I’ve noticed something new rising in me recently that I am finding I need to guard my heart from and it’s emanating from a most unexpected source.
Like most of us, I am inspired and encouraged by the stories I hear of other saints in the Kingdom succeeding. When I hear of someone drawing large numbers to an event or people reaching out to them for counsel and direction, my initial response is that my heart overflows with blessing for that individual. “Yes!,” my heart says, “It is happening. God is moving. He is using everyday men and women to bring his Kingdom!”
We are instructed in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 to encourage one another; “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” God himself delivers encouragement, “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,” (Romans 15:5); and, encouragement is the cornerstone of harmony … unity with Christ and with others. And yet. And yet.
Now comes the confession. In the midst of the encouragement and the resulting joy I find myself leaning toward discouragement. “You will never have that kind of impact.” Or “You’re just not ready.” Or "You really don't have what it takes to be effective for God."
Now I know and recognize the attack of the evil one. “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy…” and, "There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." I know that, in this place of diminishment and accusation, I need to be really careful with my heart because the evil one is right there ready to pile it on. So I go to prayer - “Jesus, Father, Holy Spirit; glorious, eternal God – I consecrate my life to you and the work of your Kingdom. I submit my spirit, soul and body; heart, mind and will to you. For your purposes and as you desire. I bring the cross and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ; the life and power of his empty tomb against every spirit of discouragement, diminishment and doubt. I reject them, banish them in Jesus’ name!”
Now, having submitted and resisted (James 4:7), I am free to ask God an honest question. “What do you have for me Jesus?” My ministry and my impact is a small. This is not diminishment. This is honesty and a truly honest question.
I would love to impact tens and even hundreds; helping them to discover the glory God created in each one; helping them to identify the fear that has kept them bound and then guiding them as they walk with Jesus; engaging their fear in the light of his love and sacrifice. I facilitated an event a couple of months ago. It was small but God came! He came for this small group powerfully. It was beautiful. If I could do that for the rest of my life I would be a truly blessed man. However, I don’t have another event on the radar until next spring but I believe God has something else for me between now and then.
And yet. And yet. I have no clue what it is. So I wait and I pray. Listening for my God and, while I wait, I guard my heart and I love Jesus. Yes, I love Jesus. Such a very good place to be.