Just Lean in and Go

Image may contain: drawingLast night I sang at a sparsely attended revival at Eagle Ranch, on the West Fork of Calhoun County. Don’t be too sad about the attendance level, because God set it up that way. I believe that with all my heart. As Preacher Sebby Volpe said, God may have even kept some away. I believe that too. So you may ask, “Why would God keep people away from a revival?” Perhaps they couldn’t handle the truth Sebby delivered, or they may not have been ready, or just maybe, like in the days of Gideon, God just needed a few. I don’t know, or need to know His reasoning. I only know that I was supposed to be there, and not because I was ask to sing.

Every day is an uphill spiritual battle for me. And lately the hills have been getting steeper and steeper and I question God’s plan more and more. Even this morning as I lay in bed with a desire in my heart to get up and begin writing, I couldn’t get one foot in front of the other to climb out from beneath the covers, not to mention make my way to the computer. And so I laid there in the darkness with the same empty feeling I had before the revival last night. When I finally got out of bed at 7ish I avoided the word of God like a skunk sprayed hound. My friend Gloria will catch that reference from last night’s revival. I even ask myself “why?” God had poured His goodness down on me last night so much so, that when I left that revival I felt like every joint in my body had been lubricated with anointing oil. It was amazing. But this morning the anointing oil had leaked out and it was just Shari in the flesh. Frustrated and down hearted again.

But after a few cups of coffee I finally made my way to the word of God and I ask Him this question:

“What does it mean to be sold out for You?”

His answer didn’t surprise me. Because I had heard it last night in the message from Sebby.

“Don’t be ignorant.”

Now Sebby didn’t say those words. Although I know him, and he would have if God had laid it on his heart to do so. Sebby’s message was more along the lines of the latter part of the verse those words came from.

Romans 1:13-17

13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

THE MISSION NEVER CHANGES

What I’ve discovered is, the Mission never changes, but the direction of the mission can turn on a dime if God so chooses. Paul is telling his friends in Rome that he’d have been there with them, if God hadn’t changed the direction. Paul’s mission was to win souls for the Kingdom of God. And that’s our mission as well. But Paul was tuned into God so closely that when God changed the direction, he didn’t question it, he simply leaned the other way.

THE MASTER NEVER CHANGES

14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

Indebted to the God of all. And If I (or you) serve the Master, we too are indebted to the Lord to serve both the wise and the unwise, the rich and the poor and all those in between. Those I love and those I have to work to love. The mission doesn’t change. Just lean into it and go. However…

THE METHOD MAY CHANGE

15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

From the faithfulness of God, to the faithfulness of man it is God who reveals the methods of delivery, we just need to be ready to lean in the direction God points us in.

When Paul started on his journey with Christ, I highly doubt any of it was comfortable for him. He’d not delivered the message of God in that manner ever before. But God changed his direction 180 degrees and Paul rode it out until the end. And we’re still talking about that ride today. What we view as old school was all new back then. And while God doesn’t change the mission or the message, His methods have certainly changed over time. And almost always with resistance. Change is easier for some than others. For me it’s always came easy. I embrace it! But it still doesn’t stop the fear…

Paul could lean in and go without hesitation because his focus wasn’t on the direction he was going but rather focused on the Lord Who was pointing him in the direction he was to go.

So what did i determine being sold out mean?

Just Lean into it and go…

The Liberating Life of Salvation

No automatic alt text available.Not knowing the exact date of my salvation, I, for the longest time, claimed Independence Day as my Salvation date. Perhaps that sounds strange to you that I didn’t know the exact date that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior; but for that insight you’d have to understand a little of my background with religion. To sum it up, I knew church (religion) I didn’t know Jesus. So when I started the journey to the realization that I needed saved I had to get past the fact that I was indeed lost. Religion teaches salvation is what I do, not what I couldn’t do. So I was, therefore, bound to the lie that I had to do something. And even when I realized that I needed saved and made that confession of faith in my heart, I didn’t tell the world for the longest time because they assumed I had been saved. And so I lived defeated again for some time by not proclaiming that salvation experience aloud. But I did loose myself from that lie eventually that Satan kept whispering in my ear… “you’re not saved.”

Galatians 5:1 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Loosing the Lies

So often churches today teach that being in church is the relationship with God. That is no truer than a stranger in my house being my child. If I did not give you birth (or adopt you), you are not mine. And if you were not “born again” (John 3:3) you are not a child of God. So at the beginning of my journey, February 18, 1996 I had to get religion out of the way. A notable date (one because it’s my Mama’s birthday) and two because that was the first day I heard the gospel in such a manner that it made me go “hmmmm.” And I continued to go “hmmmm” for several months because I couldn’t un-hear what the world had filled my ears with…

  • You’re fine.
  • You go to church
  • You serve in the church
  • You live right (ish)

The fact was I always lived defeated. There was no peace in my life. A constant fear of knowing just enough about the return of Christ to be dangerous, caused anxiety in the greatest proportion. So the discovery of Christ Jesus turned my anxiety into assurance when I realized the work was done. At least for the salvation end of it. Now was the fun part. Service! That I could do.

Laboring In Love

Galatians 5:13 – For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

We’re not saved to set, we’re saved to serve and I have always had a servant’s heart. Learning the purpose of that heart was liberating. So claiming Independence Day was twofold. I was independent (sanctified) from the world that continually judged my efforts and very dependent upon the God who embraced my efforts. That feeling was like a 4th of July Fire Works display. I “oooooooh” and “aaaaahhhh” every time God allows me to do anything for Him. I stand amazed that He has put me into the positions He has. I’ve never grown out of love, nor have I lost the excitement of salvation. I pray I never do. But I see people let it go all the time. And that amazes me ever more.

Romans 8:21 – Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Laying Hold of the Liberty

After 21 years of laying hold of that liberty apostle Paul speaks of, I have no intention of letting it loose now.

Paul told the Corinthians 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

I receive a clean slate every day (Lamentations 3:22-23) Being saved doesn’t stop me from making mistakes, the old Shari still has to make her presence known quite often. But what it does do is it gives me the freedom not to stay in the feeling of failure that kept me so defeated pre-salvation. God is faithful and just to forgive. Meaning that as His creation, He is the only one who has the authority to clean you up like that.

Natalie Grant summed it up in her song “Clean.” I’ve posted the link below. I pray you’re celebrating your independence day in the freedom of Christ Jesus.