Needed: A pep talk for discouraged Christians
“You’re up!” they say. “Get in there!”
They’re right. You agree. You want to.
Or maybe you see the opportunity and no one else does.
Deep down, you know God is calling you up again to use the talents, gifts, abilities, and experiences He’s given you for the sake of His Kingdom and glory.
Maybe it’s been a while.
Maybe you weren’t asked.
Maybe the task is new and you feel old.
Maybe you’re used to playing the lead, but this is a supporting role.
Maybe things didn’t go as well as you wanted them to last time.
Maybe people criticized, challenged, or competed with you, people who should have helped you out or, at the very least, supported and encouraged you.
Maybe you think you made things worse instead of better.
Whatever the case, I assure you I’ve been there.
Oh, occasionally, it seems the hearts of others might have been lit by the spark God ignited in mine, but most of the time, human response to my efforts falls short of what I hoped for or envisioned, and I’m left feeling like I don’t quite measure up to human standards.
God calls us to a different standard—Jesus Himself—and has promised to complete what He began in us (Phil. 1:6). All we have to do is cooperate, continue to do the things that come supernaturally to those who have the Holy Spirit in their lives as a result of their faith in the Gospel, applying that same faith day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment and trusting the God who gave it to bring the harvest (Rom. 1:5, Eph. 2:8-9, 1 Cor. 3:7).
Compliments. Recognition. Applause. These are nice. They feel good when you get them, but they quickly fade to memory. When you work for them, you only make your imperfect self God’s opponent in a glory contest you cannot possibly win, a wasted effort.
Unconditional surrender. Submissive service. Sincere worship. These may not earn you a pat on the back or a star on the walk, but they are investments in something eternal, God’s Kingdom. When you practice them, you give holy God His due and set your own heart at rest by proving your faith genuine, your salvation real, and your future secure (1 John 2:3-6; 2 Pet. 2:5-11). What could possibly be better?
Listen, friend, you don’t have to be awesome at what God tells you to do—He’s got ‘awesome’ covered! You don’t even have to be chosen by your brothers and sisters. All you have to do is finish the race God has laid out for you like you began it, in faith, and give every obedient effort what He’s worth (Eph. 2:10).
No, you won’t ‘wow’ everyone, but you will please God (Heb. 11:6, John 14:23). Given Who He is and what He’s done, that’s way more than enough.
Now, what are you waiting for? Get in there!