Archive for March, 2018

Called to Go… or Called to Stay?

I had a discussion with my boyfriend a couple of days ago that made me think of this post and when I went to look it up found it was still a draft. I wrote this Feb 8, 2008 and never published it. I’m not sure why it was left as a draft. I’m going to hit the publish button a full 10yr after it was written. I have not even read this through completely again, so there is little doubt that it needs work, but that’s life.

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A dear friend once told me she didn’t understand why God would let her family be ill with a difficult to treat, lengthy, complicated illness. She said she and her husband were willing to go…(you know “Go into all the world and preach the good news, unto all creation” Mark 16:15….). I think she was wondering why God was having them wait and deal with the illness when they were willing to go to the mission field now… She was sharing this with me because I had shared with her that I was struggling with feeling so badly for wanting to go and be a missionary. I was willing, but it seemed odd to me to be feeling so strongly about going when I knew that I could not go right now. *I* was wondering why He would put that burning desire, that urgency to GO and spread the Good News in my heart (for I knew it came from Him) when He also knew that right now circumstances were such that I had to stay. Kinda the same question for us both, huh? =)So why would God let someone who had a desire and a willingness to GO be held back? Indeed, why would He even place the desire and the willingness in their heart to begin with if they were going to only be held back?

The possible answers are infinite, because God is infinite. Obviously not all possibilities could even begin to be understood or discussed. I offer you now, this one possibility…

It may be they are TOO willing and eager. How could that be?Let’s look at: Feeling Ready to GO. NOW. through Love Logic:

Their heart is so full of love (and don’t forget God is love), they are sooo very willing and eager to GO and spread the good news…to GO and spread God’s love. So focused, so intense on that, that they absolutely would go if God didn’t hold them back. Why would he hold someone so willing, so eager, so focused, so intense, absolutely burning to go??

Here’s the reason in one word… LOVE.

Love for them and love for ALL.

Because that is not what He wants them to do right now. He doesn’t want them to GO. He wants them to stay, but they are so intense, so passionate, so eager that they can and will jump before they ought. They’ll get sidetracked by their own impulsive and then (almost obsessive) passions. In this case, I am referring to the passion of spreading God’s love…sharing Him with others. So passionate, so intense, so desirous are they that ALL know of His redeeming love, that they would (if not wrangled in by that very love) zoom off to spread the Word.

Matthew 28:19-20 says “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

GOing is something Jesus wants us to do, but in HIS time and to the place of HIS choosing.

I think these intense souls burn so bright inside they feel like they just might burst. I think they have a predisposition to hyper-focusing, and impulsivity, as well as distractibility. Their very nature is to focus and burn hot and intense…if they are going to do something they are going to do it to the best of their ability. They might be known to say things like: “If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” “Always do your best.” Or this verse from the bible, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…” Ecclesiastes 9:10.

They are determined, persistent, and do and feel things in ‘overdrive’. They just might have perfectionistic tendencies as well.

This is exactly the type of person who would be most vulnerable to, hearing only “Go ye therefore…” and take off before they heard the rest.

If they didn’t slow down, practice using patience, and really listen that is exactly what they would do.

Patience or longsuffering, is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) The Spirit being the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit WILL bear fruit in our lives. In John 15: 8 Jesus says “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so then shall ye be called my disciples.”

Webster’s dictionary defines ‘disciple’ as: “1. A learner; a scholar; one who receives or professes to receive instruction from another; as the disciples of Plato. 2. A follower; an adherent to the doctrines of another. Hence the constant attendants of Christ were called his disciples; and hence all Christians are called his disciples, as they profess to learn and receive his doctrines and precepts.”

The Spirit bears the fruit through us. We have to learn to USE them. How do you learn to use a spoon or a power tool? You practice. Remember that.

God knows that they would take off if they don’t slow down because He is all-knowing. Aside from that….hello! He created them. He knew what He was doing. He knew they would be predisposed to these things. He knew this could and/or would be a very real-case scenario…this taking off before listening completely. I know I’ve seen my own kids do this time and time again… I’ll start to tell them to do something and they take off before I can give them the….COMPLETE… instructions.

God knew these people would be weak in these areas because of their predispositions. God knew, and He planned it. See, it is through the weakest link that God can show the greatest strength. God has a real flare for the dramatic. Extremes. Take the lowliest of the low and you can really SEE! the difference when it is raised up. And vice versa. It’s the contrast that makes the difference. Why do you think books are printed in black on a white background…biggest contrast, easiest to see. If it were typed in yellow…well yellow on white is not much of a contrast, therefore it would be more difficult to see. Maybe not impossible, but more difficult.

Jesus is the light of the world. He came to illuminate. His life makes the biggest contrast. Pure light came into pure darkness. Extreme contrast…God- All knowing, all powerful, purely clean… came to earth and was born as a helpless infant baby in a filthy barn and slept in a feeding trough. (Remember Jesus was and is God in the flesh. Jesus says in John 10:30 “I and my Father are one.”)

Extreme contrast…to make it as easy as possible to SEE. Why? Because He wants ALL to SEE! so they will believe… and believing, have everlasting life through Him.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” -John 3:16 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” -John 14:6

He wants ALL to see because he loves ALL. He loves ALL because He is love. What is love? God is love.Love logic.

(Ok, got sidetracked…) Back to our sidetracked intense lights. They SAW, really SAW and now they want ALL to SEE, too. They want that because that is what God wants. They want what God wants because He now lives in them.

Love logic.

Great…let’s GO!

NO!

As Davy Crockett once said…”Be always sure you’re right, then go ahead.” THEN go ahead. THEN go ahead. PATIENCE. Extreme contrast of impulsivity…hmmm…God created these people, He knew their strengths and weaknesses before they did. He planned them. In their weaknesses He will shine brightest. In their strengths they will find joy. The joy of the Lord is their strength.

