We all know that one person who seems so in love with the Lord. And we want that! We really do! But when we start trying to model after them, tell people about Jesus, be positive all the time, throw in a few extra prayers into our schedule… we seem to always fall short. Our desire to live up to that standard burns out. This is something I have difficulties with- we put people on pedestals and try to have the faith that we see in those people. It's not bad to look up to people and seek council and community, but it becomes more about being like that person and less about being like Jesus. I used to have this friend. And every time he spoke the conversation would eventually turn back to God. I never saw him get angry, never saw him get frustrated, he was always happy, our conversations would revolve around the wonders of God, and he would advise me when I had problems to seek the Lord. I would come away from those conversations so uplifted. He was a disciple of the Lord no doubt. But my problem was that when I left those conversations I would be on a high for a few days and then life was back to the mundane routine. Then I realized that I wasn't living my own faith, I was living vicariously through his. I could be the person that he talked about Jesus to, but I couldn't be the person who talked about Jesus to other people. And on top of that, I wasn't having these types of conversations when I prayed. My prayers were just as surface level as they always had been. How could I leave those conversations and not be blown away by God? Because I wasn't putting God on a pedestal, I was putting another person on a pedestal.
Our responsibilities as Christians are challenging to say the least. We are called to go and make disciples of every nation, but it becomes all too easy to dismiss this command and hope that others will take on the responsibility of furthering the kingdom. It's just easier to sit down on the back row of pews on Sunday, listen to the lesson, and at some point during the week post a Facebook status of a bible verse or a quote out of a book we picked up for five minutes… "Just so you know I'm still a Christian over here!" Sometimes it just doesn't even seem rational to be a Christ follower. In our world today, especially with my generation, it's way too easy to make people feel uncomfortable. If they feel uncomfortable, we now feel like we have suddenly sacrificed all future hope of having a relationship with that person. And that's what it is, right? We are afraid of the outcome.
The same can be said in other areas of our faith. Beyond discipling, we are afraid what the outcome will be if we actually start living a life similar to Jesus'. If you're like me, you might refuse to pray about something because you think God might break you're heart for something you don't want it to be broken for (and he did). But that shows a departure from faith, doesn't it? Also if you're like me, you might be afraid of the next steps God has pointed you in. They may be dangerous to your relationships with people you care about, they might be dangerous to your safety, and they might be dangerous for your family. But if I know that God is beckoning me to a certain mission field, can't I know that God is faithful and He will protect me and use me for His purpose? If God calls Trace and me to live in the ghetto long-term, can't I trust that He will protect my child in a Memphis city school? Yeah, it's kind of scary when you put things into real perspectives.
Also, one step further, can I trust God when He tells me that He doesn't need me in that particular field anymore? If we moved into a bad part of town because God laid it on our hearts to do so, but then later down the road Trace starts feeling like God is pushing us to start ministering to a community of people who are wealthy and absorbed in a materialistic lifestyle, we have to be able to literally let God do the leading.
It's hard to let God lead because I think that without knowing it we can let our passions take the driver's seat. And those passions can even be good things as well. At this point, God has given me a passion for inner city. But can I allow that passion to become my god? Yes. Eventually, God might call me to go somewhere different but I am enjoying what I'm doing so much that I ignore the pull to relocate. Right then, my passions just became my god. I have to know that in everything God is faithful. Now you might say, "Holly that's ridiculous.. Why would God want to take you away from something you enjoy?" And my answer to that is, "Why does it matter?"