Day 21: “Available”
Our responsibility, as God’s beloved children, is availability to Jesus Christ – to be exactly who we are in terms of who He is, 24 hours a day, one day at a time. Believing this reality sets us free to joyfully discover and display the Shalom of God’s Kingdom.
“Then I heard the Lord asking, ‘Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for Us?’ I said, ‘Here I am. Send me.’” – Isaiah 6:8
When you have been included in the family of God, there’s only one responsibility God asks of you, and it’s so simple, yet impossible for you to do apart from Him. He asks for you to be an available vessel for the Holy Spirit to fill so that the life of Christ might manifest in and out of you. He asks you to come to Him, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with hands open saying “Here I am, God… take my life, all that I am, and employ it for your glory and Kingdom… I am available.”
This is what is meant by the greatest commandment where YHWH tells His people “Love me with all your heart, all your soul/mind, and all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7; Luke 10:27). If our affections are fully surrendered to the love of God, and everything within us longs for Him above all else (Psalm 73:25), then utter availability to the indwelling Christ is the only possibility for those in God’s family. When our hearts have been captured by the Father’s deep love manifested fully through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, this “love so amazing so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all…” as Isaac Watts writes in his 1707 hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”
The beauty is that these demands that such a love draws out of us are not burdensome demands but rather freeing demands. Don’t you see that you will always be an available vessel for something? We were designed to worship, and our very existence on planet earth will either yield a lifestyle of worship to our Creator or toward the creation (Romans 1:25). When we worship the creation we “exchange the truth of God for a lie” and settle to get our “high” from the temporal pleasures, prosperity, and power of this fading world. As a result, things of this created world become our “functional deity” that controls us. We think we are in control, but at the end of the day, we become controlled and addicted to things of this world that can never satisfy the deeper longings for Shalom that we were created for. In our quest for Shalom, our idolatry of the good things of creation ends up shortchanging us and compromising the dignity and dominion we were given as image-bearers of God. In this idolatrous state, we not only bring chaos into our own lives but also begin manifesting chaos into the lives of others around us and the systems that govern society.
The good news is that when we are awakened into the eternal Shalom of the Kingdom, our greatest “high” starts to become the “Most High” Himself. As we live fully surrendered and available to do His will, we cannot help but flourish within creation and discover and display all the truth, beauty and goodness of the created order that God intended for us as His image-bearers to experience. You see, as God, Himself satisfies our deepest longings, and becomes the nothing-broken-nothing-missing peace we are after, we cannot help but offer that same peace back to the world through our lives. As we change, so does our relationship with everything in society.
When the Spirit of the living God inhabits you, He doesn’t just make you a clone who operates like everyone else… No, God is so much more creative than that! The Holy Spirit fills you and releases you to your truest self, unique as each leaf on a tree, fearfully and wonderfully made to display God’s splendor through your one-of-a-kind design. God doesn’t ask you to give up your personality. No, He amplifies it all the more. All the truth, beauty, and goodness of who God made you to be, comes alive in Christ as you rest in simple faith and find your true identity in Him. When you are available to God, people meet the truest you and your light shines before others, that they might “see YOUR good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
The apostle Paul says in his letter to his friends in the city of Colossae that he has found the secret to life, and here it is: “Christ in you, the hope of glory…” (Colossians 1:27). This is your life, dear friend, fully surrendered, that the life of Jesus through you might bring hope and Shalom to this world of chaos.
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:16
1. Do you believe you are beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made? (Psalm 139:14) All that God has made “is very good” and that includes you! Take some time to name all the beautiful things about who God made you to be. This is not pride, this is merely acknowledging to God and yourself the reality of the amazing image of God in you. As you write out the beautiful things about your unique design, thank God for making you that way. He did it on purpose and He loves the way He made you.
2. What are the ways that your unique self has been hijacked by sin? How has your personality and giftings been utilized for chaos instead of Shalom? What have you made yourself available to other than Jesus? What have been the results when you have surrendered yourself to “other gods” instead of the true God? What “highs” are you trying to get other than the “Most High?” Let these questions awaken honesty and repentance. Remember, no shame or guilt, because that has been dealt with already… But in these honest moments let the Holy Spirit reveal ways you are not being true to yourself and not living out of the truth, beauty, and goodness of who you know you really are in Christ.
3. Take some time to write out ways God is calling you into deeper availability to His Spirit. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to fall fresh on you and empower you. I suggest staying quietly on your knees and lifting your hands with palms opened up as a gesture of availability to the Spirit of the living God to break you, melt you, mold you and fill you afresh. God is loving you as He transforms you more into the truest form of who He made you to be in Christ. Rest in that love…