This morning I was listening to a sermon by Steven Furtick and God shined some light on my mentality that needs to be molded just a bit.
The story takes place in Acts chapter 3, where Peter and John are on their way to church and encounter a lame man. This guy asks them for money, but they don’t have any so they tell him to, in the name of Jesus, get up and walk instead. So the guy gets up, starts leaping and dancing, and people start running toward them to find out what is going on. Then something crazy happens: the guy stops dancing and, verse 11 says, “the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.”
The question has to be asked: why was the man holding onto Peter and John if he had the ability to leap? Pastor Steven says, “Because his mentality had not caught up with his reality.”
God has me on a crazy journey right now and I have had the opportunity to travel and speak in front of many groups of people in the last two months. It has been a grueling schedule that has cost me a lot of energy, emotion, and strength. While it has been encouraging to not only speak, but also meet people at the different churches and pray for them and minister to them and be prayed for and ministered to, I have at times seen some old mentalities of mine threaten to hijack situations and steal the miracle.
Yesterday we drove about three hours to a church early in the morning, and by the time we arrived in town, I was almost emotionally spent. I hadn’t even preached yet. I prayed desperately that God would say what He wanted to say, and I am sure that He did because many people said that He spoke to them. I, however, did not feel like I was a good and useful instrument for Him. I felt a little lost and disappointed in myself. The pastor said to me, “You have a natural gift for speaking”, and inside, I laughed and thought, “That’s ridiculous. I can’t live that kind of life. No way on earth am I strong enough to do this longer than a few months. I’m not smart enough, strong enough, or gifted enough for that. This is going to ‘do me in’.” Today, God rebuked me for that thought.
Maybe it’s because we have certain expectations of greatness, and when we don’t see that greatness outright because God decided to use our weakness instead, we run to that place of disappointment in our minds and we shut the door. Thankfully, yesterday I didn’t shut the door and I was present when the lady came up to me after the service and poured out her life to me. I was obedient when God said to pray for her, and who knows, but maybe that was the most important thing I did yesterday. In so many ways I see in myself as I speak and minister to people that God has given me the ability to leap and dance and run, but I still have the mentality of the lame girl I used to be – believing that I can’t and I could never.
God has given me the opportunity to shine on that stand, but I still hold the bowl in my hand, just waiting to hide inside. And really, it’s not pride that put me on that stand; it’s pride that causes me to run and hide. It’s pride that says, “This isn’t happening in a way that I am comfortable with.” So I dismiss the possibility that maybe God would want to use me in that way for His purpose. It’s pride that says, “I don’t look the way I want to look and I’m ashamed.” So I dismiss the possibility that maybe I am exactly what God wants me to be for such a time as this.
Maybe my little sermons on Sunday morning and everything that happens in between are a part of a great sermon that God is preaching through this season in my life; and my mess of a struggle is His sermon illustration. Because to be honest, I’m still learning how to walk. I’m learning how to leap in victory and confidence and in peace…and I know a lot of people who do this so much better than me, and Satan, time and time again and in many ways, has tried to beat me up over that. But Jesus doesn’t do that…He doesn’t compare us to everyone else, but looks us in the eyes and sees the destiny and the purpose that He has for you and for me…individually.
You know what Jesus said to people when He wanted them to be His disciples? He said, “Follow Me.” He didn’t preach a three-point sermon on what it means to expand the Kingdom and say, “Have fun. Go and do likewise.” Rather He said, “Come with Me, and I will show you.” Pastor Steven said, “A declaration is empty without a demonstration.” Jesus didn’t simply declare His love for us, but He left heaven, walked the talk, and loved us to the cross. And then He says to us, “Come, follow Me.”
I don’t know about you, but I find great comfort in these words, because now more than ever I am aware of how much I don’t know what I am doing. I’m scared and I am not strong enough. I’ve experienced all these amazing things recently and seen so much change in my life, but I don’t know what to do about it. I have this huge calling and these gifts that God is bringing out in my life, and I am terrified because I don’t know what to do about it…and I’m leaning when I could leap; I’m still paralyzed in my mind when I could be dancing and praising God. Lord, help me…because I don’t know what I am doing.
Then Jesus sweeps in and says, “Follow Me.”
You mean I don’t have to do this alone, Jesus? You mean I don’t have to have all the answers now? You mean I don’t have to know how it’s all going to turn out to walk the path that you have for me? Because I am positive that I won’t be smart enough, strong enough, or gifted enough for that, but I know that if You go with me, it’s going to be ok. I may look stupid sometimes, but it’s going to be ok. I may stumble around a few times, but it’s going to be ok. Why? Because You taught the lame man to walk through the fisherman You taught to preach and to heal. Maybe if You could use the man who was lame, and if You could use Peter, then You could use me too.
Thank you, Lord, for that powerful message. Let’s walk on.