to go but I’m not that far away and I’m doing pretty good and I am tempted to pat myself on the back. And then Jesus steps in and lets me really see that I am much, much, much farther away than I thought I was. I believe in our culture today we have worried so much about positivity and self-esteem and self-worth that we have lost sight of the goal. In the last year God has shown me just how little I trust Him and He continues to show me that because I apparently have not learned what He wants to teach me in this area of my walk with Him.
 
What about you today? God may be taking you through something just to help you grow in an area of your life. It is through hardship and suffering that we grow the most. The process of sanctification is essential. Essential means that we have to grow. Faith without works is dead. We have to be moving forward. We will never be completely mature in Christ but the key is our striving. It takes work and effort and often some pain. Let me challenge you today to honestly evaluate your walk with the Lord. Wherever you are on that continuum of growing in Christlikeness there is still a place for continued transformation. Your “house” is not completed. It still needs major work, as does mine. I am praying that God will open your eyes today and let you see how much work you still have left. And I am praying that He will give you the strength through the power of the Holy Spirit to rise up and meet the challenge of continued transformation!!
 
I hope you will join us this coming Sunday night, July 28th for our monthly Night of Worship! It begins at 6:00 pm and I am certain you will not regret coming. Last month was an unbelievable time of praise and worship and I fully anticipate more of the same this coming Sunday night!!
 
Happy belated Birthday to my daughter-in-law, Ashley Yaple Hixon!! She celebrated this past Saturday. We are thankful for her being a part of our family.
 
I am ON MISSION Today! Are You?
 
Blessings
David
 
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