Posted on June 4, 2017
There is a person God has laid upon my heart, that I’ve never met. Though I lack the details, I just know I’m supposed to pray into this recurring dream …of helping just one. Not at all sure how long it will take to see what God’s up to, it’s so wonderful that I don’t mind waiting …praying for all the obedient steps in my life to march in line, and feeling humbly unqualified to be considered at all.
We often discount ourselves from big dreams because of our imperfections, lacking trust in God’s plan for our lives. No matter how long we’ve walked with Christ, the temptation to waver lingers.
Today’s verse is calling compassion on those wavering under the influence of people who, in Jude’s day, were bending the true message of God’s grace. Under the false pretense that salvation gave them license to sin, the ‘rule benders’ were confusing others who were pursuing a knowledge of Christian faith.
Imagine the nerve, but realize we live immersed in a society that tells us that it’s OK to do what’s not OK. Those wavering in faith are watching to see if we’ll admit when we are wrong and repentantly ask for forgiveness …as we preach …or if we will justify our mistakes with entitled excuses.
Wavering doesn’t just sit in the pocket of people who aren’t sure they believe in Christ …it dwells in the hearts of those that do, too. Thwarting the big dreams God wants to accomplish in our lives and the opportunity to serve as a witness for the King of kings. Wavering…
Dictionary.com defines it,“
If we flutter in faith, those around us will sway to and fro.
There is no chance for perfection on this earth, but there is Grace. Jesus died to level the playing field, yet some of us refuse to play fairly, don’t we? Hiding our mistakes, brushing them under the rug, nodding acceptingly when others tell us not to worry …
Be OK with it not being OK. Our big dreams are counting on it. Our witness depends on it. Authentic acceptance of sin serves as a greater witness than the run and hide game of denial. “Move beyond being sorrowful and onto repentance.” (first5)
Father, Praise You for the big dreams You have planted in our hearts. Thank You for stirring our hearts to pray into those dreams and work to move toward them. Forgive us for running from our sin, and help us to handle it …so that we may repent and move closer to You and Your purpose for our life’s witness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace!
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Posted on March 2, 2016
With every Kindergarten foot-stomp, adult miscommunication, seven-year old sassy stare, and unnerved “NO!- That’s not something we tell the dog ‘NO’ for,” I holler down the hallways of my home, I yearn a little bit more for a vacation away from all of them …the people and the thoughts.
“You’re not a good parent…just give up.”
“You’re not a good wife…just give up.”
“You’re not a good friend…just give up.”
“You’re not a good writer…just give up.”
“You’re not a good …daughter, sibling, co-worker, church member …fill it in how it feels …and then just give up.”
If we’re being real, that’s someone’s reality. Today, it’s mine. I can see my lack of self-control reflected in my struggle to maintain the last word…even with my dog.
“Don’t you DARE bite me…” I’ll stare menacingly. They’re supposed to read your facial expressions, right? I’m not a good dog owner …maybe I should just give up.
My relationships reflect my constant battle with insecurities.
“They shouldn’t treat me that way…” Quit.
I crave entitlement to curb my doubts.
“I deserve better…” Walk away…again.
When we quiet the quitter by commanding compassion, we witness to the wavering. Through Jude 1:22 and Nicki Koziarz’s book, “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit,” Christ compelled me to stop whining keep walking.
Refuse to pour out doubt before you recognize the reflection. It’s unworldly to look in the mirror to heal ill-regard towards others. Justification is the more acceptable method of problem solving in our legalistic society.
It’s not the people and the circumstances in my life that are causing me mental unrest…it’s the disheveled way I’m running the course through and to my calling. But when I reach out and read I find I’m not alone…
Jude was Jesus’ brother. Yet, his qualification to speak on Christianity came from a lifetime of growing up in the same household with, but not believing, he lived among the Son of God. #oops (Men of the Bible, Bible Gateway)
Nicki’s honesty in revealing her “Quit List” comforted me to tears. #AMEN Testimony can reach out in such a personal way when the faithful share God’s story of their life.
