It is hard to believe that I am writing this from South Africa as I embrace the start of this new season of life the Lord has provided, but I am. For the past few months the Lord has been testing me, teaching me and preparing my spirit for this very calling – and now it is here!
One of the books I brought with me on this trip is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Each quote I have ever heard a pastor use in his sermon from Chambers has always made a significant impact on my perception of spiritual truths, so I am excited to read 365 of his thoughts this year.
Today’s devotion referenced Isaiah 6:8, “I heard the voice of the Lord saying: ‘Whom shall I send?” Chambers made a powerful point when he said, in response to the biblical call of God, “As long as I dwell on my own qualities and traits and think about what I am suited for, I will never hear the call of God.”
One of the things I love about Chambers is his triumph over the fear of being truly honest with the family of God. As a body of believers, I believe we are to love one another enough to point out the holiness and sin in each other’s lives. So often our busy lives blind us not just to the temptations we face, but also the mighty work that God is doing in us and through us. I think it is vital that, as sons and daughters of the Sovereign King, we build each other up and hold each other accountable in love.
When I read that devotion today, my mind was immediately flooded with memories of the life journey God has written for me. Not just in college, but throughout life, so many of us continue to ask ourselves and others the gut-wrenching question, “What do you want to do with your life?” I remember specifically as a senior in high school how difficult it was to answer that question because I was trying to live for the day God had given me, while at the same time trying to make the right decision regarding where I would spend the most defining four years of my life (or so I thought).
But for any of us, regardless of our age, I think we often examine ourselves and our talents, abilities, gifts and interests – even the compliments others have sent our way – to try to formulate the perfect career that will enable us to truly live our lives to the fullest potential. I do not think that this is just the American dream, but the dream of every human being. We strive to be successful in all we do. We long to live a life filled with purpose. When we pass away, we want to leave behind something to be remembered by. We are legacy-driven, but as children of God, we need to be Lord-driven.
I am currently reading through the book of Romans, and in chapter five Paul writes, “For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.”
How incredible is that? We get so lost in trying to define the meaning of life that we completely lose sight of the One who is life. If you have been adopted into the family of God by believing in His Son, Jesus Christ, then your over-arching purpose is the exact same as all the Christians that lived before us, live with us and who will live after us: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Friends, I do not just say this is our shared purpose because I just flew across the world to serve the Lord on mission – this purpose is for all who call God Abba, Father.
During my layover in London I met a Jewish guy my age from Texas who was shocked to find that I was able to serve as a missionary for a semester overseas without having already taken my Christian Heritage course at Baylor University. I began to explain that this trip was not associated with Baylor – but then stopped myself as the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to an even greater truth that needed to be shared as I said something like, “The Lord saved me when I was seven years old. Since then I have grown to know Him more through prayer and reading the Bible. But even if I had never gone to Baylor or taken a Christian Scriptures class, I still would be able to go now because my purpose in South Africa is no different from my purpose at home – I will just be on the other side of the world.”
God has already, in less than two days, allowed me to meet several inspiring fighters of the faith. Each beautiful brother and sister I have been blessed to meet has had such an amazing life story that brings glory to God, but the foundation of their stories remains the same: My life is not my own – it is the Lord’s. Wherever He leads, I will follow. My hope is that the whole world will know the unending love of the Father – and I commit myself to serving God’s global purpose as I walk this earth.
Those are not the exact words that those who have welcomed me to Sub-Saharan Africa have spoken, but it is the heart of who they are: children of God.
God says in His Word that we are citizens of Heaven and foreigners on this earth. As I worshipped the Lord alongside native South Africans and several people from the Congo while singing in several languages at church this morning, my prayer was that God would help me to not only understand that truth, but truly live it out so I might be able to love those around me as Christ first loved me.
We cannot find our purpose nor hear the call of God by looking at ourselves and those around us – only by looking straight into the face of Christ will we see who we are and who we were made to be – a reflection of Him for all to see.