Today's devotional has been adapated from a new post I wrote celebrating 10 years of Paul Tripp Ministries, Inc. Read The Full Post...
It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made.
I loved my work at The Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF), but God was producing a restlessness in my heart. It became clear that He was calling me to something else, so in June of 2006, we launched Paul Tripp Ministries, Inc.
(In case you’re wondering, we chose that name not because I’m full of myself, but because we live and minister in the age of the Internet, and I wanted people to be able to Google my name and get my ministry website.)
I will confess that I launched into this new endeavor with much fear. There were times when I felt crazy to leave a stable ministry life where I was well taken care of. There were times when I was captured by the fears of where, when and how my gifts would be used.
If you're anything like me, you're afraid of the unknown too. And if you serve the same God as I do, there will be moments when He calls you to do something scary for the advancement of His Kingdom.
The reason these fears plague us is because we’re not sovereign. We don’t know what’s going to happen this afternoon, let alone next month or next year. But there are a few things we do know from Scripture, and in these moments, we must preach these truths to ourselves again and again:
1. When God sends us, He goes with us.
The Great Commission is bracketed by two promises: divine power ("All authority") and divine presence ("I am with you always"). It doesn't matter what follows the command to "Go" because Jesus guarantees the impossibility of us ever being in a situation, location or relationship on our own.
2. God gifts those whom He sends
God is never a poor steward of the gifts that He blesses us with. He doesn’t just bless us with gifts, but He also blesses us with specific opportunities where those gifts can be used.
3. God accompanies His call with His provision.
I’ve said this many times: If God puts a Red Sea in front of you and He means for you to cross it, He’ll build a bridge, send a boat, give you the ability to swim, or part the waters Himself. If He calls you to the other side, He’ll make a way for you to get there!
4. God redeems our failures.
Apart from our lack of sovereignty, we're also afraid of the unknown because we're afraid of us. I wish I could say that my ministry has been free from failure, but I can’t, so it's not uncommon for us to shy away from opportunity because we're afraid to mess up again.
This is where the Lord's words to the Apostle Paul are needed. He said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9) Some of the most precious moments of my ministry have been experienced in the context of the clearest of my failures. Our failures are not the dark closet that God shuts the door on and begrudgingly ignores, but rather a new door He opens that leads to transformation.
So, the next time God calls you to the unknown, don't be afraid to be afraid, and don't allow that fear to paralyze your faith. Remember, Jesus accompanies you, gifts you, provides for you, and works through you even when you fail!
P.S. - there are other important truths that we need to preach to ourselves. They can be found in my post, 10 Years, 10 Blessings.
- What is God calling you to do in faith that's creating fear in your heart?
- Why might you be afraid of this calling? Try and pinpoint specific reasons.
- Which of the above truths from Scripture do you need to preach to yourself this week?