It has been over two months since Christian and I left the ministry we were working with to embark on a new ministry God put on both of our hearts. In the past two months, God has blessed our decision to leave in countless ways and although it hasn’t been easy, He has been using us to love His people and bring honor to His Kingdom.
But when your work brings “honor to His Kingdom,” you are bound to face trials. The devil doesn’t want you to succeed, and although he is nowhere near as powerful as God, he knows hows how to make you feel insecure and how to drag you down. Many many times since I have been here, I have believed the lies he has fed me. But, in the past week as I began searching harder for the truth in my life (… and when I made an effort to REST in Him…), God has been showing and teaching me two very important lessons.
Lesson #1: The importance of LOVE. Sounds simple, right? We all know the verse, “If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3) BUT what does that really mean in our life??
I have heard this verse so many times, but I never really got it until last week. In the past couple months I have met many people who do their work with LOVE, and it is infectious. They emit joy and you feel better just being around them. Their lives point to Christ even without them saying anything. On the other hand, I have also met a handful of people who have forgotten love and are just going through the motions. They get frustrated with the little things and forget why they are doing what they are doing.
So what does this all mean? It means that I could feed all the people at the dump every day, but if I do not do it with love, I am doing nothing. However, if I go to the nursing home and sit and talk to the elderly and they feel loved, this is EVERYTHING. It means that it doesn’t necessarily matter what I am doing, but HOW I am doing it. It means that you show Christ the best when you decide to actively love the people around you. With this attitude, I don’t feel the pressure of, “Am I doing enough? Am I making a difference?” But instead, I trust that God will use the love I am giving to touch the people I meet and lead them to Him.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou
This lesson applies to everyone, not just people on the mission field. We as followers of Christ need to shine the love God has given us, so that people will come to understand who Christ is by our love.
Lesson #2: God WILL use you. My daily prayer is that God will use me to reach His people and further His Kingdom. And yet, I cannot tell you how many times since May I have questioned if I am doing anything that holds significance, if I am doing anything that will further God’s Kingdom. I have spent my days questioning and looking down on myself, while saying this prayer daily.
Last week it hit me how silly I am being. I trust God with my life and with my future, but my thoughts and feelings show I am not believing He is answering my daily prayer. And as a result, I find myself becoming negative and being really hard on myself, which affects how I do ministry and how I treat the people around me.
But an amazing thing happened when I started to believe that God was answering my prayer. I began to walk in confidence, I began to go to each ministry with a heart full of Christ’s love to give, and I began to be a lot less hard on myself, trusting that God was indeed using me.
Friends, if you are open to God using you, HE WILL. Don’t believe the lies that you aren’t doing anything. Just remember to, first, take time to spend with Him so that you can be filled up with His love. Then, go out with his love, walking in confidence, and trusting that He is going to work through you.
Let’s go be His hands and feet!
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
Father, teach us to love as You have loved us.