I appeal to you therefore, brothers by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. – Romans 12
We have a growing group of believers in a Sunday night Discovery Group, who are enthusiastic about being missional for Jesus. The hardest part is to convince them that they have the freedom and authority to do the work of the Lord. Can we heal people? Am I able to teach, to witness, proclaim, lead others to Christ and, heaven forbid, even baptise?
They come with a lifetime of learnings that, well, need to be unlearned. For so long, the teachings of Jesus appear to have been filtered through a chosen few, such that “greatness” in God escapes the ordinary believer. How tragic. We forget that Jesus took a bunch of nobodies, and painfully transformed them into world-beaters such that they accomplished more in a few years than the Jewish-hierarchy achieved in a few millenia. He’s still doing it, though I wonder if at times it’s still just as hard work.
While freeing up the shackles, such ‘nobodies’ also begin to realise something else – Scripture is full of ordinary people that called on the armies of heaven to hear their prayers and act accordingly. They realised they weren’t alone, that through prayer their will might align with God’s and that as a Gracious and Loving Father he would act on their behalf – especially, when that entailed a breakthrough in a non-believers life, exposed to Jesus for the first time. You bet our Father will move.
So it is we come to the story of a young girl, a beautiful young believer who comes from a shattered background. She lives with a mother who is a chain-smoking alcoholic, bitter, angry and so against God. We prayed, fervently that this woman might have a breakthrough on account of her daughter, that her demeanour might change from aggression to peace. Over the years, in spite of the girl’s efforts, the mother was unrepentant and unrelenting, God had no place in her life, and no she wouldn’t ‘come to church’. The hardest part was convincing the daughter that she could speak into her mother’s life, that she could sit down and share a simple Scripture and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work. As a group we prayed expectantly that God would move.
How startled was she, when there was an abrupt change in her mother, that anger was replaced with tears, hostility with repentance. How delighted was she in sharing the story, that God had opened the eyes of the mother and the daughter; that as a child of God, she has the authority to ask Jesus to do the impossible, that she needs nobody else – not tradition, or learning, or background. Just Jesus. That it is in her simple obedience, not her knowledge, in child-like trust that God will answer and move. When he does, why are we then so surprised?
Friends, believe it, receive it. We worship God when we put our trust in Him alone, recognising what he has given us. He so wants all of us to have such faith in His Son, that we come believing, expectant, receiving. He alone affirms us and gives us the authority and it is all we need. The Woman at the Well went and told an entire village about the Messiah, and the village was completely transformed on her account.
God wants you, just you. In the right circumstance, at the right time, ready and expectant to respond. Us, a living sacrifice prepared to move on his word. True worship, full of expectation that our Father will move. How wonderful.