What is fuelling us?
“18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Paul’s letter to the Epheisans 1:18-23, NIV)
Determination works for a while. Gritting one’s teeth and pushing through; making a go of it; as English users we clearly get creative when it comes to describing the act of making an effort despite challenge.
Something I’ve been thinking about lately is that there is a difference between doing something with determination and doing something fuelled by excitement and God’s divine energy. Determination isn’t necessarily wrong, but God’s power is a bullet train.
In New Testament Greek this is dynamis – the same root gives us dynamic and dynamism. There’s altogether a lot more energy in my actions when they are powered by God.
I think back to when I first contemplated joining my first mission trip, which was to Uganda in November 2014, to assist with a SOMA teaching mission requested by a bishop in a beautiful part of SW Uganda. One day I was thinking about the announcement that there would be a mission trip, the next minute in my curiosity I was avidly reading everything I could about the place. From that moment on I was hooked, and agreements that might have been difficult fell into place very quickly. God had set up dominoes and was just waiting for me to push the first one and show an interest. His will was not hard to discern. I just had to jump on board. It had a powerful engine all its own.
The challenge in all this, I’m finding, is to discern what is of man and what is of God. Am I excited about a particular ministry because it’s God’s direction for my life, or because the grass seems greener on the other side? Are excited conversations with people about travel, or worship, or a hundred other things, an indication of a new direction in life, or am I idolising people with skills I covet and losing sight of God who is the source of the energy?
In church last night there was a powerful sense of the presence of God. As we sang together and fixed our thoughts on who God is, the focus became God, and the sense of his mighty strength and great love was real. In those moments, no fears can grip our hearts. We can sing words that speak of great trust, our hearts full of hope.
I want to live like that when the music stops too. After the head-spinning wonder of feeling so in tune with him yesterday, I want to keep singing even when the dreams have to be put into practice, and the challenge of living a day well come into sharp focus.
God knows this. It’s no surprise to him. I am encouraging myself today that he knows what I need, so I will remember that his reality comes first.