Refining Faithfulness

Being faithful to the Lord sometimes looks like pain. Sometimes it looks like disappointment. Sometimes it looks like heartache. Bottom line is, we are called to more than just serving when it’s fun for us. So often, we look at times of serving and waiting as fruitless, we don’t always see working for the Kingdom of God as a fruitful endeavor. But faithfulness should challenge us, should mold us into someone in greater dependence of Jesus, and should rebuke the pride out of us despite whether we feel fruitful or not, ultimately we aren’t the judge of fruitfulness anyway. See, we as humans have a different view of good than our God does. When we look at our ministry and don’t see our desired results, we see bad. When God looks at us, I don’t think He sees it so momentarily as we do, He sees progress and faithfulness (if we are being faithful). He is for His kingdom, that is what is good. And we need to be for that too, and sometimes that’s just not gonna look good to us. But, persevere, go on in faithfulness, let your reward be in Christ alone.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. {James 1:12}

Something that Jesus has been teaching me recently is that I need to be okay trusting in HIS plan and timing, regardless of whether I get to reap the rewards of the work or see that plan come to fruition now, or at any point in my life. Fact of the matter is, we weren’t promised reward right now. But in this culture, in my generation, we want everything now, we want two-day shipping, and drive-thru Starbucks because we can get what we want faster. It’s human nature to want to understand why we are doing what we are or are in the place that we are in the moment, we don’t like waiting for anything. We don’t like waiting in a long line let alone on the timing of God’s perfect plan. Instead of leaning into that promise of a someday-soon-reward, we expect that we should see all the good right now. And we expect that we should immediately get answers. But we also happen to live in a culture of laziness. What can we expect when we don’t spend time in the Word? When we don’t spend time in prayer to hear the answers to the hard things? When we don’t spend enough time building on relationships to share the Gospel, to encourage and pour into? When we take one disappointment, one failure, or one failed try and we determine that we are no good and that God isn’t working? Who are we to decide such a thing? We disqualify the Gospel when we use our laziness, lack of discipline and faith as an excuse for lack of fruit. When we insist that God isn’t working through this day, situation, or season, we insist that Jesus isn’t doing what He promised to do, and that simply isn’t the character of our God. Don’t forget that this is the same God who sent His son to die on our behalf, who unleashed His anger and wrath upon His own son for our sake. His plan has always been good, and it’s always been for His Kingdom. Be faithful to that God.

We’ve gotten it wrong. I’ve gotten it way wrong. See, it’s hard for me to see the good that Jesus is still doing outside of my crappy situation or outside of the ministry in my life that I don’t see working. We too often look at the temporary, when Jesus has so much more to offer us. We simply accept too little from God, we have human expectations from God. We forget that God is not only sovereign over the things we see as failure or messy or unanswered, but over every piece of our lives. He is working in everything, for our good and for His glory.

“God is not required to seek the sinner’s permission for doing with the sinner what He pleases.”

Be faithful here. Where Jesus has you is good, maybe stretching and painful and refining, but He has never once not been for your good. He uses the distractions and disasters in our lives to make us more like Him. He will refine us through our faithfulness, whether it feels fruitful to us or not, if we will just be faithful. I’m learning that faithfulness is such a choice, I have to consciously choose Jesus’s way every day. We have to take seriously our call to take up our cross and follow Christ. To literally leave all pride, all comfort, all pleasure behind and follow our Jesus. And yes, that means taking His path, and taking up His will as your own.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? {Matthew 16:24-26}

 

One thought on “Refining Faithfulness

  1. Taylor Battle says:

    Kaylyn, thank you for this. Thank you for sharing your heart and speaking the hard truth. It is so easy to forget what faithfulness looks like in today’s t world. I feel encouraged and charged to seek the Lord more and to remember what he uses our hardships for. Love you sweet friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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