I'm learning a lot about how much I'm a sinner. Yet, God is bringing me from a place of condemnation to a place of joy and hope. He wants to change me and I'm beginning to slowly trust that He can change me. I haven't seen evidence yet, but I'm praying that as I slow down enough to listen to Him it will begin to happen.
I recently read the book Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis and I have to say it knocked my socks off! If you've never heard about it, it is the story of a nineteen year old girl who felt called to move to Uganda to care for the fatherless. Out of obedience to the Lord, she left behind a life of great comfort and settled in an area that is full of poverty, sickness and children who are all alone. She started a ministry called Amazima and adopted 14 children along the way! Oh my! (If you want to learn more, read her book found at the link above.)
The story about Katie's life in Uganda is clearly written from a place of humility and obedience to Jesus. It is a story of selfless love and sacrifice and gives glory to God alone. My first reaction was, "Okay Lord, how can I turn away? How can I ignore that there are children who are hurting and in need of Your love? You have blessed me with so much Lord, what do you want me to do?" And I still feel that way with lots of unnecessary fear mixed in.
However, what I was also really challenged by was to take God's word more seriously. To study it. To live it and breathe it. It says in James 1:22, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." Even if God is only calling me right now to love my family and love my neighbors, He can help me to do it faithfully and in a way that gives Him glory. And then quickly repent when I fail, which I will!
I have to share this passage from the book:
In our fear, even many of us who claimed to believe in Christ were failing to do what He said for the least of His people.
Fear. It's part of human nature, but it's not something we got from God. Second Timothy 1:7 says: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." When I imagine God creating each one of us and planting a purpose deep in our hearts, I never imagine that purpose being mediocrity. While the Bible doesn't tell every person on earth specifically what his or her life's calling will be, it does include a lot of general direction.
"You are to find me in the least of these." Yes.
"You are to leave your earthly possessions and come follow me." Yes.
"You are to love and serve the Lord God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself." Yes.
"You are to go and make disciples of all nations." Yes.
"You are to show mercy." Yes.
"You are to live a live of mediocrity and abundance, holding on tight to your comfortable lifestyle, lest you lose it." No.
I certainly don't believe everyone should sell all of their belongings and pack a suitcase and move to Africa. I don't think people all over the planet should drop everything to go somewhere far from everything familiar and be missionaries. In fact, I believe anyone can be a missionary right where they are.
Every day, we have a choice. We can stay nestled in our safe comfortable places, as I did when the rat was in my room. We can let fear of something that really is small compared to the greatness of God cripple us. Or we can take a risk, do something to help someone else, make a person smile, change someone's world. Life to the fullest exists. It's available. All we have to do is decide to get up and embrace it. ~ Katie Davis"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 2 Corinthians 5:14-15