There is always the opportunity to grow. Change always begins in the heart, if it is not in my heart to grow then I won’t. There are many things that will challenge us (whether those be personal trials, or issues as big as what the government legislates); our role as Christians is to not become full of fear (as I have mentioned in my post “Have no fear.”) but to see the opportunity that these challenges bring us.
We have become too comfortable as Christians. We don’t know persecution; we don’t have to worry about going to church, or practicing our faith. We have it pretty easy in North America. We have assumed that the government will continue to uphold our Christian worldview, so when they don’t we become fearful and angry. Some say that it is a sign of the end of times, but it has been the “end times” since Jesus left. We need to wake-up and take the opportunities that God has given to us!
Before I came to France I asked God two things: that he would use me and make my faith grow. Being in France has been a challenge. There have been days where I have cried because I did not know what was going to happen, or where I was going to sleep! I could have let these situations wear me down, but I didn’t. When I asked God for help finding a place to live in Lyon (in September) and nothing happened, I still believed that God was working. I came to Lyon January 16, a Saturday night, with a place to stay for three nights. Now if I had found a place to live before arriving in Lyon, I would never have been able to share Jesus and the story of my faith with the women I was staying with for those three nights (and I even invited her to church!) God gave me an opportunity by telling me to wait on my accommodations, plus grew me in my faith by making me trust in his provision.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
Trials are meant to refine us. These verses have really challenged me this year. I realized that I had a comfortable faith, and I didn’t want a comfortable faith. I wanted to have a bold faith, one that no matter what happens, no matter what the government decides, no matter what the people around me say or do, that I would look to God and take the opportunity to, if nothing else, become more steadfast in my faith. Not waiting for someone else to teach me what I believe, but to learn myself, and then share with others.
You are the salt of the earth! You are the light of the world! Because Jesus lives in you. It is time for us to shine, not to be dimmed by the world and what it has to say. Take the opportunity to grow and to share. Stand tall, and be ready, because the God of victory is with you. He does not want you to shrink into yourself and hide the magnificent light that you have. He goes with you (Joshua 1:9) and will make opportunities for you to grow in your faith and to share it. In the end we are not defeated, so why be afraid or angry at what is going on? There is something inside each of us to share. But the change that the world needs starts in your heart. Let the light of Jesus grow inside of you, so that it shines and spreads beyond you. Take the opportunities that you are presented.