Isaiah 6:8-9 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people..”
God is looking to and fro across the earth for people he can use to accomplish specific assignments in the building of his kingdom. Before Isaiah became a prominent prophetic voice to Israel, he firstly was an everyday believer in God who made himself available. Availability is the first prerequisite for being used mightily by God. Isaiah 1:19 says, “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land“. To answer God’s call on your life, you must be first willing and secondly obedient. Not only did God call Isaiah but he counselled him in what to say. Too often we are attempting to come up with something inspirational that will connect with people, rather than simply sharing out of the well of what God has already revealed to us. If you want God to call you and use you mightily, first examine your heart and ask, “Am I available? Am I willing? Am I going to obey what he’s asked me to do? Selah!
Type A achievers tend to have high capacity to handle a lot of different tasks and assignments all at the same time. However, whilst the results may be enviable in the short term, the long term consequences are far less glamorous and far more stressful. The person who who commits themselves to focus on fewer things but with greater attention and resolve will execute far more consistently and receive better results long term. It has taken me my entire life to learn this principle. I would struggle with saying ‘NO’ to well meaning people who would ask me to get involved in a task, ministry or event. I didn’t want to disappoint people and I thought I could make a helpful contribution. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. High profile individuals are generally recognized for the one unique thing they do remarkably well, not for the million and one things they are average at. Play to your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Do less and do it better. You’ll enjoy life more and you’ll produce better results.
“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” (Genesis 2:7)
Everything in God’s creation, He created by the words of his mouth with the only exception being us. He created us by reaching down into the dirt of the earth and forming us in his image. Thus, every one of us have God’s fingerprints all over us. Dirt doesn’t seem very appealing but when you plant a seed in it, that seed will eventually produce life. God has planted seeds of blessing in every one of us. You may not be able to see the blessings God has planted on the inside of you but the seed within you has potential within it to produce life. It’s just buried at the moment. You need to water it, nurture it and have the courage to let God bring the seed forth out of the dirt of your life.
Adam and Eve’s first day of life was a Sabbath day of rest, not a work day. Modern life is frantic and we seem to be applying more pressure to an already over crowded schedule. A Sabbath day is not just a good idea, it’s a necessity, if you want to stay healthy and sane. Gods program for life is found in the beginning pages of the bible and when life feels like it’s spiraling out of control, I go back to the beginning and get Gods perspective on what life is about and how it should look. Our bodies, our minds and our wallets need a Sabbath on a regular basis. It’s part of building into your life a sustainable rhythm. Sabbath is when we turn technology off, look after our health and refocus ourselves on God and the most important relationships in our lives. Do you have a sustainable rhythm. God created you to fulfill purpose and enjoy him. You won’t do that if you are constantly moving. Time to refocus your life by building into your schedule a Sabbath day of rest.
It’s been said that an academic takes something simple and makes it complex but a communicator takes something complex and makes it simple. There is way too much complexity in the world. Most of us are overwhelmed by information and more information leads to more complexity. Getting your message across to people requires you to cut through the complexity by keeping things simple and concise. The more detail, the less clear. Detail is ok for back of house but not for front of house, where people are going to see it. Jesus was a master communicator who took complex spiritual realities and tied them to everyday experiences and activities. Thus, 2000 years later, we are benefitting from the clarity Jesus lived and ministered with. Your message is too important to be unclear about it. Very few people can pull off clever and keep their message clear. Bother less about being clever and focus more on being clear. Your audience will appreciate you for it.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. (1 Cor 3:6)
God hasn’t made you responsible for the outcome. That’s his responsibility. But He has made you responsible for the process. Often we work harder at trying to control the outcome rather than just putting the right ingredients into the process. Paul was the initiator of the process by planting and Apollos continued the process by watering what God had initiated through Paul. Planting and watering in all it’s forms made up the process but God was the agent who gave the growth. When you stop trying to control the outcome, you are freed up to give your best to the process and maintain peace along the way. Having to control the outcome is stressful and not in our job description. God says, “Trust me with the outcome by not leaning on your own understanding and focus on the process of what I’ve asked you to do and watch what I do with the outcome.”
John Maxwell once said, “If we could kick the person responsible for most of our problems, we wouldn’t be able to sit down for weeks.” Life is an invitation to get out of our own way, so that God can have his way through us. The economy isn’t my problem and the devil isn’t my problem, I am my biggest problem. Too many of us are committing self-sabotage and blaming it on external circumstances. What you can’t see, you can’t guard against or prepare for. We need to ask God to gently reveal to us areas in our character that are blind spots and apply Gods grace to whatever he reveals to us. The more out of the way you are, the more God will have his say through you.
If someone forces you to go one mile, go with them two. (Matthew 5:41)
Too easily we look at the problems in the world and throw our arms in the air, exclaiming, ‘What difference can I make?’ Its the 2nd mile that makes the biggest difference. Whats the 2nd mile? In Jesus day the Romans legislated a practice they borrowed off the Persians to subjugate the people they had conquered. If a Roman soldier saw a Jewish person, he could command them to carry their burden for up to a mile. Most Jews wouldn’t carry a Romans burden 1 inch further than the law required. Jesus said, ‘Go the 2nd mile’. Do more than what is expected of you. Give people more than they expect to receive and God will bless you with more than you expect to receive. The 1st mile is the legalism mile, whereas, the 2nd mile is the love mile. The 1st mile is duty mile, whereas, the 2nd mile is the devotion mile. The 1st mile is the service mile, whereas, the 2nd mile is the intimacy mile. The 1st mile is the convenience mile, whereas, the 2nd mile is the sacrifice mile. The 1st mile is the performance mile, whereas, the 2nd mile is the worship mile. The 1st mile is the mundane mile, whereas, the 2nd mile is the miraculous mile. Jesus went the 2nd mile on the cross and called us to go the 2nd mile for others.
Catch the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyard. (Song of Songs 2:15)
It’s the little things in life that make the biggest difference. Life is the accumulation of little things, little thoughts, little words, little actions and little choices. The pathway to your destiny begins with a little thought. God has appointed you to a vineyard of gifting and responsibility. Ultimately, it’s not the BIG things that threaten the fruitfulness of your vineyard, as it is, the little things along the way that if you don’t catch now can undermine you later. What are the little foxes in your life that are derailing your hopes and dreams? Identify them, catch them and do something about them before they take you out.