A few months back, God hit me with a revelation–a precursor to the stuff I’ve been learning of late. I didn’t do much with it at that point. I’m not sure why; I probably just wasn’t mature enough and not ready for it. But it came back up today, once again through Secrets of the Vine. I love this book.
So here it is (God speaking): Joel, you say you want focus in your life–that you’re pulled too many different directions and just want to be able to concentrate your energy in one location and see it flourish. Well, I have a focus for you: Me.
Another one of those “duh” moments in my life. How obvious, but elusive. The original revelation came when I was talking to the Lord about how “busy” I felt my life was and how I wasn’t finding true contentment in any one of the dozen things I had my hand in. This one came under similar circumstances: hectic work schedule, frustration with life purpose and fulfillment, sense of aloneness in my passions and desires.
Here’s the passage in Wilkinson’s book that brought it up the second time around:
Paul didn’t need to order his priorities. He had only one: “But one thing I do,” he wrote, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (vv. 13-14, NIV).
You may be thinking, Sure, a spiritual giant like the apostle Paul can live a life of radical pruning, but is that really what God wants for me, too? For your answer, don’t miss Paul’s closing exhortation: “All of us who are mature should take such a view of things” (v. 15, NIV).
Here is a testimony to the goal of mature pruning: that you will finally be so surrendered to God that everything you now love dearly–even worthy activities and goals–will be let go into God’s sovereign keeping. What remains in your grip is one passion, one goal, one unhindered opportunity: to bear more fruit.
The truth is, Christians who have experienced deep pruning don’t focus on what is left behind anyway. They’re given to courageous, hope-filled, forward-straining prayers on the order of this one from author John Piper:
Lord, let me make a difference for you
That is utterly disproportionate to who I am
So that’s where I’m at–a place I’ve longed to be for many years. I feel like I just cleared a major hurdle or climbed a substantial mountain. And it’s a feat I think many Christians fail to conquer.
But now that I’ve latched hold of this, I realize there are even greater tasks before me–ones that will be filled with increased resistance. Satan doesn’t want me here; focused, I’m a H U G E threat to his kingdom of darkness.
I love being dangerous. It’s part of being wild at heart.