Over the past four days, we have spent more time with God, and hopefully grown just a little closer to Him as a result. We have been challenged to face any unforgiveness issues that we were hiding in our hearts. We have been challenged to consider our attitudes and whether or not our minds were a reflection of Christ. And yesterday, God’s love was shared and spread throughout the US as we each put aside our fears and hesitations, and sought out opportunities to spread the gospel in some way, either through our words or our actions.
My prayer, and challenge, for you today, is that you are ready to take an extravagant leap of faith. If you have taken this challenge seriously so far, then your heart should be more prepared to take a leap of faith than it may have been before!
Let me give you a little bit of background on me, so you will understand why I believe with all my heart that taking a leap of faith and embracing whatever God has called us to do is so important, if we want to see God begin doing miracles in our lives.
It all started during a womens seminar at my church nine years ago, where I can honestly say that I heard Gods audible voice, or so it seemed to me.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God had impressed upon my heart that He desired that I share my story, shed my hypocrisy, and become transparent for His glory, but at the time I was not quite sure what that meant. My fear of obedience became overwhelming, because I was completely unaware of what “obedience” meant. I was acutely confused at how God could use me.
In addition, I was scared of drastic change, or any change for that matter. I was fearful of leaving my comfort zone. I was terrified of what other people might say or think about me if I shared my testimony. I was not willing to make the necessary sacrifices to follow Gods plan. I was gripped with fear, and paralyzed by the unknown future that would follow.
So I said no to God that day. Sadly, as a result, I walked in complete disobedience to Gods will for my life for five years. Instead of giving in to Him, I gave into my fears, and stayed firmly put in my uncomfortable comfort zone.
However, the entire time that I was treading down my own pitiful path, the more God worked on my heart. In fact, the farther I walked away from His call, the more I became convinced that He was stalking me with a bible verse! It seemed to be in my face every time I turned around, so much so, that it actually got a little spooky.
Seriously, this verse just kept popping up everywhere I went for months, even years! I would see it on TV; in my bible studies; in sermons; my friends would mention it in conversation; it would be on a piece of mail I received; I would overhear a stranger talking about it; it would be scripted on a card from from a church member; it would be on an interstate billboard; my bible could fall off the table and the pages would miraculously flip open to the chapter containing that verse!
To think that God was divinely intervening in my life with something as simple as a repetitive bible verse, seriously grabbed my attention.
This verse I am speaking of is Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not harm, plans for a hope and a future.”
Thank goodness that our God is such a patient God. Thank goodness that He does not give up on us, even when we give up on ourselves. He continued to work in my heart over those years, and my confidence in Christ gradually grew, as I watched God continue to stalk, I mean call, me with Jeremiah 29:11.
After all those years of trying to ignore the plans that I knew I had heard, and falsely believing that my life was going along just dandy the way it was, I finally, but hesitantly, surrendered. I asked God to forgive me for my blatant refusal to trust Him, and I surrendered my fears, my life, and my future to Him.
It was not easy, and I still had concerns, but I realized that all those years, He had been reassuring me that He did have a plan! I finally came to a point where I wanted to see what His plan was!
Months later, after God had orchestrated various events that led me to resign from my job and begin working towards becoming a speaker, to my surprise, a church actually booked me to come speak. Why? I have no idea. But they did.
The day finally came, and I began driving toward this very first speaking engagement – practically in tears, feeling sick to my stomach.
What was I thinking?! What in the world made me think I could stand up in front a big room of people, Christians in fact, who were all staring at me in anticipation of hearing my feeble attempt to share some wonderful gospel truth? I was a nervous wreck, so full of insecurities that I could barely breathe.
I began to question Gods call on my life, and also questioned my sanity for taking this crazy step out of my comfort zone. I spent a lot of time beating myself up with all the justifications for why I must have lost my mind somewhere along the path of decision making that I had been traveling.
But the event was now, and I had no choice but to push past my fears. I arrived to the church, and sat in my car for a few minutes, staring out at the rain pouring down and beating loudly on my windshield. Why did it have to rain today? It just seemed like one more thing to make me stumble.
I breathed deeply, and tightly closed my eyes, wondering if maybe no one had seen me yet and I could make a clean getaway.
I knew I could not really do that, so what did I do? I prayed. Hard. Earnestly. With passion. Through tears. With a desperate plea for God to show up in my place.
I talked honestly with God. I told Him that I was not capable, but that I trusted Him to give me the right words. I told God that I was afraid, but that I trusted Him to calm my fears. I told God that I was not worthy to be His voice, but I trusted Him to speak through me. I told God that my legs were weak, but that I trusted Him to be my strength.
Then I said amen, and mustered up enough courage to walk towards the entrance. Then something amazing happened – God took over. I was merely the vessel – He was the deliverer.
Since that experience years ago, I have spoken at many, many events at many, many churches and organizations – but you know what? Those same insecurities always creep back into my heart. And I have made it a practice to say that same simple prayer before each event – simply asking for God to show up and take over – and God never ceases to come through, time and time again.
I tell you all this not to toot my horn, because if you think about it, the timeliness of our response to God is a true measure of our faith. My timeliness was not impressive at all. But I hope that encourages you, and helps you undersand that we all have fears and insecurities and lack of understanding. But it is okay. God can do miracles if we give Him something to work with.
It is never too late to say yes to God. And when we finally do, the rewards will far outweigh the costs. The blessings will far outweigh the sacrifices. And a new life in the center of His will, far exceeds any life we could create for ourselves.
What about you? Has God called you to do something that you feel is completely out of your reach? Out of your comfort zone? Outside of your qualifications?
Has God called you to go in an entirely new direction in your life, but so far you have been paralyzed due to fears and insecurities?
Has God called you to minister to others in a way that you feel incapable of doing?
Are you afraid to move forward with a dream that God has planted in your heart, because you do not feel worthy to be His servant due to sins in your past or present?
Are you hesitating in your obedience, due to excuses that seem valid, such as a lack of tools, resources, time, money, etc?
Are you willing to do something extravagant for God?
Is God calling you to leave your comfort zone and enter the faith zone?
No excuse is good enough for disobedience. I learned that the hard way. The strength of our powerful and almighty God is awesome enough to lead us into extravagant obedience. And just as a special perk for obeying – you will be extravagantly blessed.
Challenge #5: Take an extravagant LEAP OF FAITH – embrace the call that God has impressed upon your heart. Listen to the right voice, and forget the excuses.
John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and then appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.Galatians 1:15 God, in His grace, chose me even before I was born, and called me to serve Him.
Prayer for today: Oh God, I am humbled by your unfathomable grace upon my life, and your infinite mercy upon me. I can never express the amount of gratitude I have in my heart, not just for what You did by sending your Son to die for me the cross, but for coming into my life and for not giving up on me.
Please pour your strength into my soul, and your courage into my inner most being so that I will step out in faith for YOU – with no excuses. Forgive me for my untimely responses to your call. I praise you for continuing to love me and bless me, despite my hesitations, fears and disbelief that You truly are in control of all things and have an amazing plan for my life.
Thank you for preparing that plan for my life, and for leading down the path that leads me closest to you. Continue to walk beside me Lord, and show me your plan. Lead me Lord. I am willing to do something extravagant for you, because I love you.
In Jesus name, Amen.