By Keith Boutte
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5
Where are you concerning victories in your life? Are you running the race to finish strong? Are your spiritual commitments being marked off daily with confidence you are answering God’s call? I’m not so confident that I am fulfilling God’s plans for my life. I am fully confident my life is surrendered to Holy Spirit guidance though. I know I must stay in the Word of God so that my words are not my own but are words given to me by Holy Spirit. Yet I also know I shrink back at times when Holy Spirit whispers directions to me. I fail to step out and witness or give someone a word I know God gave me for them.
Worthy to use
All my failures seek to haunt me daily, pointing out how I missed a chance to witness to someone, or give encouragement to a total stranger or a good friend. I’ve had so many “God moments” when Holy Spirit gives me a Word of encouragement or correction for someone, and they cry or shout because it confirmed that God is there at that moment for them. Yet I’ve also reasoned in my heart and mind that I’m not worthy, or that I’m not the right person for the sudden unction Holy Spirit whispered into my mind and heart.
The issue is believing I’m not worthy for God to use me. Those thoughts are arrogant ignorance. Is it my strength that allows me to move when Holy Spirit gives me a word or task to give to someone? Do I possess the strength within myself to complete a task given to me by God? If I believe it’s “MY” ability or “MY” strength when Holy Spirit whispers an assignment to me, I’m a fool heading for a fall.
As the faithful saying says, “all things in life will pass, only what’s done for Christ shall last.” The main issues are my feeling that I have the answer or I’m not worthy to give such advice or correction. Both are disobedience. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”
Our requirements and assignments are to follow Jesus by obeying Holy Spirit guidance no matter the cost. Our Savior has shown us the correct way to walk with him. Because of the joy awaiting us we must carry our crosses without shame, knowing we’re not worthy without Jesus’ sacrifice on “The Cross.” We carry our cross by disregarding all shame, pride, arrogance and ignorance from other’s that we might humbly draw them to the cross of repentance and eternal life. As Paul said in Acts, “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” (Acts 20:24)
Then there’s the other side of walking with God and with purpose. We must never assume the assignment is to be done with our knowledge or our understanding. Knowledge and understanding come from God, and are not only useful but a command—“Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
Our responses to people who doubt or question God’s Word, and even those who mock His Word must be answered with humble correction. “The Church” as a whole has failed to train up Disciples to witness to a lost and dying generation. We fear hell, but not enough to feel ordained by God for His good works no matter the cost.
Our selfish pride ridicules and embarrasses us because we think we must know all the answers to every question. Our fear of embarrassment is because we don’t trust Holy Spirit guidance, but believe the lies of the deceiver. Sin is believing we have to have the perfect answer which comes from our arrogance and pride in who “WE” are.
A free gift
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Rev 12:11) Jesus took all shame for us, Jesus accepted all judgement for us, Jesus paid for our sins, our shame and our salvation! We ARE NOT worthy of “Salvation”—it is a free gift! And salvation is our greatest responsibility to keep and to share! We are unworthy without Jesus, and unable without Holy Spirit guidance. The Word says, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
Failure comes when we doubt Holy Spirit guidance because of our failure to live perfectly. We are flawed, we make mistakes, and we miss opportunities because we reason with our minds instead of God’s Word written in our hearts. We fear shame of man more than shunning God’s assignments. We worry about hurting people’s feelings more than quenching Holy Spirit guidance.
Remember we’re only a messenger in this life to bring hope to a lost and dying generation. Our qualification is not who we are, but whose we are. There is no worth to our talents unless they’re surrendered to Holy Spirit guidance. Our best will never be good enough, but our surrendering to God’s Word and Holy Spirit guidance is more than enough. Shrinking back and believing the lie that we’re not worthy or able to witness is selfish pride and a stinky stench before the throne of God. Don’t be a stench in the only life you’ve been given, be a wrench God can use to secure someone’s eternity.
“Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Revelation 12:10-11)
Today, be an overcomer of fear, doubt, unworthiness, shame and regret. Read His Word and apply His direction in everything you do, so in that moment you see Jesus you will hear “well done my good and faithful servant.”
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you; But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
Keith Boutte resides in Lafayette with his lovely wife, Christy, and they have four children and five grandchildren. He has a passion for people, our city, and seeing the Lord lifted up as a light and hope to others.