We were meant to live for so much more Have we lost ourselves? Somewhere we live inside
"but the people who know their God will display strength and take action." Dan. 11:32b
It's God's fault! I have been passionate and hungry for meaning since I was born. But I think all of us long for more--for bigger, better, a home that we will never have in this world.
Bubbling up in my heart from an early age was a desire to know the greatness of God. Extraverted and involved in so many activities, I was surrounded by people of all ages and many differing backgrounds. Yet there was a hunger inside to meet people who had a desire for greatness, excellence, vision in and through their own personal life. I always believed that if someone really knew the God who created this exquisite universe, that there would be an exceptional sense of "life", beauty, power, love or purpose in the life of such a one.
And so I searched and searched for the hunger inside to be satisfied. Idealist is a name I have been called for most of my life.
When I came across this verse, my deep desire was validated and gratified. If one knows the eternal, compassionate, merciful, servant king God and if He indwells them, shouldn't they be different? Would the power of God in a person not cause them to reflect His reality--the incarnation of His spirit in all aspects of life.
The Holy Spirit, Galatians tells us, exhibits through the life of one yielded to him love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. And so, can we assume that when we are focussing our eyes on Him, praising and worshipping Him in all the moments of our lives, our very being, fallen as it is, will encompass such a light and be so salty, that those who have been in our presence will be uplifted, inspired themselves to love Him more.
What does it mean to display strength? Many of us live in constant challenges in life where we could become victims, or become discouraged or possibly bitter. A victim mentality suggests that one is limited by his difficult circumstances. However, does this verse not suggest that in every circumstance, when one is walking with God, strength will be available.
We see Daniel, who penned these words praying publicly when it was outlawed because he was not going to compromise His conviction that God wanted him to remain faithful. Thrown into the lion's den--quite a dilemma indeed--we see Daniel saying, whether I live or die, I still believe in God. Strength of faith, self-control in the midst of feat, peace in the face of chaos. Next was a firey furnace. Again, Daniel was persecuted for his testimony and faith. Yet, it was to God's glory that he was not even slightly burned.
Strength displayed in the midst of life-battles originates from someone who knows--ponders, worships, seeks, understands their God. When God is present, strength is given generously.
Queen Esther, risking her life before Hamon and her husband, to save her people.
Taking Action--initiative, doing something, pursuing the harvest field of the lost, working diligently, engaging resources for kingdom work that is needed. Even as the spirit of Christ always compelled Him to provide, to instruct, to take on the problems of His children, and ultimately to redeem us by yielding his very life, so His spirit inside of us should compel us to action. Passivity and laziness is never reflected through the character of God.
Consequently, when we are in the presence of God and in His word daily, we see that He has compassion on the poor, that His holiness exacts moral excellence in our own lives, that His forgiveness covers multitude of sin in the lives of those so undeserving of His grace. Christ's spirit constrained Him to enter our fallen arena, to become the servant leader, to give all that He had and was for the sake of those who needed Him.
Where is action needed? Where would Jesus look and say, there is a place where my righteousness must prevail. There is the place unconditional love must be extended. We are the hands, feet and voice of God. We are the picture of God that the world will see.
Will they see Life, Goodness, Love, Compassion, excellence of character and generosity of spirit because they are in our presence? If we truly know our God, we will be genuinely different--the Spirit of the living God resides in us and we shall be a supernatural reflection of Him.
Yet, in our present day culture, mediocrity and compromise is evident in every arena--and especially amongst those who call themselves Christians, Christ-ones. Studies suggest that most people do not even use more than 10-12 percent of their brain capacity.
Is it possible that we do not use more than 10-12 percent of our spiritual capacity? One of my favorite life verses is:
"For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is completely His." II Chronicles 16:9
The strength does not come from our own effort--an exception attempt to gut out some kind of works. God promises that He will support us--give us that strength and help us to know how to take action.
And then Jesus tells us the same, that when we abide in Him--live in Him, stay in Him, get our strength and wisdom from Him--that He will be the supernatural source of our strength.
Now is the time for believers to so stand in the presence of their God, that the aura of God shines from their heart, words, strength and actions.
Esther, Daniel, David, Moses, Abraham, Ruth, Mary the mother of Jesus, Peter and so many more, because of their love and knowledge of God, displayed strength and took action in their own times. These are our models who give us hope to think even all of us who are normal, when filled with the spirit of God, might also be those who display strength and take action.
And so I come to God this summer asking, "Lord, what would you have me do with the next decade of my life? How would your spirit move through me to display strength? Where do I need to muscle up and become stronger? Is there sin that is weakening me? Where would you compel me, within the limitations of my own puzzle of life, my own responsibilities, --where do you want me to obey you and take action?
What about you? In the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, where has God called you to display strength and to take action?
These few focusses have helped me to keep moving in this direction:
1. Find those who, when you are with them, cause you to want to be better, more faithful, who inspire you to walk with God. Whether in books, or in person, do what you can to be with them. I have sought out godly people and put myself in their path so that I can understand how to love God more and serve Him with strength and action. Their very lives motivate me to live more into the power of my God.
2. Read biographies of those faith-oriented people that God has used. Corrie Ten Boom, Brother Andrew, Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, Chinese saints, Mueller, Ben Carson, Andrew Carnegie, Mother Theresa, Jim Elliot, even Ghandi--one who had so much compassion. These were some of my favorites. We can be inspired by those who have sacrificed their lives bravely and boldly, because they were moved to take action in their generation.
3. Obviously, to know God, we must invest in His word and prayer often and at times at length. You could not know deeply someone with whom you never invested time or communicated. So, the more we are with God, the more we will reflect His influence. His word is alive, His spirit is alive and so we seek to read and memorize it and pray it back to Him. God speaks to us through His word and his ultimate Word, Jesus become flesh.
4. Regularly, at least every 6 months, go away by yourself and observe the details of your life. What is draining you? Where have you ceased to believe God? It there any sin habit that is building an invisible wall between you and God? What activities are necessary? What are important?
Cut back on the minimal issues of your life. Ask God, "Where do you want me to take action? What should I plan in order to move ahead in this your work?
The reason the harvest is plentiful and the workers few is because believers have not displayed strength and taken action. it is our tendency to sit back and wait for someone more qualified to lead.
And yet, He has qualified us--it is the knowledge of Him that equips and provides.
Where does God want you to display strength and take action? I am praying His spirit will inspire and encourage you today!