This blog post is coming to you from Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina! What a fantastic time we are having here. Gifted speakers, amazing worship leaders, and good friends.
I’ll be speaking to a group today and teaching a workshop tomorrow. But first, a short Freedom Friday.
As I read Judges yesterday, a short verse jumped out at me:
Gideon and his three hundred men, exhausted yet keeping up the pursuit, came to the Jordan and crossed it.
Judges is interesting, challenging and at times convicting to read. The book of Joshua had just ended, full of victory and promise. The Israelites had finally come into the promised land! But despite warnings from God & Joshua, the Israelites almost immediately began to follow other gods. Fast forward a few chapters, and that’s why they were in this position with Gideon, described in the above verse, of pursuing their enemies: because they stopped pursuing the One True God.
Why? Why did they leave behind the God who had shown Himself to be faithful over & over? Were the gods in the Promised Land that alluring? Were they pressured by the people they were living among to try out these other gods?
We don’t know exactly. Judges 2:10-11 simply says, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.”
Are you tired of following God? Weary of doing the right thing? Has following after God at times exhausted you?
God knew that doing the right thing, choosing to act like a free person, clinging to Him would not always be easy. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.”
Galatians 6:8-10 says, “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
The theme of this week’s conference is The Reality of Grace. Generally, about half of the people here at these conferences are first-time attendees. They are truly stepping into their Jordan. I’ve talked to numerous people whose worlds have been rocked by what is being shared here. My world was rocked backed in 2004 at my first same-sex attraction conference when I first truly considered the reality of living in grace. Grace is a breath of fresh air to a weary, striving soul.
Something we hear in these circles quite a bit is that the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality; it’s holiness.
I have to ask, if the pursuit has you weary, what are you pursuing? Are you pursuing freedom from temptation? If so, it’s no wonder you are tired! We will always be tempted in some way. The Bible does not promise freedom from temptation. Even Jesus was tempted, but He did not sin.
Or are you pursuing God and all He has for you?
If it’s the latter, the Bible promised that if we continue to choose God, to dive deep into Him, we will reap a harvest.
It will pay off. It will be worth it.
God is calling you to Himself because the desire of His heart is to see you become the person He created you to be. He wants to be known by us, known for who He truly is.
If you are weary today, pull out your encouragement file. Ask someone to pray for you. Take some time alone with God and reflect on the words of Jesus in John 16, where He says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Ask God to show you His perspective through His eyes.
And remember the words of Paul, in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Thank You, God, for inward renewal, renewal that Your Word says is happening, even when we can’t see it. Thank You for loving us enough to reach out when we were running from You. And help us to learn to run to You, to cling to You, to dive deep into You, even when the pursuit has us weary. We love You, Lord. We pray in the mighty, powerful, awesome name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.