I Have Decided | Thoughts from the Garden

I have recently been blessed by the Lord with an amazing group of Christian fellows from Seedbed. I got connected to the Daily Text through another study a few weeks ago called Supernatural by Dr. Carolyn Moore. If you are looking for an interactive daily devotion, I highly recommend the Facebook group. Today’s thoughts of what it looks like to be decided for Christ prompted me to share some of the things God reveals along the way with you beautiful folks here on the blog. I pray you enjoy, are convicted, are blessed, are needled … mostly that you are in some way transformed by something the Spirit reveals of God’s plans and your place in them.

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I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

1. Have you decided to follow Jesus, really? No turning back?

The Lord has been speaking so much in song to me these last few weeks. Particularly Casting Crowns and Big Daddy Weave. But, this is one of my favorites. It has been one of my favorites since I first heard it. No doubt it will be one of my favorites until God calls me home. I know sometimes I have turned back. More often I simply sit down unwilling or unable to go on. Each time, He gently (or sometimes not so gently, whatever my need of the moment is) draws me back on the path. Yes. I have decided, even when the road gets rough.
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What Does It Look Like When We Aren’t Decided

2. What are the effects of “respectable conventional religion” on our churches? What kind of witness and impact does it lead those churches to have on the world?

The Effects of Indecision

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Heartbreaking. In our churches respectable conventional religion leaves our people in a “near God trap.” They have the form of religion without the substance or the power of it. They walk in the world unarmed and unarmored with a target on their back for the devil to continually assault them. They can’t recognize the attacks because we don’t preach the devil. So, they are led into sin, addiction, adultery, apathy, heart-heartedness, idolatry and cannot see it. Because we have told them it is enough to profess Jesus and come to church on Sunday morning at least once a month and be sure to tithe (you can even text it to —– if you can’t come to services Sunday morning!).

And those whom God has called into His kingdom live stunted, painful, fruitless lives of emptiness and shadow rather than the abundant life of grace and God’s presence that they were seeking in answer to His call. Worse, we teach them to quash any who dare to call for more, for change, for repentance because that might upset the apple cart, the careful “funnel” to winsomely reach the “unchurched.”

The Ineffectiveness of Indecisive Witness

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On those outside the church this squishy faith that leads to full bellies and empty hearts. It dims the light of the hope of Christ (mostly because hope is misplaced in the world or in the church) and leaves the nations mired in the darkness of hypocrisy without a beacon to draw them to Christ. Christ is not lifted up. We are too busy focusing on the forms of religion rather than the head of the body.
Those outside shout “hypocrite”, and rightly so. They assume Christ is just one more religion among the many or no religion at all. And there is no discernible difference in His people that one can point to and say, “This is why He is the way, the truth, and the life.” The lives of believers is one of the strongest witnesses to a dying world of the truth of Scripture and the Lordship of Christ. When we settle for conventional religion, we consign the world to the death of earth instead of the promise of the coming kingdom.

What Will It Cost to Be Decided?

3. What would stepping out of the comfort zone mean for you? What might it cost you? What might it cost you to stay in the comfort of convention?

What Does It Mean

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I don’t have to guess at the answer to this question. The Lord has asked it before, and He is asking it again. In recent times I was reluctant because I know what the costs have been. Scripture gives me no reason to believe that they will not be so in the future. Stepping out means the ultimate and infinite joy of walking fully and ever more constantly in the torrent of God’s will and working in the world. It means a scrubbing and chipping and scraping away of everything in me that cannot conform to God’s design. It means tears, laughter, pain, and a love so deep, real, and beautiful it drives me to my knees even as it raises me up to see the wonder of God’s designs.

What Would It Cost to Go

And it costs me everything. It costs me who I am and who I want to be. The price is the people I love. The payment require is the life I have built, the respect I have won, the comfort of my here and now and the hope for my future. In short, it costs me the world and myself. All of it. I don’t get to keep one iota from my Lord. I have to give it all to Him, trusting He knows best what to do with it. Trust that He will return what should be returned, refined and holy. That He will remove the irredeemable, no matter how it may hurt. Know that that too will be for my good and His glory. It means meaning it when I say that I will be obedient and lean not on my own understanding but trust in His higher ways and His plans for me.

What Does It Cost to Stay

But, if I stay in the comfort of convention, it will cost me everything. It will cost me the presence of God and the exquisite, overwhelming delight of dancing on the waves of the flow of Holy Spirit in my life and in the world around me.

Come Holy Spirit and Make Me Decided

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In recent years He has allowed me to rest. Dancing on the Spirit’s waves can be exhausting, and a bit battering to the soul. He is gracious in the allowances He makes for our frailty. God uses our times of withdrawing to grow us in other ways and prepare us for the next stepping out. More and more I am knowing it is time to step out of the shelter and into the storm to walk on the waves of God’s glory.

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