The discussions in the Hebrews class last Sunday have been at the forefront of my mind this week, but one specific point has stood out to me the most: Life is an assignment. Have you ever thought about that? As Christians, every day of our lives- every second there is an assignment for us from God. Sometimes the assignments are big, and sometimes they are small, but they all exist for the same purpose: to reveal things to us and about us.
I got one such assignment two weeks ago. It was around 10 pm on a Tuesday, and I was heading to the grocery store after work to grab a snack for the drive home. My mom texted me to say my little brother was throwing up, and could I please grab some Pedialyte for him? I said yes happily- it wouldn’t even be going out of my way. I returned to my car and pushed the unlock button on my key fob. There was no response. Normal, I thought, I have always had issues with the fob. So I stuck the key in the door to unlock it manually- but the key wouldn’t go in. For the next ten minutes, I worked at “carefully” jamming my key into the lock, which of course then wouldn’t turn. I tried over and over to turn that stubborn lock, which must’ve been frozen with all the ice that had been blowing throughout the day, all while my hands were completely numb in the cold, and the little patience I had left was spent. After trying everything, there was a brief moment when I had the temptation to just punch in the window. I kind of always wanted to try that- and wouldn’t it be satisfying to spite my stubborn car? But I didn’t.
The next day I was finally able to see the humor in my situation. When I went back to my car, it was so encrusted with salt and ice it looked like it had been sitting abandoned for weeks. I tried the lock again, and this time it turned easily. Finally, I was able to leave the grocery store parking lot.
When I reflected on this all later, I remember the moment that evening when I realized I had two clear options of how I could react: 1. Laugh and see this as a moment that God was using to test my patience; 2. Be impatient, because I felt justified in feeling angry about the inconvenience. Yes reader, even though I knew the moment was an assignment, I chose the “easy” route of pleasing my flesh and doing the exact opposite of what I knew God wanted from me. Ultimately, I was disobedient.
I reminded of chapter one of 1 Peter:
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16)
“Preparing our minds for action… as obedient children…” This tells me that in order to be obedient and ready for what God has us to do, I must prepare ahead of time. Again going back to the assignment analogy, I see a lot of similarities in our assignments in life to homework or a test given by a teacher. There is an expectation of completion when the homework is received, and in order to do really well one must study. In a similar way, we must study for the “tests” that come in life. If we are not constant in prayer (Ephesians 6:18) and in God’s Word (John 8:31, Psalm 119:11, etc.), how are we to know the Holy Spirit’s direction in moments when we are tempted to act in accordance with our flesh? How are we to walk in obedience?
Sometimes, I think we all need to be reminded of the weight and importance of our assignment- I know I do. Too easily does this world distract me from what God has for me, even when it is right in front of my eyes! Romans 8:12-17 reminds me why my obedience is so important:
“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
We are the adopted sons of God. Can you believe it?! When I truly think about it, I hardly can. And we are His children no matter how stubborn we are, how immature or disobedient. He is our perfectly patient and merciful Father, who loves us so much He never stops the work He began on us. He continuously presents us with assignments of varying degrees of difficulty, revealing the true state of our hearts to us (He already knows).
Sometimes, seeing how far I have yet to go in my walk of faith can become discouraging. But whenever the challenges I face seem too much, or the temptation too great to overcome, I remember that God will always provide a way out and the strength to overcome (1 Corinthians 10:13, James 4:7, Galatians 5:1). He has equipped me for what He as assigned and called me to do.
The amazing thing is, our assignment doesn’t end in this life. We are being prepared for even greater things yet to come:
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9, quoting Isaiah 64)
I don’t know about you, but this makes me more motivated than ever to lean into the Spirit’s work on my heart, and makes me more excited than ever to see God’s assignments for my life.
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