As of late, God had really been taking me through how important it is to give. I read the book “Kisses from Katie” and ever since I have been feeling God tugging on my heart to give. I can feel it when I go to church, when I read His Word, and when I dream about our lives back in Reno. In the book, Katie has given up almost everything to benefit the struggling people of Uganda. She gave up her parent’s dreams of going to college (something I wasn’t strong enough to do), her personal finances, and her everyday life to provide a better life for her 14 children. I can see just by reading the book that she is constantly killing the importance of her “self”. God calls us to do that very thing.
I believe that it was God that lead me to read 1 John both during and directly after finishing her book. I cited it in my reflection on her book, and I’ll cite it again now: (1 John 2:15-17) “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
This is where the catchy phrase, “Be in the world but not of the world” comes from, and it couldn’t be more true. But at the same time, how incredibly difficult is this calling? Everything about the world that we all live in is constantly beckoning us to be more selfish, to earn more money, to spend more money, and to brag about all that we have and all that we’ve done in life. We constantly size ourselves up against each other, both in person, and especially on social media. But God is calling us to rid our lives of all of this.
One biblical principle in particular came to mind as I was writing this. God says in Luke 16:13 that “You cannot serve both God and Money.” Imagine what our lives would look like if we actually hated money. What if we trusted only in God to provide for our lives? What if we loved God and dedicated our lives to pursuing a deep relationship with Him instead of wealth?
Katie eludes to this concept in her book by telling us about her experience going back to the United States after living in Uganda for a year. While in Uganda, she had to trust God for SO many things EVERY day. While in America, there seemed to be so much excess provision that it seemed as though she didn’t NEED God like she NEEDED Him in Uganda. She felt sickened by the distance that she saw herself getting away with in America.
I am so guilty of that distance from God. Life can get so comfortable here in the 1st world that many days can go by without even needing to pray. This comfortability and distance from God that we can experience can often trick us into thinking that all of our blessings are coming from our own actions.
I thought about this as I was biking to work a while back. I was experiencing a strong headwind on my commute, which can really slow everything down and make it very tiresome. In my struggle, I wished that the wind would do a 180° turn and propel me faster towards my destination. This immediately made me think about how high on my own horse I was just a few days before when I was biking incredibly fast to work. I thought to myself, “Wow! I’m really getting some strong legs.” When in fact, I remember it being windy that day, it was just the fact that the wind was at my back that day, rather than fighting against me.
Don’t we all fall into that trap? We all think that the good things that happen to us are all direct results of our own actions. When in fact, God is just providing the wind at our backs so that we can live in His blessing. There are so many times that I am guilty of not giving God the glory that He deserves for the blessings that He has so generously given me.
Being in the Word and reading Katie’s book have all been speaking to me about the selflessness that I need to work on. They’ve been helping me imagine a life in America (and in Australia while we still live here) that would constantly need God’s involvement and reliance. What kind of life would that look like for you?
Help me rely more on you, every day. Help me live a life that is so risky and so blessed that it would be impossible without you. Help me live a life that is so outrageously filled with the outpouring of love that it would be impossible for anyone to assume that it was all coming from me. God give me a vision for what this life would look like and equip me with the skills, tools, and people I need to make it all happen. I know that you can and I know that you will if I ask you to.
In Jesus’ name I pray,