I have something to confess. I am a “people pleaser” in the process of rehabilitation. I’m slowly learning that it is far better to speak the truth in love than to tell people what (I think) they want to hear.
And I will admit that it is not an easy process. Some days, I wish that this message we carry was one that would not make the world reject or hate us….not one that many Christians are still dying for every day. It would be so much easier to conform to this world and simply stay far away from places and countries where the truth might lead to persecution or even death. Nevertheless, He said: “Be NOT conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.
God has called me – and all of us – to receive and share His message. If what we believe does not set us free, it’s not the truth. And if we do not speak the truth, we allow others who receive our words to come under bondage or to remain in bondage. We are not responsible for formulating the message…we are merely messengers responsible for sharing His words.
I know I am “a work in progress” and still have a long way to go. I am still “finding my voice”, as they would say in the literary world. I’m also still learning when not to speak and how to listen with love; but I’m getting there one word at a time, and I’m learning that the best way not to mess it up is to speak His words.
Sometimes, we feel offended, and we, in our humanity, react by defending ourselves. Then, at other times, we ask hard questions and say things which might offend others; and they, likewise, react by defending themselves. The worst thing we can do is to get caught up in intellectual debates and miss the core of the message, which is LOVE.
This week, I have come to realize that “finding my voice” or “finding my calling” is not the top priority in my walk with God. Instead, the most important thing for me is to learn to recognize and to listen to the voice of the Shepherd. If we simply learn to listen to that still, small voice, we can receive a lamp for our feet to give us just enough light to take the next step forward in faith. By doing so, we can walk into His plans for our lives which may impact the lives of others and God’s plans for them. Our lives are inter-connected.
And, in walking circumspectly, we should always be careful that our own pride does not get in the way of God’s purpose for our lives to bring Him glory and honor.
In seeking after God, I have learned that it might take us to messy, uncomfortable, and undesirable places. But even in the middle of the worst situation possible, we can have peace which truly “passes all understanding”. Even if we have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will be able to say: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” And, despite the measure of our own finances, our cups will always run over with His provision, enabling us to give to those in need around us.
At the end of the day, we are not here on this earth for ourselves. We are all part of a bigger, intricate plan of God’s love: we simply have to love….God first, and then each other. It is easy to love God, but it takes the love of God in our lives to love our imperfect neighbors.
It is human nature to talk big. Unfortunately, we are often guilty of “all talk and no action” and fail “to practice what we preach”. We want affirmation of man by being heard, standing out above the crowd, or being the center of attention. Less often do we seek the affirmation of God by being willing to allow Him to take the spotlight as we submit to His Words, words which have power to radically change us and mold us into His image. Through the truth of His Words, we are set free from the lies and deception of all other thoughts, opinions, and words. Only then can we yield to the law of love, allowing it to rule and reign in our hearts, and minds, and spirits, compelling us to share the good news with others. Serving the needs of others…and the greatest need is love…is the only way to lead people into His Kingdom.
Jesus always spoke with clarity and intent, and always with love. We have so much to learn from that voice now speaking to our hearts, calling us to take up our cross and follow Him. I pray that He will speak to your heart through this message in a way that will transform and renew your life, as He has mine, and that your ears would be opened to hear His voice.
I have learned (the hard way), and I am still learning, that the world doesn’t need one more opinion, especially when it comes to religion. The world needs more examples. “Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” I want to spend less time writing/speaking and more time doing, in hopes that, somehow, His voice will be heard through my life.
Speak the truth in love and live it up.
(Reporter of Hope)