I’ve grown up with a dad who convinced me that I could win at anything I put my mind to. I’ve been a leader since I was young and I love the idea of training, competing and winning with teams that I have been a part of. I am a passionate sports fan and I love it when my team wins. America has always been a “winner.” I love reading books written by winners who have been successful in their careers. From the biographies of President’s to biographies of football coaches, I am drawn to learn from champions. America loves a winner. I love a winner.
With that said, I’m personally in a bit of a pickle right now with Jesus. He is a champion to say the least. A winner if you will. Yet what He is showing me right now is that His definition of winning is quite different than what I’ve ever truly considered. Philippians 2:7 is uncomfortable to read. It reads, “Instead, He gave up His divine privileges, He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form.”
To win in the kingdom is to go low.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to speak in a place that would look great on a resume. It would give me major creditability as a young pastor. I talked to God about it as I was blowing leaves in my back yard and I could not understand why He was being so silent. I heard nothing. Three weeks went by and I could not discern if I should say yes to this overseas invitation that would have lasted two weeks. Finally God spoke to me and when I heard what He had to say, I was not prepared to deal with it. In a nutshell, my eyes were opened to the reality that I was more interested in what was in the event for me and not for Jesus and His kingdom. I felt sick to my stomach when God showed me what was in my heart.
I asked the Lord recently to show me anything in my heart that is not of Him. He has been faithful to do that and I feel no condemnation on it. I appreciate that He loves me enough to show me things about myself that need His pruning.
Am I doing what I am doing for me or for Him?
Perhaps during this holiday season as we are moving towards the New Year, you should ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and reveal anything in you that needs His loving correction. It’s worth it. I don’t want to be another pastor who does not have the character to steward what God desires to do through me. Refinement is not punishment. He has great intentions for us as He graciously grooms us through His own design of pressing.
I’m thankful for a Father who loves me enough to show me my own heart. Step out in faith and ask Him to shine a light on your heart. Embrace what He shows you and take it to the cross. It’s worth it.