Stirring Up Your Gifts
Every day I wake up pretty early, drink my really scorching cup of dark roast coffee and open up the Word of God as I allow the Lord to speak into my life with love, hope, and conviction before I go to school.
Like I said, I have been wrestling with how He wants to use me and I have no earthly idea. I am in college, with no degree yet. I work in a restaurant making salads with a crew of foolish people whom I love and I hang out with a bunch of younger high school students at Church every Wednesday. Again, who wants to look at my life and deicide to listen and follow me because I have been successful?
No one. I have no success right now.
My entire life I have grown up with the desire to being used. Before three years ago, those motives weren’t pure nor were they Kingdom motives but they were still there. It seems like I have always wanted to effect the lives of others in some way imaginable.
If this is you, then we can relate and if not, you don’t have to continue reading.
I have been reading through 2nd Timothy lately which is the last epistle Paul wrote in Rome before he was executed and as He writes to Timothy on how to be audacious in being used, The Lord has spoken to me as well through his Word and my experience on this earth so far.
I want to share a few ways the Lord has been using me in places I have no influence and how I think they can work for you as well if you decide to try. These ways may not be something you agree with and like I said, I am 19 and have zero success so you have every right not to approve. All I am saying is they have helped me tremendously and God has been extremely faithful through them all.
For the longest time I sat around anticipating God to use me in the season I am in. I have started over in college where I don’t have much influence and all of my friends are nearly two hours away back home or at another University. I caught myself awaiting for doors to open for me to create this influence and to be used and they never did. I had to open them myself and so do you. Too often I sit around waiting for the doors to open up to me when I need to understand the door is mine to open. If I want to encourage someone, I can right then. If I want to be generous to someone, I can right then. If I want to do something crazy for the Lord, I CAN RIGHT THEN! Do not sit around and wait on God when God is actually sitting around waiting on YOU. You have the key in your hand right now as you read to walk through the door to being used and the only person who can open it is you.
Use What You Have Now
That brings me to my next way to be used. There are two types of opportunities we honestly are given. Our free will and Gods sovereignty. Like I said, there are opportunities right in front of you and I that comes down to us just saying yes or no. Then there are opportunities in which we have no control over and that is just Gods sovereignty over your life. But what people mistake is that they are just supposed to wait for the plan of God to open up. Wrong!
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells his people a parable of three servants who are given talents (Gold, silver or copper) according to their abilities to trade. The Lord ordered them to deliver them so they could receive more and two of the servants obeyed while one of the servants took his talent and saved it because he was afraid. This story shows how responsibility is a huge thing to the Lord when it comes to gifts and being used. Look at the Lord’s response, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Unsympathetic right? God does not want you to wait for your life dream to open up right in front of your eyes like you imagine it. It doesn’t happen like that for all who expect it too. Gods sovereignty over your life dreams and desires open up when you take care of the small doors you have right before your eyes. What are you doing well with what you have now that is letting God know you are ready for more? When it comes to being used, there is no such thing as “let go and let God” but only “work and make room for God”.
God needs 100% of you, NOT 50%.
So many people desire to be used but don’t realize what that truly means, and for the longest time neither did I. Paul was used in a huge way, and for him we have a huge part of the Word of God! But looking at Paul’s life, do you only notice him giving his heart out to the entire world? No, you notice he gave his reputation to be used. He gave his toil to be used. He gave his body and character along with his unqualified life just to be used by God. You hear all the time around Church people say they are just “trying to be more like Christ.” Being more like Jesus is not just loving, caring, being patient, being gentle like Him. As much of that is all great and splendid, Jesus was exterminated. He was crushed. He suffered more pain than anyone known to man and let’s not forget he wasn’t used in a huge impactful way until he was 30 years old. So do you really want to be more like Christ? Christ took care of the small opportunities by his free will that no one ever heard about that set him up for an opportunity by His Fathers sovereignty that the whole world would follow. THE ROAD IS NARROW. Don’t you see how? Not too many people make the decisions like Jesus, Paul, Peter and a bunch of others did. Jesus Christ gave 100% and He is waiting on the both of us to do the same.
You Can’t Be Afraid
Reading through the letter of Timothy, it was obvious that Paul was speaking to a brother in Timothy he believed in so very much that was timid when it came to being used. Paul writes to his brother in Christ telling him that The Spirit God gave us does not make us timid but gives us power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1). Being used is terrifying in some ways and most of the time when the spirit of God is beating on my chest to do something, it is very easy to cop out and say no because of fear. Fear is everywhere. The culture we live in right now has embedded that into our minds that we need to fear anything that is different for average living. Fear isn’t from God though and I just want to encourage you that whenever you fear in being used or life in general, it is not from Jesus Himself. I know a solution to beating fear: Close your eyes and go.
READ How to be Used
The BIBLE!! That’s why people are willing to listen to certain people. You want to be used every day of your life and create influence to give Glory to the Lord? Then carry your bible around. And I’m not talking about with your hand, I’m talking about with your life! The word of God is powerful and alive and what else does God want to do with you than to allow you to be and open word to the people in need by the way you live your life?
Be Consistent With the Spirit
I have heard over and over that consistency over time is who you become. I think the Lord really wants me to understand that based on how many times I have heard it. Through trying to be consistent with everything I have, I also realized that consistency creates capacity. The last thing God wants is someone with a whole lot of responsibility and no consistency. Lately, I have had to take a priority off my plate simply because I wasn’t consistent with it and it made my capacity shrink. As I stay consistent with all that I have now, a day will come when I will be able to handle more. Walking with the Spirit everyday seems like the only way for me to be consistent with what I have. It is impossible for you to be faithful to your gifts if you are not walking by the Spirit of God who has given them.
Don’t Take a Back Seat to Anyone
Being a very competitive guy, this is how my mind works. I’m not talking about being selfish, prideful, nor taking no for an answer. I’m saying when I visualize Jesus doing whatever it takes to save my soul, I see a 33-year-old man not taking a back seat to anyone for the sake of His children. When I read about Paul doing whatever it takes to live for Jesus, I see someone not taking a back seat to anyone for the sake of the Gospel. When I read about Peter in Acts giving a sermon to everyone against him, I see a man not taking a back seat to anyone. In your words, not taking a back seat to anyone may be standing firm in faith. It may mean being courageous. As an athlete who loves sports, this is what I was taught and this is how I will continue to live. In 2 Timothy 1 Paul says “You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me…” Wow! Everyone in Asia was against him and he continued to fight. You want to be used in ways bigger than you have imagined? Fight a good fight. Be a ready warrior for anything to come your way.
I wake up every day and look at this picture. This was drawn out for me by a mentor of mine that I highly respect and look up too and it has impacted my life if not the rest of it here to come. The circle at the end determines what your life is going to demand in the end of your days. You think of how big you want it. What difference do you want to make? What impact do you want to have on others? How much do you want to be used? How well do you want to be used? What will people demand an explanation for from looking at your family one day? Find out and draw your circle. You decide how big you want it. The dot on the other side determines where you are now. For me I am probably about a fourth of the way done with my life if I hope to make it to 80. (Random number, WHO KNOWS) What you decide to do from that dot to the circle determines how big that circle will actually be for you. Want to be used? Stir up those gifts and get to work!