A friend approached me in tears recently wondering how to go forward after a major loss in ministry due to someone else’s heartbreaking moral failing. This loss tempted my friend to despair and even consider leaving her ministry. Because I’ve experienced my own losses in ministry, my heart remembered the deep-rooted truths that got me through. My heart surprisingly leaped with joy and moved me to say, “RUN…RUN TO JESUS!!!”
“RUN…RUN TO JESUS!!!”
Because we are fully capable of turning inward toward doubt and despair, run to Jesus!
Because we too are frail and are fully capable of turning inward toward anger and sin against others in the midst of being sinned against, run to Jesus!
“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” –Philippians 2:12-13.
This is grace. Not just that He once saved us, but that He continues to save us in your daily struggle between the flesh and the new creation inside that he has made us.
“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”-2 Corinthians 5:16-21
We are made new by His grace and we are helped in this new life to turn toward our new desires by the Holy Spirit’s grace and ministry each and every moment.
I don’t mean to turn attention away from the Holy Spirit’s work in my life or your life, but I long to see us COOPERATE with Him. The Christian walk isn’t passive, we are called to things. We are given truths and asked to RESPOND. And we respond out of a love for Christ, not out of a need to get right with Him.
I’m thinking about this today because I see how a lack of cooperation has impacted my own life by my own lack of cooperation and by the lack of cooperation of others who I hoped to see more from. I long to see myself and everyone in Christ cooperate more and more with the Holy Spirit’s work.
Cooperation brings joy to an individual heart and the collective heart of the local and worldwide church. One person’s lack of cooperation touches us all. One person’s cooperation brings joy to us all.
One person’s cooperation with the Holy Spirit makes a difference.
Because it’s not just the “big” sins that impact those around us and ruin lives, it’s the “little” sins too.
Because a sour face and passing someone in the hall without tender eyes and a smile can hurt a person’s heart for a really long while.
Because hearing through the grapevine another’s off-handed comment about you or someone you care about stains a person’s day, week or even life.
Because complaining about others and not looking at my own sin grieves Jesus’ heart and my own.
Because being angry at other’s failings and not seeing my own forces me into a box of never growing to be more like Christ.
Because moral failings that seem to be personal decisions, do indeed prove to hurt others around us that we care about.
Because Jesus tells us we will walk in the light because we will have Him. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” –John 8:12
Sin is a big deal and it damages others and keeps us from loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. It keeps us from loving our neighbor as ourselves. At every level, it hurts God’s heart, the people we love and ourselves.
So how DO we respond to the Spirit’s work in our lives? How do we even open ourselves up to see it?
I’m continuing to learn about this every second, minute, hour, day, week and year of my life. I haven’t arrived and I won’t fully until I go home to be with my heavenly Father. But these are some things He has shown me and that I know I need to do in order to love Him and others well.
10 Ways to Cooperate with Jesus:
- Stop and yield. The moment I become aware of sin in my mind or actions, tell God I agree with Him that what I’m doing or thinking is wrong. This means stopping beyond just a moment and lingering there for a time. I’ve found it’s important for my heart to really understand and take in all of what I’m doing (or not doing) in the moment in order to change my direction. This moves me to truly yield and allow Jesus to go in front of me leading the way.
- Run, don’t walk, to Jesus in the midst of temptation and sin. This may mean physically running, but more often than not it means turning in my heart to Him through prayer and his word.
- Talk with Jesus about temptations and confess sin daily to him.
- Ask a friend to pray for/with me about the sin.
- Ask a friend to hold me accountable to something I’m struggling with.
- Ask God to help me be aware of the sin in my life.
- Ask others for forgiveness, even when it’s hard.
- Meditate on and memorize scripture.
- Fast with prayer.
- Remember His faithfulness and that He is the God of Restoration. We can boldly approach the throne of grace and He has, can, and will restore us when we do fall.
“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” –Psalm 51:10
In the coming year, I’ll be working on some new projects. One of which is a series of therapeutic stretch videos to be provided to ministries working with human trafficking victims. I hope to make them available to my subscribers as well. Would you please sign up for my newsletter (see sidebar) and like my Facebook page? This will broaden my support system! Thank you so much!