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)
Conventional wisdom is that you can achieve anything you choose by setting goals, working hard, and believing in yourself. In God’s service, my experience has in some ways been the opposite: release personal goals; focus your confidence in God, not yourself; and stay flexible in His hands.
I’ve found that getting beyond our own agendas and abilities expands our horizons. In many respects, dependence on Him frees us from our personal limitations.
At various times in my life, I thought, “I will only write classical music”. Then, “I will only write lyrics.” Then, “I will only write hymns.” But staying available to Him has led me into many other areas: devotional books; evangelistic materials; Sunday School curriculum; teaching. Six days a week I post a short devotional thought on Facebook. This blog was another step of faith which I could never have foreseen just a few years ago.
Stay open to God’s surprises. I find that very few of my hymns are planned. I don’t sit down to write them. God blind-sides me with delightful inspirations and opportunities. I’ve find that He is indeed “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV). His work through us need not be limited by our ambitions, abilities, or imagination. The limits are “his power that is at work within us”.
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:13, NIV)
Serving God is wonderful and exciting freedom—freedom from self-dependence, freedom from binding ambitions, freedom from narrow, self-centered horizons. Serving Him is freedom to simply follow. It is being “workers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9) as He saves people from their sin and draws them to Himself. It is constant availability, learning not to “live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3, NIV).