Exclusivity?

I think somehow we as believers get our purpose mixed up quite often. And to be honest as I’m the one writing this blog I should be the first to admit this can be true for me. You might get convicted as well. Don’t let that conviction hold you down. Repent. Learn from it. And move on.

How often do we get our spiritual calling confused with our identities and somehow our gifts either make or break us? And another question. What if our gifts or talents God entrusts us with aren’t about us at all? Consider, what if we each didn’t have any of the gifts to preach or teach or sing or encourage if God never granted them to us? Would we still seek to honor God with what we had? And even if we are gifted at some skill do we hoard it or do we claim that as a talent of our own that should: “of course be used”? Would we still use whatever gift He gave for Him? Would we still search out how to excel at using that gift for His glory?

This weekend I connected the dots and I’m about to show you how God spoke directly to me. I have to admit that quite often I have felt during this season in my life that God is silent more then He speaks. And so for this lesson I am grateful.

Over the weekend my husband and I took a trip up north. On our way home we came upon a message from my pastor that somehow ended up on my MP3 player in my car. I’m really not even sure how it got on there because I don’t  recall burning it but whatever. So we’re driving, listening to music one minute and the next thing I knew there was Pastor Jim giving a message. I have to admit that it was some much needed truths to be reminded of.

Take you back earlier that day I had caught myself randomly thinking about a guy at my church who I’ve heard promotes his business at the Church. I don’t know his motive, if it’s to help someone get a job or for his benefit, using the church, but for a long time I’ve looked at him and made my own judgements. Unfair I know. I was thinking recently what is so different about my promoting my book or selling it at the church? Not that I do so often but when given an opportunity to share about it in church or outside of it I do.

Getting back to the message playing in the car which came from the passage that we often quote from the Bible about Jesus clearing the people out of the temple who were making money selling in the temple wasn’t actually about the money. Jesus wasn’t angry that buying and selling was happening in His house. He was angry at the exclusivity that was happening inside His house. How often do we single people out in our minds and think negatively about them and sort of uninclude them because of our own judgments or because they aren’t like us?

I opened up a Max Lucado book Sunday evening called “The Cure for the Common Life,” and He wrote that we need to stop promoting ourselves using our gifts and talents and look to really promote God using our gifts and talents. How satisfying that is to ones soul and how often does God truly bless someone who’s using their gifts for His glory instead of their own. I mean really how many stupid battles would we avoid if we chose to promote God instead of ourselves? And it also would help us to get over that exclusive mindset that if they don’t fit the pattern I don’t want them in my church or my group.

Lift God up with your life. And don’t covet others’ gifts. Use yours only for God’s glory. His edification instead of your own. How many of us would beat that battle in our minds if only we lived that mindset? 

In my heart of hearts that’s how I live. But in my mind I have to admit that somehow I can lose that battle. I wonder so often if I just am not in the right so-called click or group of people to move forward in my plans for my life with my right motives. There something wrong with that statement, isn’t there? 

I am about to celebrate seventeen years of freedom from bondage. In fact, today is the day. God broke my chains of slavery to addictions of narcotics, and entangling myself with things way to early in life that really could have sunk my ship for good, early in my life, if not for the grace of God.

The point of my saying all this is that with all my heart I want to share the Good News of freedom in Jesus with whoever will let me. I can give a personal testimony of the awesome undeserved grace of God that is available to any and all that seek to grab ahold of it. Or those who yearn to experience this in their lives. I so want to be used to share an awesome testimony of how God pulled me out of my pit to set my feet on a firm foundation of Rock, that is Jesus Christ. 

At this point in my journey I have to continually give this battle to God. The one that rages within me to do things with skill I could all those years ago. Such as singing for Gods glory and not my own. If I am blessed with an opportunity to sing again well I’ll praise God for that. But if I never gain back what I lost, really I have been blessed with more then I deserve.

Grace.. It’s quite a word. Quite a miraculous work of God. 

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