I want to make a difference

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Faith is acting as if something is so, when it is not so, for it to be so, because God says it is so. Manley Beasley

To make a difference, we make things happen that otherwise wouldn’t happen. We take an uncertain future and turn it into a present reality. That takes faith. Sometimes it’s hard to determine exactly what change God desires, but more often the struggle comes when we see the change God wants yet hesitate to join him in making that change. Henry Blackaby calls it the crisis of belief. Gideon faced such a crisis when God commissioned him to deliver Israel from an army of marauders.

When God calls, we have an opportunity to move from fear to faith.

 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:12

When God called Gideon to drive out the Midianites oppressing Israel, he found Gideon hiding from them as he threshed wheat down in a winepress. Gideon protested that he was a weak man from a weak family. He ranked among the most fearful men in the Bible at this low point in his career. But God wasn’t just trying to lift his spirits when he called him mighty warrior, and he wasn’t laughing at him. In God’s eternal now, Gideon was already the victorious general vanquishing the enemy. Gideon only needed to act through faith to make that future reality a present reality.

Just like a muscle, faith grows by exercise. We act faithfully in little things, and then God gives us the opportunity to fulfill greater tasks. With each victory our fears and doubts diminish.

When God calls, you are ready because he equips you.

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” Judges 6:14

God taught Gideon that the call to serve brought with it the power to serve – Holy Spirit power. We err when we refuse God’s call out of a false humility which claims a lack of ability. The ability isn’t ours but belongs to the Holy Spirit.

The Bible admonishes us to study and prepare for our witness to others. The church is designed to build up believers and make them grow to be more Christ-like. There is a spiritual principle of proving oneself trustworthy in small things before big things. However, the most important decision in determining our readiness to serve is deciding whether or not the call to serve comes from God. If it does, then we must respond.

When God calls, we must be faithful privately before we can be useful publicly.

That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.” So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. Judges 6:25-27

Gideon had to eliminate the idolatry in his own household in order to be a useful tool in God’s hand. We must get our own house in order before we can begin to help others. As Jesus said, we must first get the log out of our own eye, that being our own sinful shortcomings, before we can be used by God to address the sins of the world. Character matters greatly to God though the world may downplay it for the sake of expediency.

When we answer God’s call, it changes those around us.

The people of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.” But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” Judges 6:30-31  

Gideon’s father, Joash, did not support God’s plans to begin with. The altar of Baal and the Asherah pole belonged to him. Their presence was proof of Joash’s lack of faith, or at least his ambivalent faith. But his son’s bold action changed Joash, driving him out of his idolatry and opening his eyes to the reality of Jehovah.

Not everyone who steps out in faith will find their friends and families so supportive. Some of them will doubt, some will question, and some will actively oppose steps toward following God. But all of them will be changed in some way. All of them will be affected. And some, like Joash, will begin their own journey of faith.

When we consider what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He does not know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point; He does know. Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only — “My Utmost for His Highest.” I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone. Oswald Chambers

Image by Alex Hansen on Flickr. 

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