“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” ~Jesus
Do you ever feel like what you do for God doesn’t matter? You might think to yourself, stuff like, “Why even try? It’s not enough, it’s too small. I’m not doing any of this right.”
Or maybe you’ve had an unloving person convince you that you have no business telling others about Jesus because you are still struggling with a particular sin pattern yourself. Newsflash for them: that is sin—discouraging weak-minded Christians.
Or maybe a loved one has verbally abused you so badly, for so long, that the devil has used their harsh words perfectly when it comes to convincing you you’re not good enough to help build God’s Kingdom.
ALL OF THESE ARE LIES! We must begin to recognize that! If we don’t, we will be like James and Paul said, “waves of the sea, tossed back and forth” (James 1:6, Ephesians 4:14).
HERE IS THE TRUTH ABOUT YOU: “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27, emphasis added).
He chose us! And He chose us as we are! Jesus decided to use fishermen not Pharisees! The religious folk have earned nothing—they only think they have! These people heap mud on the Cross by degrading Christians who aren’t self-righteous! They can’t stand the fact that God loves us all the same, and that our faith alone makes us just as righteous as Christ Himself! (See John 1:12, Romans 2:11, 8:17, 2 Corinthians 5:20).
But still, they ignore these biblical truths and only have conditional love–which is no love at all. They have “church people love” and “church people grace.” They say, “Come to Jesus and be completely forgiven.” Then the next week, “Backslider! There is no hotter place in hell than for the likes of you!” To top that off, they find their identity in how much they supposedly “know,” how “little” they sin, and how amazing their “level” repentance is.
One thing they’ve not repented of, is a nasty heart. Christ can have nothing to do with a nasty heart. This is why He must give us a new one! (See Ezekiel 36:26, Hebrews 8:10, Romans 6:6).
My friend, don’t let these people knock you off your God-given path in life. All that stuff they do and don’t do, it might have an appearance of goodness, but God doesn’t care about how stuff looks on the outside–He is focused on our hearts (see Matthew 23:27, 1 Samuel 16:7). These are the people whom Jesus will say to, “Depart from me, I never knew you,” after they plead to Him, saying, “Lord, we did all these things in your name!” But He will repeat, “I NEVER KNEW YOU!” (See Matthew 7:22-23).
As Christians, we are supposed to find our identity in our spiritual perfection–not in a bunch of religious works. He is our foundation, not the stuff we do, and not our lack of sinning. The fruit we grow in our lives comes from Christ through us (see John 15:5), it’s not just us! It is God Himself who is working in us to will and act according to His good purpose (see Philippians 2:13).
He’s invited us to join Him–not take over–and when we forget about this truth, everything we do and don’t do becomes…dead religious works. We have to refocus! We are finite–created! He is God–Creator!
So while we are in these temporary bodies, we must simply use what He’s given us–no matter the size, and no matter what the religious people say about what we have to give. Friend, nothing is too big for God, and nothing is too small either. When this fleshy shell wears out, your eternal spirit will go on to live with God, and you’ll get to see the amazing results of your labor in heaven! (See Matthew 25:14-29). All of the love, respect, and organic effort that you put out for Christ, He’ll show you what you’ve done—eternally! OH, WHAT A DAY!
Listen, I know what it’s like to have self-doubt, I know what it’s like to have a religious leader ask you to leave his church. I also know what it’s like to have someone you love very much, tell you that nobody cares about what you have to say about Jesus.
I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL!
I KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO FEEL SMALL!
…And you know what? Jesus likes small stuff. He said that with faith the size of a mustard seed—EXTREMELY SMALL—we can tell a tree to be uprooted, and then be replanted somewhere else (see Luke 17:6). I now know that God has allowed all of this heartbreaking stuff to happen in my life in order to teach me how to handle discouragement as He approves–which is by simply being my spiritually perfect self. By doing this, I’ve learned that I don’t want to retaliate how the devil wants me to, and when I do, he wins a battle.
Our job, as people literally possessed by Christ, is to overcome evil with good, and hate with love (see 1 Corinthians 6:19, Romans 12:21). Our job is to stand up to those who refuse to speak the truth of Christ with love (see Ephesians 4:15)–and to actually love them too despite their blinding legalism. That used to be hard for me, now it’s not. I can honestly say that I genuinely care for these grace-confused people. But I’ll speak to them just the same as I’ll speak to someone who is caught up in heavy chains of addiction: “You need to know Christ deeper. His graceful truth will set you free.”
God is a just God and a loving Father. He’s paying close attention to everything happening in our lives on a much deeper level than even we are. And even better, He’s using all of it—good times, heartbreaking times, mundane times—to strengthen us! He’s using the hate-filled, arrogant people, as well as the unfair situations, to give us the opportunities to react according to our spiritual perfection. He simply wants to see some effort on our part with…what we’ve got.
All God wants is what you currently have—nothing more, nothing less. What you currently have might seem really small. I know exactly what that feels like. I’ve been there. You want to move forward, but you don’t think it’s enough. My friend, it’s enough. Use it.
Or maybe you feel so defeated right now that all you can give Him are tears. That’s okay. Give them to Him. He wants them. He will use those tears for good. He will use those tears for your purpose. He will use those tears to water the seeds that He’s planted in your heart. Just hand Him over what you’ve got, and then, watch it grow!
A prayer for you: Good morning, Lord! For so many years, I thought that what I had to give to you wasn’t enough. Thank you for teaching me how wrong I was! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of them have been beat down by religion, self-doubt, and unloving people–some are even close to ending it all. Please let them know you are patient and kind, not pushy and mean. Comfort them and give them confidence! Send new people into their lives! Remove the people you want gone! Give them the courage to hand over to you what they CURRENTLY have, right now, today! Amen!
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 1. Get your copy here!