“God did a good work, Abby.”
Tears formed when I heard my friend’s words on the voice message. After a year and a half of working on a book that would be birthed in three months, I was second-guessing everything. Questions about my intentions sent me reeling, and wondering, “Is this what I can expect?”
Following God’s call is a constant act of surrender. I used to picture surrender like someone caught in the middle of a crime by a police officer. She throws up her hands, resolved to submit to authority.
Now, instead of hands thrown up, I see hands held out and open.
Surrender is far from giving up. It’s a continuous, reaffirming knowledge that God will act according to what is good, just and true, even when I don’t understand it. His perfect love will have the last word, and it doesn’t matter whether others understand me or not.
When we let others’ opinions distract us, we miss the good work our Creator is doing.
I admit, distraction is a constant struggle for me. I want affirmation and for others to “get it.” Instead of focusing on the One whose approval matters, I want a pat on the back from my friends and family for a job well done.
And yes, it is pleasing and good to God when we encourage one another. Scripture says to do so as we continue our race forward in Christ Jesus. But there will always be those who misinterpret our motives. There will be plenty of diversions, because we have an enemy who loves to turn our attention away from the work the Lord has for us to do.
As I read about the roles of the Holy Spirit this week, I ended up in 1 Corinthians, where Paul is rebuking the church for the divisions among them. Instead of keeping their eyes focused on Christ, quarrels were breaking out as one group followed one teacher, others followed another, and so on.
In short, they were letting others’ opinions distract them from the one truth that mattered: Christ Jesus.
Paul reminds them that he isn’t the Christ, nor are the other followers. Their job is to do the assignment God gave them- to preach the gospel.
“So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.” 1 Corinthians 3:7-8 NIV
The good news is this: the same Spirit who spoke to the church then is still speaking today. When we still the busyness of our days and minds long enough to listen, he does amazing things.
Here are three key takeaways I want us to remember as we move forward, following his call on each of our lives:
1. We do not have control over the minds of others.
When we do the work God gives, others will either receive it or they won’t. Our time on this earth is short, so let’s sow into the community he’s given us to influence for his glory.
2. It is God who will judge our work and declare whether it’s good.
Surround yourself with trusted believers who are in the Word and who will encourage you in your walk. Seek wise counsel and don’t isolate yourself. But at the end of the day, also remember this: God is your ultimate judge. His Spirit searches all things and knows our hearts.
3. God will finish the good work he started in you.
When we don’t see the results we want or when others don’t understand us, it’s easy to get discouraged. We may question God’s call and whether it’s yielding any fruit. But friend, I am convinced that when we are obedient to his will, he is doing the amazing, even if we can’t see it yet.
Whatever you do, friend, don’t quit. There’s still a lot of work to be done. Our world is filled with people who are hurting, broken, and in search for truth only Jesus can bring. Let’s keep pointing them to it, one shaky step at a time.