Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Willingness (02/21/05)
TITLE: Willingness To Be Sent Where We Don’t Want To Go
By Doug Laird
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Although most of us will not be martyred for the faith, we are all called to die daily in the sense that we are to die to the influence of the sin nature and die to self in order to serve God and others.
In the spiritual realm, being old is not a reference to time or a stage in life. It is a reference to having reached a level of spiritual maturity. It is when we have been adequately trained and are willing to engage in the life of a disciple and go where we do not want to go.
Before we can go, we must be willing to be trained. This training is available to every believer. It starts at the moment of salvation with the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit. It involves the development and application of divine viewpoint (1Cor.2: 16), the denial of self (Luke 14:26), the rejection and application of human viewpoint (Rom. 8: 7) and resisting the desires generated by the sin nature. Just like salvation, this training period is not forced upon anyone. The individual must enter and remain in it as a matter of exercising his/her own free will.
There is ONLY one way to develop and to apply divine viewpoint (1Cor.2: 16). This development requires the intake of Bible doctrine on a regular basis under the ministry of a qualified pastor-teacher. Both the pastor-teacher and the â€śtraineeâ€ť must be spirit-filled as nothing in the spiritual realm is accomplished without God (John 15: 5). Once the trainee has the basic knowledge (Heb.5: 12), he then must be willing to apply it in the daily events and functions of the life that God engineers.
Training in the spiritual realm is a process that is never finished, but each stage of our spiritual life requires a certain degree of knowledge. The knowledge then must be applied. God does not permit one to advance to the next level in the spiritual life until he applies what he has already received.
Needless to say, Satan will be there every step of the way to discourage and or distract us from advancing in the spiritual life. The more we advance, the greater threat to Satanâ€™ kingdom we become and the more â€śattentionâ€ť we should expect to receive. The key to ultimate success or defeat is the willingness to see things through to completion (Acts 20:24).
As we spiritually mature, our personal agenda and self-interests are eliminated and replaced with the plan and interests of God. This, too, is a matter of our will to do so and is not forced upon anyone. Discipleship starts with a decision to live for God. Then we must continue to reinforce that commitment through the decisions we make in the events of our daily lives. This process is not usually so much a matter of giving up things or activities, but the willingness to do so if it becomes necessary in the interests of promoting the life that God has called us to.
Once we have been properly trained and prepared, we are now sent to where we donâ€™t want to go. Our human nature does not want to have adversity, rejection, persecution, challenges, humility, setbacks, pain and suffering. We do not want to be misunderstood or have our weaknesses exposed. Yet all of these are going to be experienced if we are willing to be sent where we donâ€™t want to go.
Even in the spiritual realm, we prefer to live in the ecstasy of the mountaintop experiences rather than be sent down into the valleys of every day life where spiritual combat (Eph. 6:12) awaits. I have never met an honest Christian yet who cannot relate to the wording of the psalmist (Psalms 55: 6) in the midst of great adversity.
In the life of a disciple, the tests of his willingness to be sent where he doesnâ€™t want to go never ends and will only intensify and be experienced more frequently as he chooses to live for the glory of God.
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