"We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." Colossians 1:28-29These verses were the theme of this morning's sermon at church. I found them perfect in timing. You see, I am getting ready to start up again the bible study with the same women that I was in one before. As I have purchased the studies and have been praying about the time, people, that the Spirit would go before us, I found myself getting so nervous. Asking lots of questions, like, "Why do I do this?", "There is so much discipling that really needs to be done, more than I can offer and more than I even know how to offer." or "Who am I to offer my thoughts on their such different culture and their such different life experiences...?"
But, as the pastor started preaching on this he hit three points....
1. Do the work of the Lord without grumbling
2. Do the work of the Lord without being afraid
3. Do the work of the Lord without shame
I was convicted by my thoughts and attitude as of late. I had started allowing small grievances to enter my conversation and little complaints here and there to my husband. Then the Spirit immediately took me to my thoughts on bible study. I was afraid, I am afraid of failing at something I love, something I would say, "breathes life into me." What if there is no change in these women, no stepping towards Christ..... what if they think I am a silly white woman? I was becoming embarrassed about being white because it immediately put me in a different category and it will nullify anything I might have to say. You see what I am saying? The pastor's three main points hit me on the head!
I was grumbling, I was afraid and I was living in shame at my differences. But the key is in verse 28. I live here and I desire to teach these women because I want to be a part of presenting everyone "perfect in Christ". I mean really, isn't that my responsibility? I am living life with them, alongside of them, participating in the same activities, shouldn't I be proclaiming Christ to them and teaching them???? Why? So they may be presented as PERFECT!! I want to be presented as perfect and I want my sisters on the other side of the world from my birthplace to be also presented as perfect.
I cannot do it! But as I struggle, it will be "struggling with HIS energy" that is at work in me. This is why I do a bible study. To this end I labor in Christ. I pray I don't forget it. Lord, help me to remember!
So, as I move forward doing what I believe the Lord has called me to do, I will daily need to remember it is for the love that the Lord is growing in me for these women living here that I do it. I will be living in eternity with them! I am not ashamed God made me a white woman (even though the nigerians may see me as silly at times), I am not afraid to fail (even though by this world's standards I might) and I want to give my thoughts to the Lord so my desire to complain is brought to an end. I pray all of you are doing your parts as well in these verses and that you might find yourself with the same resolve as I am finding myself.
Oh, and by the way, the picture on the top is of a group member and I liked it with this blog entry because I think Back2Back is here in Nigeria because we are following the leading of the Lord working here and wanting to join him in where he is working. Kind of sweet, huh? To be working where He is working!!