While my idea to distribute gospel tracts in hospital waiting rooms was not a bad one, my passion was misdirected. Just because something seems like a good idea doesn’t mean it’s the best choice. Somewhere in the motivations of my heart were genuine desires to please God and engage people with the story of His Son, but those things are not what I thought they were– especially in my youth and newness of faith.
Without realizing it, I was treating people as targets to hit with a religion. I was thinking about how good it felt to be doing something “important.” I was unable to see that I was attaching my worth to “doing” and “accomplishing good, Christian things” instead of finding it in Jesus. It was a cycle of feeling good, for a while, about something I had done, but soon realizing it never felt like enough to please God. These works were centered in myself– in restless striving instead of peaceful trust. They were my efforts to adhere to a religion and Christian culture instead of learning to thrive in the redemption offered by my Creator.
Instead of asking me to change my own life or others’ lives before coming to Him, God invites me to Himself. He does the work in me and others. I obey Him out of humble gratitude. He provides the motivation to do what is right and the power to accomplish it.
Gospel tracts left on every single waiting room table in the hospital might have helped someone. Again, not a bad thing.
But what if I had chosen spiritual rest instead of a race to canvass every square inch of a hospital in leaflets? What if God was already pleased with me because I belonged to Him? What if I was already fully accepted in Him, wrapped in unchangeable love and favor as His daughter?
Trust instead of striving. Could it really be that simple? Could I trust that I am made right with God because of faith in His Son, and this rightness could not be enhanced by my “good” activities? Such trust and rest would mean walking through life in faith, in relationship with my Creator– something much different than trying to please Him or be connected with Him on a greater level through religious activity.
Maybe then my heart would be prepared to engage a hurting person instead of distracted by “good work.” Maybe living from a posture of trust in God would mean having something real to share with people instead of my own misguided attempts to “do the Christian life.”
Over time and with dedicated mentorship from mature believers in Jesus, I gave less thought to questions like:
“How can I do ministry?”
“How do I succeed in ministry?”
“What can I do to be a better Christian?”
God began to change my desires and I asked questions more like this:
“How can I know Jesus more? How do I let Him change what is wrong in my life? What does it mean to live in Christ daily? How do I grow in maturity? How can I engage people with the love of Christ in ways that are meaningful to them? How can I show compassion and serve ? What needs do people around me have? What does it truly mean to share the gospel and what does that look like in daily life?”
I’m still on the journey of growing deeper in Christ and reaching out to others from the overflow of His work in me. I’m still changing and learning so much, but it’s encouraging to look back and see fruit He has borne in my life. He has made lasting changes in the way I think, choices I make, and has infused my broken, ordinary life with hope as I trust Him to continue the work He began in me.
©2018Chrissy Winslow – All Rights Reserved
- The Link Between God’s Love for Us and Ours for Others, John Piper:
Today’s post is short with just a few thoughts to continue in the story from last week. I’ve been on vacation for a few days with my family. We spent time outdoors with unique caves, challenging trails, salty water, and encountering a few creatures we normally only see inside the zoo.
After this week I want to share a few posts in Dear International Worker and some new stories in other categories.
Please pray for me as I kick around some ideas for my next book.
Thanks for reading!
❤ , Chrissy