So many times I find myself longing for the day when I’ll be totally free to focus all of my life on Jesus. I want to live for Him, to seek His Kingdom, to champion His name, to love others and to serve freely. I want to build relationships with the lost, make disciples and live with a wholehearted focus on the glory of God.
If only I didn’t have so many problems.
I don’t know about you, but my greatest enemy in living this kind of life is myself. I don’t pray as often as I should. I get worried about money, housing and when we’re going to need to replace the van. Church and family keep me pretty busy and I usually don’t have a lot of energy left by the end of the day. My heart can be such a traitor and my flesh can be so weak.
In other words, all I need is a perfect life before I start to serve Jesus and live the way I really want to.
Which explains why it’s so easy for every one of us to miss the joy of partnering with God to bring redemption and restoration to our world. News flash: we will never have a perfect life this side of heaven. In fact, Jesus promises the opposite, “In this world you will have trouble.” (Jn.16:33) The journey of life takes us through many trials, much suffering and frequent difficulty.
Here’s what I’m learning. The difficulties of life are meant to be a catalyst to serve, not an excuse to avoid serving. Our problems remind us that the world is broken and we await the perfection of heaven.(Romans 8:23) Jesus uses our weaknesses to display His strength.(2 Cor. 12:9) We think we need to take care of ourselves first and then focus on the Kingdom of God. Jesus tells us to seek the Kingdom first and trust Him to take care of us.(Matthew 6:33)
The gospel reminds us that God has never needed our strength. Jesus died for us when we were spiritually dead enemies of God. (Romans 5:8) We didn’t need to clean ourselves up to be loved by Him. He loved us first and that truth transforms us.(1 John 4:19) We are saved by grace and we serve by grace.
The smartest thing you and I can do today is leverage all of our lives for the glory of Christ. Take a step towards obedience in the chaos, mess and uncertainty of today. Don’t wait for perfection. Trust Jesus to use the mess.