God loves them. God knew that if….here is the Love Logic… if He didn’t put obstacles in their path, a fence if you will, they would GO! too soon. Before they’d received the COMPLETE instructions. Between their intense desires to do God’s will, to learn, to grow, to spread His love, God’s gracious use of obstacles, and through Christ which strengthens them and enables them to listen….they stay put…AND catch the complete instructions.

Let’s look at Matthew 28:19-20 again… “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Look! SEE! The last part of the directions…”teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”. That’s discipleship, folks. And THAT is what these people are best suited to doing because they were weak, and saw how He could be their strength. It’s the learning how to listen to God and His leading, how to put the keys to Christian living into practice in everyday life that these young Christians…these young disciples…need- and God knew it, so He lined up some teachers and taught them…the way they needed to be taught. Why? Because He loves ALL and wants ALL to know it. These teachers that Jesus, the Great Teacher Himself, trained up in the way they should go are now equipped for the path that He chose for them to follow before time began.

They were created for His purpose and His pleasure. They belong to Him and are His tools, His servants. But God is not a cruel Master. He is Love.

He so loves these servants! He is so good to them, so kind, so gracious. He knew they would be predisposed, prone to impulsivity, hyper-focusing, etc. because they are so intense. He also knew that if they did jump and GO! when it’s not His will for them to do in that season, they would be headed for troubles. Troubles because they would be out of God’s will, trouble because they would be doing wrong…even though they would be doing it to do right (spread God’s love, spread the gospel to all nations). He knew that and in His grace He put a bigger fence up. One they couldn’t jump nearly as easily or as quickly. To get over this fence, they would really have to work at it, and that would slow them down. Slowing them down would probably be enough to get them to hear the rest of the instructions.

And if they heard the rest of the instructions, their intensity, their focus would be shifted to the complete forest and they wouldn’t miss out on God’s intended path for them. I’m sure you’ve heard…”can’t see the forest for the trees”…that’s focusing in on something so intensely you miss what is going on all around you. That’s what these people would be in danger of doing…focusing in on the GO and the need to spread the good news of salvation (a very good thing and absolutely a huge need, mind you!)…and missing the young Christians (and by young I mean newly saved, therefore young spiritually) all around who also have needs. Their needs are no longer salvation, that is already eternally secure; their needs now include love first of all, assurance, instruction, comfort, and encouragement. Just because they’re saved, their need for the Savior does not stop. Remember, God is love. Jesus is God. Jesus is love. Even after salvation we still need Jesus. We still need love.

This ‘bigger fence’ God puts up might very well be any number of things. It could even be an illness, and maybe not just any illness. God is so good and so gracious that He might choose to use an illness that is little understood…one that is maybe even controversial…one that is difficult to treat…lengthy to treat maybe. He might choose just that kind of illness to use because an illness that is controversial at worst, and difficult to treat because it is not well understood at best, is probably going to be treated well only by a few select doctors. It would be more difficult to find a doctor on the foreign mission field that is familiar with kind of illness.

That would make good love logical sense, wouldn’t it?

Love logic would explain not only why an illness (considered by most to be a BAD thing), but why that kind of illness (which, at first glance would seem to be among the worst kind) was used.

What a blessing! What love!Remember I told you back there to remember how you learn? By practicing? These servants have been practicing using patience. They’ve been learning. They’ve also been obeying with the Spirit’s help, which is the only way we can obey, by the way. Don’t think for a second you can do it on your own.

They’ve been obeying by staying in God’s will…by not jumping over that fence.

Obeying and doing God’s will are commandments. As is loving one another. Jesus says in John 15:12 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

The predispositions of these people help fuel an intense desire to do just that. The love and light that lives within them burns so intensely it can’t be pent up…it has to get out. The characteristics of these people are such that they just won’t be able to NOT love…not without great deliberate effort on their part, anyway. I think at times the desire to help others, to comfort, to encourage, to assure others threatens to burst them at their seams if they did not let it out. They do it almost without thinking or realizing it at times. It just comes naturally to them…or rather, *super*naturally…through Christ Jesus. A kind word here, a helping hand there, sharing how God has helped them whether through salvation or some other facet of His love…those are all ways of loving others. So they’ve been loving others as they’ve been practicing using patience.

What an amazing Lord we serve! Look now, at what He says in John 15:14-16 —

“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

Jesus just called them friends! What an honor, to be called a friend of Jesus. He’s a REAL friend, folks. In fact He is THE Real Friend…the BEST because He will never leave you nor forsake you! There’s no one I would rather have call *me* a friend! Amazing love!

He called them friends, then told them He did the choosing…He chose them out of the world (John 15:19) to go bear fruit…He saved them and ordained (or appointed) them to go and bring forth fruit, but He didn’t tell them how or the when yet.

It may be that people with these characteristics feel intensely how they should accomplish that, but it’s not about feeling. It’s about knowing. John 15:15 again…”…for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” Jesus made it known, He didn’t make it felt.

Because the Lord is gracious and loves His friends so very much, He makes a way for them to be able to slow down enough to see the forest and know the ‘how’ and ‘when’.

Could be He uses love logic and chooses to take the unlikeliest thing and turn it into a blessing. =)That’s right, even being ill could be a blessing in disguise, one that forces us to slow down long enough to really catch all God wants us to hear….and pass on.

Because He does want us to pass it on. Show God’s love (the first fruit of the Spirit) and others will too…it will spread.

‘Go’ and ‘now’ aren’t the only words God uses. Listen for the complete instructions. We can spread the Word and bring forth fruit through this word, too…Discipleship.

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