Today God reminded me of a few things I need to work on if I want to truly fulfill His purpose for me. I feel led to share them with you.
We are called to be a light to the world. 2 Timothy 1:11 says "And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News." I have been called and placed exactly where I am for a divine reason. I was called to work with our youth group to minister to and encourage our teenagers. I can use my testimony to benefit them. To be there for them and encourage them in their walk with the Lord. I am also blessed to be a part of a military wife group called Combat Boot Divas. This group allows me to meet other military wives which allows us to strengthen and encourage each other. Even if a person upsets me, I must live out my call. Allowing someone to shake me gives that person the power to interfere with my purpose. No one should have that power but God.
I need to stop reacting poorly to anyone who upsets me. Two verses from Matthew 5 give us clear instruction for how to handle opposing people. Verse 28 says, "But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also." Verse 44 says, "But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!" I should never even think about wishing anyone harm. I should not desire for others to suffer. It does not matter what they have done to me. Instead we are told in James 1:2 "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." I am supposed to rejoice at tests and trials. I am supposed to remember how blessed I am to serve the Lord Almighty. My God is bigger than any wrong done to me. My Savior is greater than any insult or injury. He heals, restores, calms and strengthens his children.
We are instructed very clearly to forgive those who wrong us. Matthew 6:14-15 tells us "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." I don't know about you but I cannot afford to not be forgiven. I have done wrong. I have wronged and hurt others. Even if a person is constantly doing or saying hurtful things I must forgive each account and move on. There are no exceptions. There are no "well once they've wronged you X number of times you don't have to forgive them anymore." If God were to allow us a limit on how many times we must forgive someone, He would have to limit how many times He forgives us. Thankfully Lamentations 3:23 tells us "Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh every morning." Once we have repented of a sin it is forgotten by God. He does not keep it in his mental record to bring back up later. He moves on like it never happened. I believe we are called to forgive in this same way.
Not only are we called to reach the lost but we are meant to influence and strengthen other believers. Proverbs 27:17 words it like this: "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." If I'm not building up other believers then what am I doing? Probably hindering their walk with the Lord. I do not want to stand before my God on judgment day if I am not sharpening my spiritual brothers and sisters. I have been blessed with so many uplifting people in my life. Friends who inspire me, keep me accountable, encourage me, love me at my worst and accept me as the precious gift I am. I should be constantly striving to be like that to those around me and so should you.
I believe each person we interact with has been placed in our path by God. There are no coincidences. I meet who I meet for a reason. I may not always know the reason but that is irrelevant. God's ability to work in me and through me does not depend on my own understanding which to be honest is a huge relief. As I look around at all the people I interact with on a daily, weekly or monthly basis I can't help but feel overwhelmed. The impact I can and should have on this world is far greater than I have ever realized. From a passing "Have a blessed day" to the lifelong commitment to my husband and children, I am making a difference. My prayer is that I am changing, shaping and encouraging those around me for the better.
I hope these messages from God can inspire you the way they have inspired me. Right now, in the middle of the storm, nothing is better than feeling God's loving embrace. I'm so blessed.