After writing, “CounterAttack the CounterPunch,” I felt free and ready to war and move forward. Another victory had occurred but my new reality all of a sudden was filled with a lot of uncertainties. I believe that if the devil is going to seduce you than he is going to seduce you with things you want/desire. Even though, I was up against a host of demonic forces that were trying to get me to walk away from God and throw in the towel. My reality is that with or without them, I desired certain things that the Lord had or was stripping me from.
Defeating devils and moving and advancing in the kingdom is great! Walking in purpose and destiny is wonderful. Green pastures and living waters flowing is the goal, right? Its crazy to think that in my walk with God so far, that I have an understanding of war and peace but I’m finding it hard to understand and accept the weight and burden that my calling carries.
In certain phases of my life, God was building my faith, endurance, trust, etc. There were obstacles I had to overcome that were hard but by the grace of God, I conquered them. Of course, I had to endure some rejection, betrayal or hurt but the holy spirit was my comforter. This is what I would consider, my growth and development stage.
This new stage however, is a little bit different. My faith, endurance, trust is built, now what? In the bible, there is a prophet named, Jonah. Jonah is called to give a prophetic word to the people of Nineveh. Instead, Jonah runs away and head towards Tarshish. He is on the run from his assignment and he has abandoned his post as a prophetic voice in the land.
I have to admit, I feel the tug of God and I know he’s calling me higher but I don’t want to go! I know that, if I go, that means more responsibilities. If I go, that means more people in my face. If I go, that means more rejection and hurt. If I go, that means… sacrifice.
Sacrifice is a lot less glitter and glam and more pain and sorrow. Sacrifice means,
“The surrender or destruction of something prize or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim (dictionary.com).”
Comfort zones seem a little bit more exciting than that! I like the previous phase of my life. I knew what I was doing. I was okay with who God called me to. I mean life was great. However, I believe God isn’t calling us to occupy and pioneer comfortable or familiar places but each level in God requires a new sacrifice.
Some scholars suggest that perhaps, Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh because the people who lived there were so wicked that his assignment was going to be too hard in his mind. Jonah, was going to have to sacrifice his will, emotions and thoughts about the people of Nineveh in order to give the prophetic word.
Just this past week alone, I found myself wrestling with writing this because this is were I am at. In my quiet time, I found myself saying, “God, this walk with you requires a lot of … SACRIFICE! I’m losing and it feels like what I desired and what I considered to be a prized possession is being destroyed. My comfort is gone and this new place is scary. God, I didn’t know in order for me to walk with you, I was going to have to sacrifice my life.”
(the things we say to God, like he is going to be apart of our pity party)
For a couple of days, I was on the run like Jonah but the holy spirit began to deal with me just like God dealt with him. We know the story; Jonah is in the belly of the fish, he prays, he accepts his call, he goes to Nineveh and profess what God told him to say. The ending of this story is that, thousands of people were saved from the hand of God because Jonah, accepted his call/assignment.
Just like Jonah, my eyes were on the wrong thing. Jonah was looking at the people wicked ways but God was looking at the thousands of people that were going to repent and come back to him. I was too busy looking at the sacrifice. How people were going to perceive me. How, it’s not in my nature to be extroverted and do extroverted things. How, I just wish I could be in the background and not be seen. The holy spirit began to speak and say to me, “Courtney, I have a work for you to do and it’s not going to get done unless you do it. Accept the call, grace and the favor that I have given you. Arise, out of your slumber and do what I have called you to do.”
As Christians, there will be times when we feel like abandoning our post because the weight or the reality of our assignment is feels like it’s becoming to much to bear. It may be tiring interceding for people. It may be overwhelming to walk in your grace or new level. It may be difficult supporting someones else vision when no one is supporting yours. But if God, has called you to do it… DO IT. God could have used another prophet to speak to the people of Nineveh. He could have spoke to them himself but he chose Jonah. He knew what Jonah, you and I were going to do it before he gave us instruction.
Yes, more often than not we are going to feel the pressures and weight of our call but if God has called us than he will sustain us. My will can’t sustain me. In ordered to be sustained, I have to give up my will, so that God’s will (a higher or more pressing claim) can be done in my life so that a greater work can be done. We see this sense of sacrifice on the cross. Jesus, giving up his life and his will so that the higher or more pressing claim, which is us can have everlasting life with him.
Jesus didn’t have to die for us, he was innocent but despising the shame, he endured the cross. He sacrifice his life and yet it’s hard for us to sacrifice ours. He dealt with the pressures, shame, rejection and betrayal on earth just like us but we refuse to accept the call because of the pressures we will face. He took being spit on and judged, whipped and mocked for us… the more pressing claim, only for us to be like Jonah and run away from the difficult people or situations because it’s too hard.
We pick and choose what we want to do because we don’t understand what sacrifice really is. We see Jesus on the cross, we try to imagine his pain but it was something bigger than the pain, cross and the grave, that kept him there… it was us!
God is calling us to a place of yielding. He is calling us to look pass the chaos and carnal things, so that we can see the bigger picture. People need your grace. People need to hear what God is saying and doing. When we come into the kingdom, it’s not about our will.
Yes, sacrifice is required. Yes, sometimes what we are called to isn’t as beautiful as we thought it would be. Yes, it will be difficult at time. But, God has still given you and I an assignment that must be completed and abandoning our post is not an option.