Several years ago, my normal Christian life was interrupted.
I heard God’s voice calling me out of my comfort zone. He was calling me to develop my faith as never before. He was calling me to a new life, a new adventure. He was calling me into deeper waters.
Truthfully, I had no idea how little I understood this Christian life. After all, I had given my heart to Christ at the age of six and spent the vast majority of my life walking with God, teaching his word, serving him in the church. My kids considered church their second home. We spent at least as much time each week at church or church activities as we did at home. We were happy, content.
But I knew God was wooing me to a new, deeper walk. I knew that my life was going to change. I knew that I would be forever different. Honestly, if I had known then how difficult the journey was going to be, I’m not sure I would have accepted the challenge.
As I watched my life crumble, I ran from God…then he wooed me back. He so quietly and tenderly allowed me to come to grips with the chaos that had replaced my normal, happy life. As the days turned into weeks and the months turned into years, He began to reveal the true condition of my heart: the legalistic attitude, judgmental spirit, works-based mentality. He began to replace those attitudes with a kindness and compassion for others who were hurting. My strict list of rules began to be replaced with a graciousness that could only come from him.
Then, as the new me began to take hold, he began the journey to build my faith—complete with all the trials and tribulations necessary to purify and grow my faith. He began to make promises and stretch me. He began to show just how much I’ve put him in a box—an Americanized, westernized box—and limited his power in my life. He began to give me a longing to see his power poured out in my life, to see him do greater things in me and through me than I ever dreamed possible.
It’s been an amazing journey, one that I plan to continue for the rest of my life. I want to tap into all the power that is available to me, the power that resurrected Christ from the dead, the same power that is at work in me (Ephesians 3:20-22).
The more I write about this journey, the more I hear from others whose lives have been interrupted by God. Many have suffered the pain of adultery and divorce. Others have experienced unexpected calls to adopt or move to the mission field. Whatever the pain, whatever the interruption, God is raising up a generation that is willing to move out of the comfort zone into the realm of the unknown, where Jesus is (from the lyrics of Voice of Truth).
Best-selling author and fellow Oklahoma Baptist University alum Jen Hatmaker also experienced God’s interruption to her life. Her interruption was not the life-altering pain of divorce thrust upon her. Her interruption came simply through a holy discontent, a feeling that something was not quite right. As she uttered a simple prayer, “God, raise up in me a holy passion,” God began to chip away at her life-long traditions, her life-long methods of living the Christian life.
When we open ourselves up to God and earnestly pray a prayer such as Jen’s, we need to be prepared for the work God will do in us. We must ask ourselves if we are willing to surrender to the journey he has laid out for us. We must realize that our lives will be turned upside down, that we may be asked to do some wild and crazy things that make absolutely no logical sense.
And, we must be prepared to go completely against the flow of the American life. Instead of upward mobility, we must be looking to serve others (Matthew 20:26). Whoever wants to serve Christ must be willing to serve the outcasts, the downtrodden, the poor of this world (Matthew 25:45). You must let your heart be broken for the injustices that break God’s heart. You must reach a place where you are willing to walk in complete obedience no matter how outrageous that thing he is asking you to do.
Jen’s journey starts in the comfort of serving the saved and blessing the blessed. She was a busy author and speaker, flying around the country ministering in the comfort of American churches. God began the process of revealing his plan—to break her heart for the least of these. He began to soften her heart for the homeless, those in extreme poverty, those who didn’t even have the basic necessities. He began to move her from the comfortable pews to the homeless shelters. He began to show her what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ.
As Jen and her husband embarked on this journey, they began to realize just how little they actually lived the gospel. God led them to start a new kind of church, a missional church with the mindset of serving.
Interrupted is the story of the journey, the many steps God used to reveal his purpose, his plan. It’s the story of walking by faith, of following God even when it doesn’t make sense. It’s the story of stepping out of the boat and walking on water. It’s the story of letting God out of the neat little Americanized box you’ve held him in for way too long.
Are you looking to go deeper in your walk with God? Are you looking for more in your relationship with Christ? Are you looking for God’s full power and grace poured out on your life? If so, pick up a copy of Jen’s revised book Interrupted. But, make sure you are ready to be challenged, to move out of your comfort zone, to go all in with God.
Take a look at http://sittingroomradio.com/
The Sitting Room is a radio show hosted by Kathy Chiero on 610 WTVN in Columbus, Ohio. Kathy hosts the show where she tackles such tough topics as gay Christians, atheists and the Christian response, debt, and many more. August 31, the topic will be Life after Adultery. I am excited to announce that I will be one of the guests on the show that day!
I look forward to meeting with you in the Sitting Room!
And, here’s my latest from Crosswalk.com http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/what-does-it-mean-to-walk-by-faith.html