Being used BY God FOR His Kingdom is an amazing thing! To see the God of all creation - who created you just as He wanted you, with His own purposes in mind - take your life and use it for the sake of His glory is mind-blowing. And yesterday I wrote about the way He faithfully fills us and equips us with just the right tools to accomplish whatever it is He is calling us to say or do. But today I want to put a WARNING label on that idea and call your attention to something that we must guard our hearts against as God is working THROUGH us. There's a story in Luke that brings it all to light.
In Luke 10 there's a story of Jesus sending out 72 disciples - appointed messengers. They were sent out to preach the Gospel and announce the coming of the Kingdom of God. When they return, they are awestruck and dumbfounded. Some of them even tell Jesus, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" They were like little kids who just learned how to ride their bikes - only they could ride a wheelie the first day. "Jesus, this is AWESOME! We were healing people and telling demons to 'Go to hell'! Thanks for the powers!" Remember when Peter Parker first figures out that he can jump, swing, and fly? He goes a bit overboard. He forgets about the "responsibility" part because he is so captivated by the "power". Some of these disciples came back the same way. Knowing their hearts and sensing the potential danger, Jesus cautions them. He essentially says, "Yes, I've given you authority over the earth and even the enemy. And I've given it to you for the sake of MY NAME!" But then He goes on and says to them, "Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Jesus wasn't trying to burst their bubble. But He wanted to make sure that they weren't losing sight of the most amazing part of it all. Jesus brought their eyes back to the big picture. He was saying, "Don't you dare miss the most amazing thing about all of this!"
Ultimately what Jesus was communicating to these messengers was this: While it's amazing to be used BY God - to see Him work THROUGH your life by the power of the Holy Spirit - this pales in comparison to the fact that your names are now written in the Book of Life. Seeing the Lord use your life for His Kingdom doesn't even touch the fact that because of what Christ has done, we are now actually part of His Kingdom. We are sons and daughters of the living God! He has called us His own! We are a treasured prize! And while we may be residents of this decaying earth, we are now citizens of Heaven! What God desires to do THROUGH your life is undoubtedly indescribable. But what He does IN our lives to take us from death to life - from sinful and depraved to sanctified and victorious - is the greatest news to ever touch our ears. (There's a reason we call it the "Good News"!)
I hope and pray that the Lord uses you (and I) for great things - to change the world around us for the sake of His Name and His Kingdom. But more than that, I pray we live daily in awe of the miracle of redemption in our lives - that Jesus has purchased us with His life, His body, and His blood. The payment was enough. It was made in full. And because of Him, I'm now a citizen of Heaven. AMAZING!