I was writing an article tonight and remember this post I did on another blog a little over two years ago which fits in with the theme of Wannabe Hero. I thought I would repost it on here. By way of explanation, I was in the middle of about a year and a half long depression and this was my first post of 2014.
Since this is my first post of 2014, I thought that I would go with the expected and talk about my new year’s resolution. I know, very original huh? Anyway, there is something about beginning a new year that makes us evaluate ourselves. We tend to take a look at where we are at and make decisions on where we want to be this time next year. My new years resolution, however, isn’t your typical goal. I don’t care about losing weight. I’m not resolving to make more money this year, although I pray I do because this has been the worst year for me economically since I first began working 22 years ago. My goal is not even something that will be able to be quantified in the next 365 days but it is a burning passion in my heart that I have to work toward.
I don’t think I have ever consciously made a new years resolution. At least, if I did, I must not have been too serious about it because I don’t even remember failing to achieve it. Since I am a person who constantly beats himself up over failure I believe it’s safe to assume my inability to remember a failed resolution means that I never made one. However, I have been reading Craig Groeschel’s book Fight and a few nights ago I read something that slapped me upside the head and screamed, “That’s it! That’s your new years resolution!” I actually cried when I read it because it mirrored the cry of my heart for the last two years.
In the book Craig tells a story of the young D.L. Moody having lunch with Henry Varley. At some point during the meet, Varley looked at Moody and said, “Moody, the world has yet to see what God will do with a man who is totally consecrated to Him”. It is said that these words pierced Moody’s soul and he could not get them out of his mind. He thought about them for weeks and then finally proclaimed, “I will be that man! If God is looking for a man of integrity, a man of honor and courage and faithfulness, with God’s help, I will be such a man!” Groeschel went on to say, “You can do this. Our twenty-first-century has yet to see what God will do through a man whose heart is surrendered to him. You could be that man.”
As I read this account, tears came to my eyes because that has been my prayer for two years. I have petitioned God to let me be the spark that starts the last great awakening before He returns. I have asked God to turn me into such a man of God that the world is different when I’m gone. I want to be my generation’s D.L. Moody, A.W. Tozer, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Wesley, John Wesley, Billy Graham or the many other men who made a positive mark on this world for the Kingdom of God.
I want to be that man, but…
The problem is, I am a long way away from being that man. You see, I still have issues to work through. I still harbor bitterness in my heart against those who kicked me to the curb two years ago when I was caught in my sin. I still struggle with having faith in the finished work of Calvary and stumble from time to time, forgetting I am the righteousness of God. I get angry when things don’t go my way. I have a sarcastic whit that comes out with a vengeance when I am in the heat of a debate. I struggle everyday to keep my eyes pure in regard to the opposite sex. When people praise me for having a great voice or talk about how much wisdom my writing has, I enjoy the praise and fail to point them to Him. I still do and say things that harm my witness and bring dishonor to Christ’s name.
I guess that’s the reason why new years resolutions are so difficult. When we make a resolution, it’s not something we have already obtained but it is something that is going to take work. It will require a lot of effort. It will be a one-day-at-a-time journey with successes and failures. There will be times when we fall back or stumble but if we get up and keep moving forward, we will obtain it.
The apostle Paul once wrote, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected, but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count my self to have apprehended but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 3:12-14) I guess if the apostle Paul, the man who wrote the lion’s share of the New Testament, admitted he still had issues, then my issues aren’t a sign I can’t be “that man”.
I started working on a book about a year ago called Embracing Destruction that talks about the role of suffering in the life of a believer. We tend to think suffering is a bad thing but in God’s hands it is glorious. Romans 8:28 is the anchor verse I am using for the book’s direction. As a result it has caused me to consider how that verse which says, “All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to HIs purposes.” applies to failure and even sin in the life of a believer. The last time I checked, all meant all, everything, nothing is left out. That means that somehow, in God’s miraculous grace and mercy, He is able to change the circumstances of a Christian’s life, including the circumstances of sin to be good and bring Him glory.
To be honest, I have struggled in the area of sin lately. Depression has a way of clouding your judgement and I lost sight of the prize and made some poor choices. The funny thing is, my failure has increased my intimacy with God. Now, I know, sin separates us from God. I’m not preaching a partial gospel here, but sin that has been repented of actually works for good to a Christian. If it doesn’t then Romans 8:28 is incorrect and the entire Bible would be questionable.
How can sin “work together for good”? By causing us to remember how desperately we need the work of the Spirit in us. As a Christian, sin reminds us we can’t do this on our own and it also allows us to see just how amazing God’s grace truly is. I think D.L. Moody understood that and that is why he said, “with God’s help, I will be such a man!” He knew that he had issues, however, he desperately wanted to change the world. In order to do that he had to overcome his issues and he knew his only hope was in letting God teach him to be that man of integrity, courage and honor. I believe he had this knowledge because of his real life failures.
365 days from now, I want to look back over 2014 and see THAT man immerging from the ashes of my previous life. I want to see a man who is learning to bring about change in the church, teaching people how to overcome addiction to sin and revealing the truth of our holiness in Christ, a man bringing change to the church’s errant idea of activist evangelism and heralding a return to the humility and meekness of Christ. I want to see a man who has risen above his failures and used them as a catapult to the great heights of a world-changing evangelism. I want to see someone who’s atmosphere is saturated with the fragrance of holiness but his transparency fosters hope into the sin-torn souls who read this blog.
With God’s help, I WILL be that man!
How about you?
Peace, Love, and Awakening!
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