Three Taverns Church

The Only Thing Stopping Me Is Me

2 Comments

There are so many Christian brothers and sisters in my life who are examples of the kind of person I want to be. Some of them, like Francis Chan, don’t even know who I am but I treasure their living sacrifices nonetheless. Some of these people are shining examples of fiscal faithfulness and missionary courage. Others live a more common, but no less inspiring, courage to live day-to-day in the face of addiction, divorce, and financial stress.

I was talking to my wife in the kitchen about these people, particularly Pastor Chan, and for some reason I blurted out, “The only thing stopping me from being like Francis Chan is me.” I could be like him, if I let myself be. Isn’t this the struggle we all face? We could all be more like Jesus if we would let ourselves be. But we don’t!

This is so important you guys! There is nothing stopping us from imitating Jesus but our own fears and reservations. Fears over our well-being. Fears about whether we’ll be taken care of in our old age. Fears about what our mothers and fathers will think of us and say to us. The more I think about this as I write, the more Scripture verses pop into my head! Jesus knew we would struggle with seeking the kingdom first…which is why He laid a trail of breadcrumbs through Scripture to help us find the answers to our fears.

Worried about whether you will be OK if you give your money away? Think about this: “Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things (clothes, food, etc.) will be given to you as well.”

Worried about whether you will be taken care of in your old age? Maybe your goal shouldn’t be to live so long that you outlive your resources. Maybe we should all follow the example of Jesus and the Apostles instead…

Worried about what your mother and father will say? Try this on for size: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

I know this is all easier said than done. But isn’t that why God sent us His Holy Spirit? To give us the strength to do what we cannot do on our own?

Father, help us to understand this calling clearly, and to clearly hear Your voice and to understand and do Your will in our lives. Help us to get out of our own way to be more like your Son, Jesus. Thank you, Father, for putting people in my life like Francis Chan, my wife, my mother-in-law, and my friend Chris to serve as examples of the kind of person you want me to be. Thank you for giving us the strength and courage to spread Your Word in love. Amen.

2 thoughts on “The Only Thing Stopping Me Is Me

  1. This is so true. It also begs the question I have to ask myself: “How badly do I want to live like Jesus? What am I willing to do without?” Unfortunately, there are many days where my flesh prevails, and I choose to indulge my own selfish desires instead of more noble (and humble) pursuits. And like a dog returning to its vomit, every time I choose myself over others, I am always less than satisfied. And I scold myself and ask God for the strength to resist those temptations and the discernment to better see the opportunities he places before me. And then the cycle starts over. Occasionally, I’ll break free, and those are the times that God really speaks to my spirit and makes longer-lasting change.

    I just finished reading an article by John Blake regarding the sometimes tumultuous relationship between the Reverends Charles and Andy Stanley. For those unfamiliar, Andy stood to succeed his father in his enormous ministry, but instead felt God’s calling to cut his own path. He left behind a well-paying job, comprehensive benefits, nearly limitless resources, and a built-in following to start North Point Church in Atlanta. Andy said that, while wrestling with the decision, he came across a book by Gene Edwards titled “A Tale of Three Kings”. It details the similar relationship of Kings Saul and David. In it were these words:

    “Beginning empty-handed and alone frightens the best of men. It also speaks volumes of just how sure they are that God is with them.”

    I gotta say that, when I read that quote, I thought of you, RM. I thought of you and your family “moving out” on faith, headed for a land where you aren’t sure what to expect (sounds more than a little like Abraham!). But you feel God calling you in that direction, and you know that He is with you. You don’t know HOW God will provide for you, but you know that He WILL provide for you. Obedience is refreshingly simple in the presence of such faith.

    • Dude, this is unreal. Lane and I were watching Andy Stanley today (as we often do on Sunday mornings) and were blown away by the last 5 or so minutes of his message. Try and catch in online if you can…what he says as he wraps up his sermon, just before he prays, spoke to Lane and I in an eerie and completely unbelievable way. Geez, I got goose bumps right now…

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