The Challenge

  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.....1 Corinthians 2:2...."The great challenge is, 'Do I know my risen Lord? Do I know the power of His indwelling Spirit? Am I wise enough in God's sight, and foolish enough according to the world, to bank on what Jesus Christ has said? Or, am I abandoning the great supernatural position, which is the only call for a missionary, viz; boundless confidence in Christ?" Oswald Chambers...."Jesus lives, and that means boundless possibilities." T. Austin-Sparks

 

How much of a "fool for Christ" are we really? Paul said that he would joyfully take on the appearance of a fool in his love for and trust in Christ. Indeed, a life that puts all of it's hope in Christ alone will always be seen as a foolish one in the eyes of the world system. Even when that system has entrenched itself in His Church. And we are living in days when it has.

Paul possessed one of the most brilliant minds of his day, able to converse with Greek philosophers, Jewish Pharisees, and people of every social strata. Educated to the highest level possible for a Jew, he had no confidence in any of it. He who knew so much as measured by the world, said he could only be sure of knowing Christ crucified, and Him alone. Such a lifestyle did not make him popular in the world, and at times, not in the Church. His was a life dedicated to knowing and following His Lord. To what degree is ours the same?

I have had Chambers' above quote written in my prayer journal for some time now. Though I've often fallen short, I have always sought to rise to the challenge he speaks of. I've lived long enough now to have seen a few challenges. It would be untruthful to say that I met every one of them with the right heart, attitude, or faith, but by His grace, in my lack, He saw me through with His sufficiency. Having a "boundless confidence" in Christ can be the most trying of challenges, especially when that confidence is undermined by people, well meaning though some may be, within and without the Church. Such a time for me was in the midst of my wilderness journey after my divorce and stepping out of the ministry. 

During that time, there were many voices, including those with loving concern, telling me I had to let go of my call to pastor and preach. Voices that said I needed to accept that this was no longer a possibility for me. I needed to get on with my life, find something else, to let it all go. There was just one thing; His Voice was never in agreement with those voices. He did not reveal to me what the future held, and how He would work, but I never ceased to hear Him whisper "Be still and know that I am God." I never ceased to have an inner assurance that if I would trust Him, He would restore what the locust had eaten, stripped, and laid bare. He would bring back what the enemy had stolen. So I held on to that, and appeared a fool to many. Now, thirty years later, the "fool" has been vindicated. He did restore me. Not to greatness, but to the purpose for which He made me. Was my confidence always boundless? No. At times, many times, it was held to by a very slender thread, but He worked in it. It was not the last time I have appeared to be fool for Him, and in my foolishness, I draw nearer to Him, and deeper in Him. The reality is, the only time I not only appeared a fool, but actually was one, were those times I heeded any voice but His. His supernatural wisdom always appears foolish to the natural mind, but His wisdom will always be vindicated if listened to. To what degree are we listening today?
 


Here in my latter years, I still seek to live a life that marks me as a fool for Him. This will be the fate of all who seek to know and live fully in Him. I am not a great man, I just have a great God. So do you. Can you trust Him, have confidence in Him, that despite all appearances to the contrary, He will bring you through, back, and to, all that He has purposed for you? Will you be a fool for Christ by walking in His wisdom and knowledge, which will always look foolish to the world.....and sometimes, to the Church as well? Boundless confidence. Boundless possibilities. This is the reality for every "fool for Christ." Is it yours?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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