How many people are content doing what they know God has not called them to do?
Because of convenience, security or circumstance, some of us continue in a situation that confines them to a comfort zone. More realistically, however, this comfort zone only suffices to meet superficial needs, but never fulfills the inner man.
If you are doing anything other than what God created you to do, you are cheating yourself and settling for second best.
Are you pursuing God’s best? Are you having the time of your life doing what fulfills you and gives you purpose? Or merely existing from day-to-day? Are you living experiences or experiencing living? Are you pursuing your originality or laboring to copy someone else’s success or dreams?
Becoming the champion that God wants you to be involves risk taking, demands boldness and calls for living on the edge. It is easier to dance to the music you hear than to try to imitate the steps of another dancer. You’ll always be a step or two behind and will never perfect the imitation.
My dad always told me you have to drive faster to keep up with a car in front of you, because the person you are following knows where they are going, what stops they will need to make, when they must slow down and when they’ll need to pick up speed.
Paul warns us of the dangers of a copycat mentality: “For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Cor. 10:12 NAS).
In His closing admonition to the apostles after the Resurrection, Jesus “commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4).
Obviously, the disciples were concerned about their future when they asked, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?” He replied: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8).
The apostles still had an idea that Jesus would now establish an earthly kingdom, and doubtless they had discussed it amongst themselves in the days following the Resurrection. In their discussions, had they also shared thoughts about organization? Of who might be their leader? Of who might go to which cities, who might preach, who might sing, who might handle the money? Possibly, even probably. But, establishing an earthly kingdom was not God’s best for these men. They would have been frustrated in their efforts to build it.
What was God’s best for them? Don’t leave Jerusalem. Wait for what the Father had promised.
We can not become sidetracked, distracted, concerned or worried by the things about which we don’t need to know. They will not affect the outcome of our plans. Become consumed by the calling of God, even if He hasn’t manifested it.
Jesus instructed the disciples to tarry. For what, they didn’t fully understand. Sure, Jesus told them they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit, but these guys didn’t have a clue what was coming!
Would they have waited if they had known the entirely of their callings — their disappointments, their tribulations, their mockings, their deaths? Peter was called a drunkard and was martyred. John was banished to an island. All were ridiculed and mocked.
What if the disciples had not waited? What if Peter had ventured out on his own to do a good work, without waiting to “receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you”? That work may have prospered because of his good intentions, and he may have succeeded in some way. Still, if Peter had not waited as instructed, maybe Matthew would have preached that sermon on the day of Pentecost? And, maybe Peter wouldn’t have written two books of the Bible or influenced others as he ultimately did as a result of tarrying.
When God calls, He empowers. Where God calls, he supplies.
Often, we do not want to wait to hear the call of God. Too often, I suspect, we hear the call and don’t wait for the power. Hearing the call, waiting for the power, and following the unique road that is called our lives produces great blessing — for us, for those around us, and, more importantly, for God. After all, it was for His pleasure that we were created.
However, today’s convenience-oriented society teaches us that we can have our desires and that we deserve to have them now. Waiting on God or working out our salvation with fear and trembling, like so many other politically ideals, are not in the normal game plan of even today’s Christian community. Instead, many today settle for second or third best, never realizing that God has a special page for them to write, a unique place for them to fill.
I am convinced that this epidemic-like, second-best mentality is a main plague of church growth today. Too many Christians are not hearing the call of God to fulfill their ministries. God’s best is for each member of the body to take his or her appropriate place. Where are the Abrahams, Isaacs and Jacobs of the day? When will the Ruths accept the call? Second best will not prevail when God’s best awaits.
In our age, people all to often look for the greener grass, discontent with what they have, rarely involving God in the decision-making process.
Money and location almost always are the criteria for choosing a job. Power and ambition are the mantles of our time. Men and women today leave their spouses for someone younger or some “better looking” or with seemingly better “qualifications”. The grass may look greener on the other side — until you have to mow it.
God’s best doesn’t always look like a four thousand square foot mansion and drive like a Cadillac. It doesn’t always mean climbing another rung on the ladder or making more money.
Remember, don’t compare God’s best for your life with God’s best for someone else’s life. When you do, one of two things inevitably follows: haughtiness and pride because God’s best for your life seems “better”; or, envy and jealously because it seems less. You can learn from another’s success, but you can’t live it.
We all are at different points in life’s journey. Walk that trail that God mapped for you. If you don’t no one else will.
From Champions: Developing the Man Within © 1997 Chip Bailey