Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Challenge

I loved this sermon by pastor Steven Furtick from Elevation Church. Steven Furtick talks about how we have a tendency to want change in our lives but at the same time we refuse to step outside of our comfort zones. Growth and change is always very uncomfortable, so it's understandable that we try to escape it. As Christians we often come to church wanting to be changed but we don't want to be challenged. Steven Furtick points out: "Guess what? No challenge, no change!"

We often come to God asking him to change us but we also bring our list of things that we won't do and will do, and then we expect God to give us what we want based on our personal list of conditions. The problem with this approach is that change doesn't work that way. We can't show up at the gym with a long list of exercises that we refuse to do and still expect that we will get in shape. If we truly want to get in shape we are going to have to do some of the less comfortable and fun exercises to be able to develop new strength in our bodies. We have to challenge ourselves to grow strong in our bodies and it's the same way with our minds and souls.

We also have a tendency to label ourselves and convince ourselves that we can't do certain things when the truth is that we won't do certain things. One example would be to say: "I'm just not a naturally optimistic and happy person" but the truth is that we can have joy in our lives if we make room for joy and choose to let go of the negativity and pessimism. I like what Steven Furtick says: "Where you started does not have to be where you stay." 

We often fail at things not because we didn't have it in us, but because we have convinced ourselves that we don't have it in us. If you have convinced yourself that you will never be better at handling money for example, chances are high that you will never grow in this area. God can do immeasurably more than we can think or imagine in our lives but we put limitations on our own capacities.

It will always be tempting to avoid growing in the areas of our lives where we know that we are weak. Why? Growth requires us to challenge our capacities and to do the work needed to grow. We choose to settle for staying where we are, and as a result life ends up being not near as spectacular as it could be. We put limits on ourselves and our capacities instead of challenging them. We serve a God who wants to do something great in our lives but each one of us can decide to take him up on that offer or to close the door on God and settle for small and comfortable.

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