by Tiffany S.
from Virtuous Daughters, December/January 2018~Volume 18, Number 5
Recently I was reading through an old journal and found some lessons the Lord had taught me about "wholehearted devotion to Christ." It was good for me to be reminded of these things, and I thought I would share with you as well!
First Corinthians 7:34 tells us that our single years are a priceless opportunity to serve the Lord without distraction. But sometimes it seems like the longer we wait, the easier it can be to become distracted. :) (I remember reading Titus 2:13 "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ," and being challenged to stay on the "look-out" for the glorious appearing of my Savior, not the glorious appearing of someone else! :)) How can we keep our eyes on Christ and offer Him single-hearted devotion during this season of our lives?
God used the life of Ezekiel to teach me some important truths along these lines. Read with me about the Lord's calling on Ezekiel's life: "And He said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against Me: they and their fathers have transgressed against Me, even unto this very day. For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them. And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. And thou shalt speak My words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious. But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee." - Ezekiel 2:3-8
The Lord has called us to Himself and to follow Him in a way that the world does not understand. When someone questioned some of my convictions, I was reminded of how radical our calling is to be separate from the world, and how critical it is that we walk by faith, not sight. (I am encouraged by Noah's example in this area!)
In our calling to serve the Lord, if we don't see fruit, or an impact, or the blessing we had envisioned, we might begin to feel like something isn't working. But we must take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and renew our minds with the truth of His Word. We should also discern our motives: why are we serving the Lord? Is it for His glory or personal gain?
When I look at Ezekiel, I see that what made his calling significant and worthwhile was not something that could be measured, nor was it something tangible or visible. It wasn't how popular he was. It definitely wasn't the impact his message had on the people - God never promised the people would obey or even listen to him. What made Ezekiel's calling significant and worth holding onto was the fact that God had called him. He obeyed God's calling! God's callings are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). Ezekiel was faithful to God's call even when the rebellious house didn't listen. Clearly, he was devoted to the Lord God, not to a way of life, popular opinion, or even the Israelites themselves.
Also interesting to me was that God warned Ezekiel to not be rebellious like the people he was called to minister to...for Ezekiel to not embrace God's calling - God's will for his life - would have been rebellion for Ezekiel. (Jonah is an example of this.)
What has God called us to as young women? Single-hearted devotion to Christ. The specifics of that will look different for each of us, but God commands all of us to "abide in our calling with God." (See 1 Corinthians 7:20, 24.) We must be faithful to our Lord even if we don't see "results." (As a sidenote, it would be tiring - or actually, impossible - if God merely told us to "abide in our calling," but He tells us to "abide in our calling with God"! This is how we receive ultimate fulfillment and grace for the calling. We have the Lord with us every minute, and there is fulness of joy in His presence [Psalm 16:11]!)
I share these lessons from a heart that is endeavoring to live them out by God's grace. I would appreciate your prayers that I would not yield to the enemy's lies or be distracted from my First Love, Jesus Christ. James 5:10-11 has encouraged me greatly: "Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." I remember one summer feeling discouraged...I felt that I had tried to be faithful to the Lord but wasn't seeing all the blessings I had envisioned that He would give. He graciously brought to mind these verses and showed me that I won't see the fulness of God's mercy until the end. Job didn't see it in the midst of his walk of faithfulness to the Lord. Yet Job's end was more blessed than his beginning (Job 42:12) because his devotion to God was tested and came forth as gold (Job 23:10, 1 Peter 1:7).
If I were Ezekiel, I might have been tempted to think, "I'll continue to be faithful as long as people are convicted and making changes, or they at least listen to the message." But our calling is to remain faithful because God has called us...and that's all that matters! My prayer is that each of us will be set apart entirely for Christ and be faithful to love and obey Him, for He loved us first.
May you be encouraged in the new year as you seek to embrace single-hearted devotion to Christ!
The Article Library
This "Library" contains articles that were published in previous issues of Virtuous Daughters. It will keep growing as we continue to upload articles from the 20 years of printing. We pray they are an encouragement to you!