High Stakes Game

I started teaching Francis Chan’s Forgotten God last week in the adult Sunday School class at church. Forgotten God is a study in the Holy Spirit; a lot of churches spend a lot of time on God the Father and God the Son but not so much on God the Holy Spirit. Chan’s seven-part series looks at the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Today’s lesson was pretty interesting. The point that really struck home with me is that when we are young or new to the faith we are really eager to risk for God. But as we get older the stakes get higher and our eagerness to risk begins to wane. I think Chan is right about this.

When we’re young we really don’t have much to risk. We don’t own houses, have kids, have lots of possessions, and we’re not tied down to our job or lifestyle. We pretty much can do whatever we want so when God calls us we can eagerly say, “Yes, I will follow!”

But then we get older. You get married, have kids, get a house with a mortgage, have a steady job that you need to pay all the bills, start to move up the corporate ladder, and pretty much find that rut you call life. When God calls you to leave it for Him the stakes are much higher than when you were a kid. See when you were young there was nothing to lose, but now as an older person there is much at stake.

Chan noted that when you reach that point in your life you actually don’t want to know what God is asking you to do because it will interrupt your comfortable routine so we kind of tune God out. I asked in class if people were comfortable in their own world and if they think it is what the Holy Spirit wants for them. One person said, no, but she was thinking that she wanted more comfort than what she has! Isn’t that the case for all of us? We actually want to be more comfortable?

But what if the Holy Spirit is calling you toward obedience, sacrifice, discipline, and ministry? What if that ministry meant risk in your life? Would you still eagerly say yes to Him the same way you would have when you were 20 years old?

Chan believes that the Holy Spirit is calling most of us to do more. I agree. I think most of us find a comfortable routine – even if it’s not that comfortable – and stick to it instead of listening to see if God wants more from us. Chan also challenged us with an exercise.

Imagine that Jesus wrote you a letter. What do you think he would say to you in that letter? For me I think he would say this:

Dear Tom,

You know I love you and I think you are great. But I have these things against you….

Then he would list out the things were I am falling short to hold me accountable to him as his disciple, similar to how he does it to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation.

He would end by saying this:

Trust in me – I am the way, the truth, and the life. I will never forsake you and will always be with you so you have nothing to fear because I will provide for you.

What does your Jesus letter look like? Similar to mine? Do you know the things Jesus would have against you? If you’re like me you actually do know. This is where we all need to do some work in our lives so we can get straight so we can be ready to risk everything no matter the cost to follow Jesus.

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