Wait for the Invitation
Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!
Psalm 27:14 (NKJV)
We ought to wait for the sure and certain invitations in our lives.
There is a place for discipline, mental strength, determined grit, endurance, drive, and competition. But what we need more than any of those is discernment of God’s timing and the patience to wait for His invitation to move.
There was a mother who was gifted as any could be, but she was only able to clean white people’s homes because of lack of opportunity and access. This mother raised a boy who would grow to be six feet nine inches tall—towering physically, but meek in spirit. This young man, John Thompson, was not ashamed or afraid to be patient and humble, and he consistently sat in the lowest seats in life. Among these was the acceptance of a coaching position at Georgetown, an all-white university founded from the money earned by the sale of 272 slaves.
God saw John Thompson sitting there in a lowly position and effectively invited him higher. In that coaching role, John constructed a powerhouse program that graduated men who would have never been afforded the opportunity otherwise.
This was the key to John’s recruiting philosophy: every time he was invited to go watch a basketball player who was generally considered talented and promising, he fixed his eyes instead on a player serving in a lesser role on the team. He built his teams picking those who were in the lower places and inviting them the high and lofty success of Georgetown basketball.
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you need to just steward your role from where you are because God already knows your dreams. God already knows what’s on your heart. He knows what you bring to the table of life, and He has high places in store for you. But you’ve got to let Him do the inviting.
That often means waiting longer than you are comfortable with. God doesn’t extend the invitation until His providence has already taken care of the arrangements. You cannot be in a hurry; you must let Him set things in place through His divine synchronicity. If you let God work things together for your good, then by the time He invites you to come up to the higher place, you won’t have to fight, defend, deflect, or struggle against the circumstances around you. You can simply accept His invitation with a heart of gratitude.
Stop chasing, stop striving, stop struggling to make your plans happen outside of God’s timing. Instead, sit back and watch God bring you exactly what He has in store for you.
Who Will Put You in Your Place?
"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Luke 14:11 (NKJV)
In Luke 14, Jesus tells a parable based on behavior He had often observed. The parable is about guests who are invited to a feast. Upon arrival, they would all race competitively to the best places.
Jesus says, “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t seek out and sit in the best places.” The assumption that you’re entitled to sit there is wrong. Your assessment of how you rank among others is wrong. The nurturing of an overinflated self-perception is wrong. Don’t live like that.
Ranking, rating, and racing to the best seats based on an overly romanticized opinion of oneself is a telltale sign of inner disease.
When you race to place yourself higher, if someone more honorable arrives, the host will come to you and say, “You’ve got to give up your spot. It wasn’t for you in the first place. And it’s apparent that it doesn’t fit you.” And in the shame of it all, you’ll have to move down from that place, down from an overinflated perception of yourself, down from unhealthy perspectives, down because of internal misalignment, down because of spiritual depravity.
Jesus tells us what we should do instead: When you are invited, come in and go straight to the lowest place. Run to it. Race to it. And when the one who invited you sees you in the lowest place, he’ll come to you and say, “Friend, go up higher.”
Jesus makes one thing, crystal clear. He wants you and me to steward life in a way that He can invite you to come up higher. He will not leave you in the lowest place, but He wants you to onboard yourself there—to accept it in humility, so that He can invite you to a higher place.
You can’t handle more, or higher, or greater, or more substantial if you think you’re entitled to it. But if you accept the lowest place and can be grateful to the Lord from there, He can bless you to come up higher.
Put yourself in your proper place of humility, or God will do it for you. “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Who Are You?
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name."
John 1:12 (NKJV)
Who are you?
You may hang out with friends every Friday night who tell you that you're pretty, or that you're muscular, or that your hair looks good, or that you’re oh-so-fine. And that’s all well and good.
But who are you when you are sitting by yourself?
Who are you? Do you know? Maybe God is giving you times of isolation or hardship or persecution or silence so you can stop speaking what other people have been scripting about you and learn for yourself who you really are.
What really matters in your life? Who really matters in your life? How long are you going to let the things that have happened in your past restrict what can happen?
