You know, being a Christian sure is adventurous!
I’ve been sat in my own little corner of the world just getting on with stuff, wondering when I am going to get back into that place of walking in God’s will and living as an effective part of his purposes for a number of years now. There have been times when I have almost touched it, only to wander back down my own road and continued on with whatever it was I was doing.
Although I believed in my heart I always wanted to do what God wanted me to do, I realised recently, that actually, I have done the opposite!
It’s amazing that we don’t always see what God is doing in our lives, but when things start to unfold, we can see that God has been doing stuff all along.
For a few years now I have been self-employed and have had enough work to keep me going. Suddenly, all my clients, almost at the same time didn’t need me to do work for them anymore (this is just odd in itself). Some because of the credit crunch, and how it had affected them financially, and my main client because they had been taken over by a another company which meant it would have been a conflict of interest for them to outsource their work to me.
I decided that instead of carrying on self-employed, I would just go back into employment. Now, the job I do is not a common job in my area, so there are very few people who do my job so the chances of a job coming up and me getting it would be very high. Well, a job did come up, I went for the interview, the guys who interviewed me decided they wanted to give me the job but the next thing, it was like the door just closed in my face without any real reason!
It was at this point I began to think about what was going on! How can all my clients disappear at the same time and how can I not get this job when it was so obvious that I was right for it and there was basically no one else they interviewed who could have done it? I began to wonder whether or not this was God closing the doors on me so I felt like I had no option but to find out what was going on.
I used to live in Horsham and I know that it wasn’t by chance I ended up there. I know 100% that God called me there. Well, through circumstance (ones I created) after about 5 or so years, I ended up moving back to my hometown, and since then, I haven’t been fruitful in my relationship with God, infact quite the opposite. I was basically in a place where my flesh was fighting against my spirit and my flesh won time and time again!
You know, regardless of my failures that whole time, God was still faithful to me! How crazy is that! I wasn’t being faithful to him, but he was still being faithful to me! It just blows me away how God is like that. I did of course feel a million miles away from God, but thats hardly surprising since I was living a life outside of his will! However, God would still at times draw me back to him where, for a time, I would be convinced that it was time to move on with my relationship with God, yet I still carried on doing what I was already doing. I mean, it’s not like I wasn’t enjoying my life, I was! That was the problem, I wasn’t quite ready to give it up.
Well, since I figured something out of the “norm” was happening, I had no choice but to look to God and find out exactly what was going on. I knew I couldn’t do that while I was still in my own environment, because I knew I wasn’t in a place where I could trust myself to hear God properly, so I ended up going down to Horsham for a visit. There was a conference going on in the church, so I thought it would be a good place to go and try to figure things out. I had more faith in knowing that if God wanted to tell me something, that would probably be the place I would hear him.
Well, tell me something he did.. very clearly, and when he did, I just felt.. well, rubbish. Not because God made me feel like that, but because of what I realised had happened all those years ago when I left Horsham. I had basically walked right out of his will! I mean, I know I made mistakes when I was down there, but I also know that God forgave me and was ready to move on.
I didn’t see it this clear before but it just seems so obvious now! I mean, we know the words that if you step outside of his will then your probably going to struggle, but I didn’t see it as something I had done. I just assumed I was put on the shelf until God was ready to do something with me.
You know, one of thing things someone said to me when I was down there was that God draws us back into his will because he loves us. I didn’t understand what that meant, it didn’t make much sense and I’m guessing there could be a few explanations for it, but now, when I think about it, I tie it in with his grace. God loves us, so by his grace he will bring us back to him. If we truly love and know God, its horrible being away from him. It can only be by his grace that he brings us back, so by grace he brings us back because he loves us.
One of the things God was saying to the church during the conference was about the body, although the body is made up of individuals, the whole body has to function for things to work as they should.
[pullquote_right]Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.
If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully Romans 12:4-8[/pullquote_right]
When God calls people to a church or ministry (however you want to put it) he calls them because they have a purpose to fulfil in relation to the church has a whole. Everyone has a purpose, and everyone needs to be functioning in that purpose in order for the whole body to move as God intended in the calling. If a part of the body isn’t functioning, then the whole of the body is affected. We may not know how it is affected, it probably isn’t obvious to us, but it will be affected in one way or another.
The body of the church can be related to our own bodies. If a part of our body isn’t functioning properly, then it affects the whole body. It’s like wandering around, knowing something isn’t right, your not quite sure what it is, so you go to see a doctor to find out what’s wrong.
During my time down south, I knew God was telling me that when I moved away, I not only moved out of his purposes, but I became a part of the body that was no longer functioning. God had called me to be a part of the calling of the church, but because I went off and was no longer in his will, I was no longer functioning in that calling. This in turn, had an effect on the body as a whole! When I realised this, I felt terrible! Not only because I knew I moved out of the will of God, but also because I had in a sense abandoned the rest of the body! What a horrible thing to realise!. It affected me so much that I wanted to go up to the leaders and tell them how sorry I was. I didn’t of course, because I was worried I would look like an idiot!
But thanks to God, I now know what I have to do to not only get back on track with God, but also to get back into the place he called me and do my part for the out working of his plans and purposes which will have an impact in this nation and beyond! Because I am a part of a church that has a calling which will affect the nations for Gods glory in making his name known to ALL generations!
It just don’t get any better than that!