Author | Steve
“Would I be willing to give up the life I know now to experience more fully the fruit of God’s Spirit in the daily life of my family?” That’s the question that has been popping up again and again for me over the past couple of months.
I was recently eating lunch with a good friend and fellow servant of Jesus. We were discussing the call of God on our lives and our families. Over recent years we both had struggled to live out that call in the face of organizational and institutional confusion. Some of that confusion was our own, and some was symptomatic of broken systems.
It was in the malaise of that confusion that God called me again to follow Him – and this time both Jamie and I heard it together, clearly. When we named this blog “Dropnets” it was from our very real experience of Jesus calling us in much the same way He called His first disciples:
“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” ~ Matthew 4:18-20
So back to lunch with my friend. We were discussing God’s call and I asked, “What would I be willing to give up if in exchange I and my family could experience the fruit of God’s Spirit more fully in our lives?” Now don’t misunderstand me here! I’m not saying I can buy the free gifts of God’s Spirit. I’m just asking how often have I settled for material blessings instead? Or worse, how often have I believed that the broken and confused systems of men are safer harbor than the unknown and uncharted waters of God’s call?
Later, that same day, I was reading Neil Anderson’s “The Bondage Breaker” and came across these questions, “What would you accept in trade for the fruit of the Spirit in your life? What material possession, what amount of money, what position or title would you exchange for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control?” This is a center-of-the-heart question folks! Are these fruits real, or not?
So here we are three months into this new call on our lives. Jesus has been so faithful! He has been healing our hearts. He has been renewing our minds. I’m watching my kids come alive to Christ because they, like us, are needing him every day. I know some people don’t understand what we are doing. Some people even get upset. Some people feel judged. But we aren’t doing it because of people or for people. As Paul wrote to the Galatian churches:
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” ~ Galatians 1:10
Here’s the thing: for a number of years I felt God’s call on my life was being thwarted by my everyday ‘realities.’ What I’m discovering is my ‘realities’ were not as real as my Savior’s promises and call on my life. I wasn’t as trapped as I thought.
It’s like when the first explorers started heading out into the uncharted waters of the great oceans. The common wisdom was the earth was flat. There was great fear that these explorers would simply fall off the face of the earth. But soon, these explorers not only discovered new lands, but discovered a whole new way of looking at and experiencing where they already lived.
For a number of years now I have lived with a very ‘flat-earth’ understanding of what my life would look like as I answered God’s call. It looked a lot like a regular life with a house, two cars, a growing retirement nest egg, and increasing comfort. It also looked like a career with goals and more responsibility and more influence. But as these things unfolded, those fruits of the Spirit seemed further and further away: not much love, less joy and even less peace. But leaving this life felt like sailing toward the edge of the known world only to fall off into oblivion.
Jesus has called us to a ‘radical kingdom shift,’ as my friend Dave Gentry calls it. It has been the most freeing call of my life, and every tree in my family is showing fruit – fruit produced by Jesus’ Spirit and not by our own striving. It was hard to leave the safety of the broken systems I knew for the unknown, uncharted waters with Jesus. But now I wake up with anticipation most every day for what He will do and how He will show up!
I don’t know what it is for you – what feels safer than answering Jesus’ call to trust and follow Him? But I do know this: Jesus is faithful to give the gifts He promises! And I keep praying that I won’t exchange that for anything else.
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