Life Application: It’s easy to pitch a tent of pointed fingers and quit hard people and situations, but I’d rather look back at the meandering path of walking with Christ. When we feel a hint of aggravation creeping into our temperament, stop and pray for God to unplug the compassion-clog.
My qwerty keyboard lit on fire with crying smiley-faces when Nicki shared her experience with peroxide contact solution in her eye. I was so thankful not to be the only one who had somehow dismissed the bright red cap of warning, and pictured myself doing the spazzed-out eye-burning dance as she recalled her own. (Page 64, 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit.)
I expected her book to be funny and easy to relate to, but I did not expect to cry like a baby when she peeled back my secret struggle of marital life By unveiling her own honest sentiments. What secret? That it’s HARD. It’s so hard. Unbelievably hard, even when you’re blessed with the best.
I’m forever thankful she chose to come alongside of me that day. Her compassionate wave of the “It’s OK” flag released the flood gates of something I wasn’t sure was “normal” to feel. The next morning, God so faithfully and personally placed people in my kitchen to call it out and pray it out with me. #awesomeness.
Christian love get’s lost in the movement, sometimes. Sharing the struggles behind the smiles of your life is “caring enough to move” (Pastor Todd Neilsen)…and that’s compassion defined. I pray God allows me to be there for other people like me, who exude laughter and encouragement, but are inclined and conditioned to tough it out.
Life Application: If we can learn to lean in to the One who made us a midst struggle and strife, I believe we’ll discover the confidence hidden in our truest pieces. And I know those pieces are meant to touch hearts and save souls.
For anyone who tests out of personality quizzes with leadership skills like I do, the struggle with control is real. But God wouldn’t build a trait into my character unless He meant it for good. How can control be a good thing? The obvious benefits of self-control are easy to equate, but while studying this word I discovered a new layer.
“Control: A person who acts as a check. A check or restraint. To eliminate or prevent the flourishing or spread of. To test or verify…”-Dictionary.com
My religious upbringing lit the love of Christ in my heart, but there came a time when I had to sift through rules to release my relationship with God. The floodgates of conversation flew open when I lifted up the consequential constraints of penance to begin running my disheveled course of calling. I had to lose control to gain control.
Control of each soul’s marathon is beyond a human’s ability to reason and rule. As we stride up alongside each other on life’s disheveled course of calling, our duty is to extend an encouraging word and a “you can do it” through whatever personality skill you’re gifted the highest score.
“Christian freedom is not a hall pass to do whatever one wishes.” Case for Christ Study Bible, Jude 1:22 Rather, Christian freedom is the way Nicki described it in her book:
“Goodness, I mess up all the time. I say things I shouldn’t say. I have thoughts I shouldn’t have. I doubt when I should trust. I quit things I shouldn’t quit. And yet God is always there dabbing more and more grace on my soul. He doesn’t quit me; He just keeps ‘touching up’ the places of weakness in me.” Nicki Koziarz, “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit.”
Sometimes, God’s people will dab grace on your soul during the race…
Life Application: When doubters see you overcome what they are underneath, a “me too” mentality is born from testimony. Share the hard stuff, and be real with God about your stuff.
Each translation of Jude 1:22 perpetuates a unique revelation. God will speak your language, where you’re at. Jude’s letter emphatically urged his audience to be wary of “grumblers and fault-finders” toting Christian freedom as “a license for immorality,” (Case for Christ Study Bible) and ended his letter by pointing back to God, who is “fully able to keep those who put there trust in Him.” (NIV Study Notes James 1:24-25)
Synonyms for control, according to Dictionary.com, are: management, government, reign, rule, mastery. Rest assured, the author of the universe is in control. Everything has a flip side. Christians know the ending. Stay focused on the finish line, and make the choice to keep your control setting flipped to His.
It’s a disheveled course, but God designed my personality to persevere around every sharp corner and up every steep…never-ending hill. Jesus’ scarred hands extend compassion to me…which bleeds out of my life, and prayerfully onto those who need to know that He loves them, too. That’s the mission. Until the we hug Him in heaven …there’s no time to quit.
Happy “Not” Quitting…