Saturday, June 27, 2015

things you learn when you're called higher

I love Jesus.

Very much.

And daily, He proves Himself faithful to me. He keeps His promises, builds me stronger, and reminds me that I am loved.

He calls me higher - doesn't let me stay where I am, but presses me to grow.

And I asked Him to allow this season of my life to be hard. As hard as He saw fit.

And He has.

And it hurts, because in some ways, I wasn't ready. I mean, I have all I need for life and godliness...but sometimes it takes hard times to reveal to you an area of life that you need godliness, if you know what I mean. And that can feel a little ouchy and be a little overwhelming at times.

But here's what I've learned about life when Jesus calls me to higher levels of faith and obedience that I have ever been able to walk before:

1. He is there.
Even in the moments when I feel lost, I know without a doubt that He is there. His Spirit is still alive and well inside me, and He is leading me through the fog of my soul. I am afraid of my weakness, but at the same time, confident in His strength.

"And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." {matthew 28}

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." {joshua 1}

"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." {matthew 6}

2. There is a purpose.
Jesus doesn't allow my life to be hard just for the heck of it. There is a purpose. And it's all about walking in His victory and becoming more like Him and being built stronger so I can be used and poured out for the kingdom more effectively. Not so that my life will be easier, but that Jesus will get more glory.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." {jeremiah 29}

"For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." {romans 8}

3. It's worth it.
It's always worth it. Because the harder the trial, the more I need Jesus, and the greater the victory and the more He is seen. And then, on the other side of the hardship, I am more prepared, more equipped for the next mountain, or the next adventure. Not for my sake, but His and those around me.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." {hebrews 12}

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,  for those who are called according to his purpose." {romans 8}

The adventure and journey to higher ground isn't always fun. It often requires asking forgiveness, and receiving grace, but it also means greater joy than I've ever experienced - greater strength, and a greater revelation of how much I need Jesus and how much He delights to pour His life into me.

My instagram description, and one of my favorite thoughts to ponder is, "faith thanks God in the middle of the story" - and that's what He asks of us. To be thankful. After all, that's the will of God for us in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4) To be thankful. To see Him in everything, to have faith in Who He Is, and rejoice in it.

The journey is worth it. Because Jesus Himself is waiting at the end.