I'm a Runner. Are You?

Just the other day...I was a teenager who knew the Lord, but I had fallen into rebellion. Instead of yielding to the spirit of the Lord gently warning me about the destructive path I was on, I chose to run. I ran from my youth minister. I "played" church for a while. I lied to my parents and others. I tried, very hard, to ignore God. Just as Jonah ran from the Lord's will and ended up in the belly of whale, I ran and ended up in a pit of my own. My sin, for a time, did make me happy...but in the end, just as the Bible warns, it brought destruction. I paid a high price.

Not too long ago, I realized I was running again. I was not choosing to blatantly sin as I had done as a teenager, but I was choosing to rebel against a calling I felt the Lord had placed on my life. You see, the last time the Lord used me in this calling, not even 30 minutes later, I was hit with a hardship that felt like a ripping open of my heart. I went, in seconds, from the emotional high of seeing the fruit of what the Lord had done, to utter discouragement and I am not being dramatic here...it was that black and white. In the midst of my tears, I made the statement, "If this is what I have to look forward to each time, I can't do it anymore."

With my words and more importantly, in my heart, I slammed the door shut.

Funny...it's easy to count the cost prior to having to pay up, but when service to God actually DOES bring about something hard...that's when you find out what you're made of, spiritually speaking.

It was a test. I failed miserably.

The cost was too great.


God sweetly came and helped me see what I had done...helped me remember what I had said...and most importantly, helped me to see the hypocrisy in my heart. On the one hand, I was praying to be used and on the other, I was refusing to allow myself to be used in the way He had chosen. I felt so ashamed.

In His kind and gentle way, God led me to repentance. I stopped running, threw up the white flag, and decided to get back in the game. I am fully aware that when I serve the Lord, there's a target on my back. But, I can face those arrows with courage, knowing He is with me and that ultimately, all the good He has in store will far outweigh any of the bad.

I will follow Him as He wills...because He is worth it! The gospel is worth it! People that need to be reached with the love of God...they are worth it!

My question to you today is...are you a bit like me?

Are you running? 

Just like the examples from my own life, I think you can either consciously run or "subconsciously" run. It doesn't matter which...in both instances, you are rebelling against God, essentially choosing your way and not His. When you rebel, it usually means that you are believing in a lie. Only God can show you what that lie is in your own life.

Below is a checklist...10 ways to know you are running. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will use it to reveal what's going on in your heart and if you're running, to oh-so-sweetly draw you back to Himself. The Father waits for you, with arms wide open!

1. You are neglecting the Word.
2. You are absent from church or only attend out of duty/tradition.
3. You do not pray, or if you do, it is very little and pretty careless.
4. You distract yourself with busyness (hobbies, volunteering, books, your family/friends, social media, etc.)
5. You brush off every nudge from the Holy Spirit.
6. You rationalize that you do not need God and that you are self-sufficient.
7. You avoid other Christians...especially those who know you've changed, fearing they might confront you.
8. You quickly change the subject or leave if God is mentioned in conversation.
9. You stop listening to Christian music or reading Christian literature.
10. You choose to sin, repeatedly, without much thought about the possible consequences.

"Father, I lift before You all of those who feel Your sweet conviction right now. It's a humbling experience to know that you've been running from the One who loves you most! I pray that You will draw close to each one and shower them with grace beyond measure. May each one be willing to fully surrender to you, determining in their hearts that instead of running away from you, they will run towards you, as the prodigal ran towards his father. Seal within each heart a new commitment of whole-hearted devotion. In the most precious name I know...the name of Jesus. Amen."

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