When are you going to get serious about asking God to make you who He wants you to be? Stop walking around talking and pretending and acting like you are ambitious about His plan for you, like you are just ready and waiting for it to come to pass. When you're truly ready to get to it, you'll be speaking to God about it instead of speaking to everyone else. When you can voice your desire for your life and ask God to put His power behind it, that’s when you are serious. How long are you going to speak to others instead of speaking directly to God about your future? When are you going to own it, pray about it, think about it, and chase it?
Only then will you be excited to ask knowing you shall receive. Only then will you be able to seek knowing that you shall find. Only then, like the Israelites, will you march around walls that seem impenetrable and voice your shout to bring them down.
What gives your life ultimate value and meaning is Jesus. Only in Him do we find a counter-cultural answer to the question of who we are.
Our worth, our identity, comes not from ourselves, or what we do, or from the affirmation and acceptance and embrace others. Our identity comes from who we are in Jesus Christ. Because of Him, we have become children of God.
Find Your Voice, Own Your Voice
When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
God did not save you to go around capitulating to what makes other people comfortable to the point of denying the ownership of your own voice. That type of mindset will infect your prayers. It’ll dilute your praise. It’ll make you ask for less than what God has intended in His divine destiny for you.
But if you can find your voice and own your voice, then no matter the competitive voices around you, you will have enough courage to go for what your faith says can be yours and to ask for what God has entitled you to. Every opportunity God has for you will require your faith, but then you’re going to have to own your voice in realizing that opportunity for your life.
Now, other people have their own agendas. Like with blind Bartimaeus, others will try to silence you, and warn you, and rebuke you to be quiet. And just like the man at the pool of Bethesda, people will not put you in the water of life’s opportunities simply because you’ve been hanging around for a long time. You’re going to have to find your voice and own your voice.
The things that God has convicted you about as it relates to what He expects of your life, the integrity with which He wants you to manage your human relationships, the vision He has plainly disclosed only to you, the places where He has given you influence—in all of these things you have to find your voice in order to connect vision to reality.
Not only do you need to find your voice, but you have to own your voice as well. Your voice is always connected to your deepest burden. I don’t mean burden as an unwanted weight. I’m talking about burden as a calling, an invitation from Jesus to connect your life to His purposes. I’m referring to the heavy compulsion to work at the plans He has for you.
Your burden doesn’t necessarily have to be limiting or painful or physical, but it will always be deeply personal. What are your deepest spiritual desires? What’s your deepest compulsion? What is that thing that God has created a yearning for within you? You have to own it, because it’s the strongest connection you will have to Jesus Christ. Whatever that is, your voice emerges from there.
Find your voice and own your voice.
You’re Ready for This
"His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."
2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)
You will never face anything for which God will not ensure that you are adequately prepared and significantly equipped.
I’m not saying you won’t get tired. I’m not saying you won’t get frustrated. I’m not saying you won’t get hit hard sometimes. I didn’t say that sometimes life won’t trip you up and knock you to your knees.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They will mount up on wings like eagles, run and not get weary, walk and not faint. You can be encouraged and stay encouraged because no matter how tired you are, every day you wake up, God is bringing daily bread to you. Every day, He supplies your needs according to Hs riches in glory. Every day, He’s got fresh manna. Every day, He’s got fresh anointing. Every day, He’s got fresh favor. Every day, He’s securing the hedge around you. Every day, He’s answering your prayers. Every day, He gives you wings like the eagles’ so that you can soar.
Don’t panic about the trouble you face. He’s already worked it out. All you have to do is walk it out, because He has worked it out. You walk it; He’ll work it. And if you walk by faith, you’ll discover that He’s had the plan synchronized all along. Your steps have been ordered.
God’s timing is a testimony to His eternality. He synchronizes events to make sure that nothing hits you for which you are not ready. You are always adequately prepared, as long as your faith is connected, healthy, and strong, and your convictions are deep in the soul. Your God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all you could ask or think.
These are perilous times we are living in, but that doesn’t matter. They are also the best of times if we live in the knowledge that our God is never going to leave us nor forsake us. He’s promised to be with us always, even to the end of age.
So live life today in the knowledge that you are prepared to handle whatever comes your way, thanks to Him.