I’m working my way through a good book titled Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung, and it’s all about his unconventional methodology behind discerning God’s will for your life. SWEET! I really want to know God’s will for my life, and I REALLY like things that are unconventional. So I saddled up and started reading. And what a HUGE disappointment! There is no magic bullet in discerning God’s will. In fact, I’ve been going about it all wrong all these years. Well, “backward” would be more accurate than “wrong.”
I’ve always felt like the smaller details of my life would fall into place once I finally grasped my major life calling from God. I don’t really struggle with the huge things in life. My struggle is in the daily details. My sins, my rebellions, are in the small daily diversions which are so available to us these days. And I am a sucker for all of them. I won’t stand before God with three or four major life rebellions to account for. I’ll stand before Him with a list of thousands of things I either did or didn’t do that were sinful. But every one of them on their own seemed genuinely inconsequential.
But once I receive my calling from God, that will all be over. Because then my life will be in alignment and these things which draw my attention away from God will lose their luster, their magnetic power over me. In other words, once the BIG thing is in place… all the little things will take care of themselves.
So apparently I needed this book Just Do Something to finally realize how completely insane this perspective is. Trust me, even as I write this it sounds nuts to put these words on screen. But literally until about twenty minutes ago, this was my thinking. If only the huge driving force that I’m supposed to adhere to in life would simply be revealed, then my minor rebellions, my little failures to walk with God, will be no longer. I’ll be so frickin’ inspired that my struggles will simply dissolve! My near addiction to these little rebellions will be overpowered by a passion that consumes me… the passion to pursue my newly discovered WILL OF GOD IN MY LIFE! (Read that last part with a dramatic booming voice, okay?)
Is this how anything works? Of course not. It makes so MUCH MORE SENSE for God to say, “I will be patient and wait for you to follow me in all of these little things you do before I reveal to you the main purpose for which you’ve been created.” Of course that makes more sense! So much more sense that I’m literally embarrassed to have had to write the paragraphs preceding this one.
Why on earth would God send me on the very largest mission for which I’ve been created when I can’t string together 70 solid minutes of obedience to Him in the smallest details of my life? Why would I expect Him to, either? And isn’t there a MASSIVE sense of arrogance and entitlement in my prior understanding? “Hey God, I know I basically ignore you at every opportunity I get… but that’s kinda on you, isn’t it? Hook me up with a sweet calling and then I’ll stop treating you like a doormat. Bueno? Great. Now hop to it pal. Jeopardy is on soon.”
Wow. That’s an only slightly exaggerated version of the inside of my head until about a half hour ago. It’s shameful. Thank God (literally) that he loves us as much as He does.
I spend the last couple of weeks of each year praying and asking for a single word to guide me through the coming year. It’s something I picked up from Brian Hardin of the One Year Daily Audio Bible years ago. The word I got this year is, “Execute.” I’m an idea guy. But in my process of coming up with huge ideas, I really don’t execute on the basics that are the foundation of any genuinely meaningful life. Last year my word was, “Achieve” and I ran the Chicago Marathon. It almost killed me. But I did it. However, I did it in the worst possible way. I failed to train properly. I failed to eat properly. I did what I usually do: I winged it. I half-assed it. And through sheer will and determination I finished that marathon. I injured my left ankle and both feet doing so, though, due to my lack of preparation. So my word for this year is, “Execute.”
How do you execute? There are a hundred things happening in my life that point to the fact that execution is about the daily little things that add up to a major accomplishment. These daily disciplines are missing from my life. I am not going to understand the will of God in my life that I might receive SOMEDAY until I respect Him enough to execute on the small daily things He has ALREADY told me to do.
No, I don’t know if God wants me to quit my job and become a pastor. I haven’t received that major life direction yet from God. But God did speak to me about the smaller things. He spoke to you too. Through scripture. It’s easy to forget, as we’re waiting for the loud booming voice from heaven, that the voice of God is probably sitting on a shelf in our living room right now. Real, tangible, useful direction from God on how to answer his calling in our lives. We call them spiritual disciplines. Prayer. Worship. Sacrifice. Charity. And the Bible is full of them. Have you ever seen one of those funny billboards, “If you’ve been waiting for a sign… this is a sign.” Well similarly, if you’ve been waiting to “hear from God” on how to live your life, then why not go ahead and read the book He gave on how to live our lives?
So I suppose I actually have received my calling from God. It’s written in the dozens of books of the Bible that I’ve read over and over… but haven’t really followed. I look forward to spending the next year executing on these small daily things that God has already called me to do. Execute on these little daily things. Subject my life to God in all these little ways. All this time I’ve been praying about surrendering to God and haven’t even taken the smallest of steps like changing up my morning routine. “Oh… you mean surrendering to God is more than just a passionate well-spoken prayer? I actually have to change tangible things in my daily life? Who knew??”
So that’s how my 2017 started. It’s amazing what happens when you take a few hours away from TV and internet.
God bless you all! And Happy New Year.