When I was in high school I memorized the book of Acts. It was externally motivated. I was a Bible quizzer and I'm a little competitive. In any case, during that time I found what I wanted to be my life verse. Acts 20:24 "However I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me, the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." It sounded like a good summary of a life serving the Lord to me, so I decided on it. I had no idea exactly what that commitment would look like. Over time during different circumstances in my life God has asked me to reconsider that verse and seriously consider if I meant what it said. Is my life, my wants, my desires really worth nothing to me in order to be obedient to the Lord's calling on my life? This past year has produced some of those circumstances and has made me evaluate my life more than I ever have before. God called me to be obedient in a way that I really didn't want to be. And He made it very clear that in my obedience my life, my desires, my wants needed to be set aside in order to complete the task that He had given me. I made that choice, but it wasn't with a joyful heart. It was with sorrow. Putting our selfishness to death is not an easy task and has to be frequently revisited after the initial decision. But one of the consequences of putting our selfishness to death that this specific verse does not address (but is addressed elsewhere in the Bible) is the joy that we will experience in it. And this joy will not be experienced just in eternity with our Lord, but God is so gracious that He lets us experience it here on earth as well. And so now I fulfill the second half of that verse—testifying to the gospel of God's grace. In ways that I couldn't even imagine God has been so gracious to me and filled me with joy here on earth since my decision to be obedient. One small moment of extreme joy was yesterday when my husband and our youth pastor had the opportunity to baptize nine adults. Wow! It was one of the most amazing things I've gotten to experience and I really feel that one of the reasons I got to experience it was because of my obedience.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him all creatures here below,
Praise Him above the hosts,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost!
Amen and Amen!