Who is in Charge of Your Life?
The best time to look for a new job is when you don’t really need it. Having secure employment or financial freedom while looking for a new career challenge changes the entire employment search dynamic. You really don’t need a new position. You are just looking to upgrade in some way. This allows there to be no rush and little pressure. You are able to be picky and determine what position is best for you. You can negotiate without fear since you are in control. The power is your hands.
This is a good thing for you as an employee as you can find work that suits you. It is a terrible way to approach God as a disciple, on the other hand…but it is all too common.
How many Christians determine their callings as disciples based on what suits them rather than what God wants of them? How many Christians are stuck trying to improve their lives rather than doing what God needs?
Christians can follow Jesus much like the person who already has a good position who is job searching. There is no pressure or urgency in their walk as they feel they have a great position to fall back on already. They approach God with the assumption that the big things they previously chose in life will stay the same. If they have an existing career, talents, and family plan, they don’t really think about changing them. If they are an engineer living in a certain area who like to cook and is good at organization, this is like their resume. They present these preferences to God then carefully consider jobs He may offer that suit their decisions. They treat the needs of their church or community like someone scanning the classifieds – “That won’t work for me, this may, I am not interested at all in that”. They weigh whether fitting in some things for God would benefit them more than their existing life plan. There is no need to accept roles that do not work for them since they are already secure in their current position.
This may be a good approach for job searching but it is a terrible one for determining how and where you are meant to serve God. It is not how you are meant to interact with God as Lord and Master. Jesus is the King of Kings. He has the right to command you in every way. He is also perfectly loving so that when He does so, it is filled with His wondrous blessings.
Defending your own life choices does nothing to actually head off the challenges of tomorrow. It only serves to limit His blessings on your life. It also greatly hinders your growth as a disciple of Jesus.
Remember Jesus’ call to you as His follower?
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
It is just as true today as it was when Jesus said it…or when Moses lived it out.
A Servant Learning to Serve
Moses was a prince of Egypt when he decided on his calling for his life. (Do you notice who is making all the decisions in that sentence?) He was raised in the palace of the Pharoah. He was accustomed to the power and prestige of the royal household. Orders were given from the rulers to the people. If they were not followed then punishment took place. Absolute power was in the hands of men. It took only the will of the Pharoah for that might to be expressed. This is the atmosphere Moses understood. When Moses began to feel sympathy for his people, the Israelites, he approached it from this perspective. Moses demonstrated his preference for action and power clearly when he killed an Egyptian he found abusing Israelites. He would be the protector of Israel. His will was that they would be freed from abuse. He immediately acted on it with terrible results. This was a job he could do and understand. It was right in his wheelhouse.
The problem was God never asked him to kill the Egyptian. God never asked Moses to physically battle for Israel. Moses was way outside of God’s call on his life and he had no idea. He was used to his life of power. He never stopped to question whether God wanted something different from him.
This is not where you want to be. It leaves you totally reliant on your power and your ability to face the huge challenges of life. That is a terrible thing if you think about it.
Here I am Lord, Send Me!
Isaiah’s example in Isaiah 6 is the clear contrast to Moses’. Isaiah has an interaction with real power and glory that totally changes his life. He sees God seated on the Throne in all of His holiness. This results in Isaiah realizing how totally bankrupt he was in reality.
“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.”
Isaiah is not a bad guy. He is a righteous man by man’s standards. Yet, when he encounters God, Isaiah’s own inadequacy could not be more clear. His life is undone! His choices are undone. His plans are undone. His wisdom is worthless compared to the majesty of God. He is a lot like Paul after meeting Christ. Everything before Jesus is counted as loss – the word used by Paul to express this is “dung”. All that matters is seeing God’s glory from that point on. Everything else might as well be dung.
What happens next with Isaiah is your pattern as a Christian. God cleanses Isaiah and then asks a simple question:
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
No details are given by God. The mission ahead is unclear. Isaiah has no idea whether he will like the job or not. Isaiah doesn’t know whether he feels qualified. He does not even make a list of pros and cons of the position. There is no careful consideration of the job offered. Isaiah simply responds immediately:
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.
Isaiah has witnessed the power and majesty of God on His throne. He understands the glory and might of Yahweh. Therefore, whatever God asks him to do, he will do. If God is asking, if God wants it done, He will provide the power to do it. Isaiah just needs to be willing to go along for the ride.
Moses acted on his own and paid the price. Moses doesn’t understand he is a man of unclean lips from a people with unclean lips. He, therefore, relies on his ability to try to carry out what he thinks God wants. 40 years in the desert as a shepherd is his reward for this self-reliance. Years in dryness and obscurity are necessary to learn the most important lesson – it is not about the servant. He previously acted on his own preferences and plans. God needed to teach Moses it was not about Moses…it was about God.
Moses’ response to God after his time in the desert is strikingly different than his first attempt at service:
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
Moses understands the impossibility of the task on his own. He learned the lesson in humility intended through his years as a shepherd. On his merit, Moses can do no good thing. This is where God steps in and reminds Moses of what is most important – it is God asking:
And God said, “I will be with you.”
It is not the mission that is important. It is not your qualifications. It is not your preferences or talents.
It is whether it is God sending you on the mission. If it is the King of Kings, He will give you everything you want and need to get the job done. The great thing is no matter what it is, if it is God, you will love it more than anything you have done before that point.
Are you trying to figure out what your life in Christ should look like?
Are you experiencing a time of intense dryness and loss in your Christian life?
You may want to examine how you are approaching God.
Are you filtering God’s call on you through your own plans, preferences, and methods? Are you treating God like a prospective employer you don’t really need?
Or have you offered yourself fully and without conditions?
Here I am Lord, send me!
Only one of these choices leads to glorious life in Jesus. It is all about Jesus.
What do you need to let go of today?