Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)
The conventional wisdom is this: You can achieve anything you choose if you work hard enough and believe in yourself.
As a servant of God, that has not been my experience.
Yes, it is energizing to be inflamed with a goal and a purpose. And hard work and confidence are necessary if we are to press ahead through innumerable discouragements.
But in God’s service I’ve experienced three crucial differences:
1. Rather than “achieving anything you choose,” I’ve had to give up all personal ambitions. Repeated setbacks have forced me to recommit myself–to release each personal goal and hope for achievement. My ambition has been reduced to this: I only want God’s purpose to be accomplished, whatever it is.
2. I’ve had to lose faith in my own abilities and believe only in God’s ability and faithfulness. He’s thrown me in so far over my head that I’ve had to just cling to Him. I am confident, but I’m confident in God, not myself.
3. Instead of pressing toward one long-term goal, shoving everything else aside, I’ve discovered how vital it is to simply trust and obey Him one hour at a time, one task at a time. I don’t know what He will lead me to do 15 minutes from now. My job is to stay tuned to Him, to stay willing and available.
What is the result of all this? More next time.