I recently read an inspirational quote on Facebook that says:
If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours (Luke 4:7).
I smiled when I read it because at first it seems like a very good quote. But when you realize that it is actually the devil who is speaking (and not God), you realize it’s not so inspirational. But that is the way the world speaks to us right? The world makes us think that by worshipping what this world has to offer, we can find true life and purpose. And if we don’t listen carefully, we might even believe it’s God talking to us.
But when that voice speaks, the world is lying to you and me. If we live by the rules of this world, the only thing we will truly find is that we are never quite good enough. The voice of this world can be so loud, sound so life giving, and sound a lot like the voice of God. You see, if we don’t fully know the voice of God, it is so easy to confuse the voice of God with the voice of this world.
Here is the thing:
The voice of this world tells us to desire success and wealth. But God tells us that he will place life giving desires in our heart.
The voice of this world tells us that anxiety is a weakness you must overcome on your own. The voice of God reminds us that freedom from anxiety comes by surrendering all to God.
The voice of this world tells us that sorrow is a lonely place to live in. But the voice of God tells us that God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. We may feel alone, but we are not truly alone.
The voice of this world tells us to be brave because we are strong and prepared for anything. But the voice of God tells us that the only way we can truly be brave and courageous is by finding it in God.
The world speaks lies that places tremendous amounts of pressure on us to rely on our own ability. But the voice of God says that no matter how prepared we are, how strong we are, how courageous we may be, what everything boils down to is whether or not we can let go and let God lead our every steps.
See, the world may tell you to try harder, to give more. But I promise you that that voice is lying to you because you will never have enough to give. On the other hand, if you rely less on yourself and rely more on God, it’s actually comforting to realize that you are not enough. It is comforting because we come to see that the God who dwells within us is more than enough. You see, the way we make it through this crazy and messy thing called life is not by our power, but by the power of the God who created the heavens and the earth.
As we prepare to launch Mid City Church, there have been moments when I have allowed the voice of this world to speak louder than the voice of God. I am tempted to feel as if I need to constantly do more to have a successful launch. I am tempted to feel as if I have to have my whole life perfected if am going to be an effective pastor to this new community. I am tempted to believe that the success of this new campus is dependent on my ability. I am even tempted to believe that the success of this campus will define me as a pastor. I am tempted to believe that the difficult things I experience along the way don’t hurt. I am tempted to pretend that I don’t lay up at night worried about the launch. I am tempted to pretend like I have not cried at night wishing I could do more.
That’s the thing about this world: listening to the voice of this world forces us to pretend and believe things that are simply not true. But when we listen to the voice of God we are able to realize that the truth that God speaks is more life giving and purposeful than anything we can even begin to imagine.
Beloved, whatever you are going through today, whatever pain you may carry, whatever doubts you may have or shortcomings you may see, I pray that you may stop judging yourself by the voice of this world and instead listen for the voice of God. For I promise that in doing so, you will find the life and purpose that you are seeking.
Together on the journey,