We are just about to start a new series called Awakening Grace. As we pore through the spiritual disciplines over the next seven weeks, I can’t help but wrestle with the question why. Why is it so important to join God’s mission? Why must we move from assessing God’s words alone to putting them in action?
When my son was younger there was a Lego set he really wanted. He had been saving his money, but still was about a dollar short. He begged us to help him get it, “Dad it’s only a dollar, come on I know you have the money!” My wife and I decided to make him wait until he got his allowance a few days later, we wanted him to learn the importance of waiting until he had all the money he needs before buying something. It was amazing how devastating this was for him. After the emotional meltdown, he gave it one last try, assuring us this Lego set was all he would ever want and he’d never ask for anything again. Wow, there it was. I was one dollar away from fully satisfying my son. He would be complete for life if we gave in. My fully convinced son pleaded and pleaded with us. To his dismay my wife and I kept our ground, standing like a mountain between him and his deepest desire. Two days later was allowance day, so the Lego set was speedily purchased and like every one before it, in just a few weeks it joined our huge bin of dismantled Lego pieces, a testimony of a desire met that didn’t even come close to fulfilling what my son thought it would.
In ministry it is interesting how people will come to me devastated because they received what they wanted. Yep, you read that right: they are devastated because they got what they wanted. The devastation is actually quite interesting. They hurt because it didn’t work–the affair didn’t satisfy, the drug high ended, the new job lost it’s luster. A few years ago a young man showed up in my office, deeply depressed. About a year before that he had left his wife for another woman. By his own admission it was fun…for a while. That day he sat in my office even more empty than before he left his wife.
“The loneliest moment in life is when that what you thought would deliver the ultimate has let you down.” -Ravi Zacharias
Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Saved from what? Created to do what? Tucked away in this powerful verse is something so redeeming. Ultimate satisfaction comes from finding the purpose we were designed for since before time began. Emptiness comes when we are separated from this purpose. It doesn’t matter how wealthy we are, how long we live, or how much we have, if we are separated from a purpose that transcends time, we will be left wanting.
Spiritual disciplines are the means in which we are shaped for the mission. As I write this next series, I am curious what disciplines you find the most difficult to live out? I would love your feedback in the poll below.