My natural default is not, “seek something more difficult” – is yours? I doubt it. We seem to have a natural tendency to slide to the easy side of life. To hope for comfort and tranquility. Don’t get me wrong those are important at the right time and place. God made it clear that we are to, “keep the sabbath holy” Exodus 20:8
But in comfort and ease we do not learn the lessons of life. It is in labor, strife, and pain that our ears and hearts seem to be most open to God’s teaching. That is why I have prayed and offered myself up to God that I would do something “harder” for Him – whatever He desires. Admittedly I did not think the answer would come so soon. However, all indications are that answer has arrived in the form of leading two churches into become one church in two locations.
I did not think there was anything harder than starting a church. I was wrong, leading two young churches is harder. But, here is why I’m so excited about this. 1. It is a clear answer to pray. 2. It is an opportunity to have my faith stretched even more and for God to show up in ways I could never have imagined. I am already seeing this as we begin the process of becoming one church in two locations.
God is raising up workers for the harvest (Matt. 9:37-38) to make this happen. Obviously, I’ve got my hands full with one young church but the good news is it’s not about me. This is an opportunity for more people to get off the sidelines and into to game of ministry. Most people would say, “My life is too busy, I’ve got too much going on.” Me too! But, when you pray and ask God to make your life harder if that will bring him more glory you better be ready for an answer.
We see this problem of ease throughout the Bible. God does something amazing in the life of the Israelites, they worship God, then slowly over time they turn away from God as life gets easier. As trials and tribulations subside they forget about their God. But, as soon as things turn difficult they again turn to God.
We see this in the life of the Church as well. History shows us that the Church grows fastest through persecution, trails and tribulations. The fastest growing churches in the world are in places where it’s illegal to have an independent Jesus centered church. China is booming with underground churches growing by the thousands daily.
We see this in the life of individuals as well. Martin Luther’s life wasn’t made easier by putting all he had into translating the Bible into the “Lingua Franca” or “common language” so you and I can now read it. No, he asked God for more difficulty and more strife if it brought more glory to Him. We need to seek the harder things because in those we grow. Otherwise we slide…we slide away from God, away from ministry, away from faith.
The easier our life gets the farther we slide from God. I’m not talking about all out rebellion like the Israelites often did by turning to other gods and cultic practices. Ours is a more subtle drift that begins like this: Less Bible reading in our devotional life, less prayer, less church attendance, less participation in ministry and serving. But, we add other things as we slide away from God; more to do at our job, more kids sports functions or after school activities that have nothing to do with the Lord, more participation in things that have nothing to do with building or growing your faith. It’s a simple slide away from the Lord and it’s really easy. It’s really subtle. All of the sudden you realize, “I haven’t had my devotions in weeks…I haven’t been to church in weeks…I haven’t….”
Do something harder. Tell God today you are willing to do something harder for Him, something that will bring Him more glory through your life, something that might make a difference in someone’s life.