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Prioritizing God’s Kingdom Over Our Plans

by CARISSA JOY STRUM PURPOSED God’s guidance & direction Expectations Dependence Reliance Obedience Purpose Trust Hearing God & Understanding His Will Abide Spiritual wellness
Prioritizing God’s Kingdom Over Our Plans
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“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over and join this chariot.’ So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.”
Acts ‭8:26-31

“I’m just doing so much!” “I’m constantly busy.” “I’m so overwhelmed.” 

Have you heard things like this lately from others... or from yourself? Whenever I hear these words, little *bing bing comparison* lights go off in my mind, and I wonder if I’m doing enough. I tend to value the quantity of what I’ve accomplished over the quality of the accomplishments themselves. A few weeks ago, the sermon at church was very convicting, and I felt that it would be valuable to spend some time thinking about it at home. But when I got home from church, I felt so overwhelmed by my to-do list that I worked on homework and checking things off instead of allowing myself to dwell in God’s presence and welcome His work on my heart. I chose what felt productive instead of what would bring me closer to God. 

In the days of the early church, Philip (a follower of the Lord) was in the midst of a thriving ministry in Samaria, reaching a ton of people for Christ. How incredible! Then, the Spirit called Philip from Samaria to somewhere else. Reading this passage in Acts 8, we might think that the Spirit is going to move Philip to even bigger places with even more people. But where does God send Philip? To a desert... to talk with one eunuch. Imagine how Philip must have felt. He had just been in the middle of a productive ministry for God, and God called him away. Sometimes God calls His people away from what seems productive. Sometimes we’ll be in the middle of a thriving ministry, but God will call us to move. This requires a trust in our God that is bigger than our reliance on our understanding (see Proverbs 3:5-8).

It takes faith and guts to let go of our ideals of a productive ministry and embrace full obedience to God. Imagine how it would feel to let go of our expectations and cling tightly to God’s commands. Whether God calls us to leave our ministry for another one or to simply walk the next step in faith, let’s seek to prioritize the commands of our God over the expectations of ourselves. 

This week, how will we respond when God interrupts our productive routines?

Closing Prayer
Father, thank You for having purposes for the world You created. Thank You for choosing to use us for those purposes and for Your kingdom. Please help us to release any expectations or opinions that are not of You. We release those even now into Your hands. Please tune our hearts to Your Spirit and lead us. Thank You for being our Shepherd and King. We love You! Thank you for drawing us close to You and teaching us each day. In the powerful and precious Name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
Activity: Make a “T” List Write a big “T” on a blank piece of paper. On one side of the T, write down things that God values. This does not have to be an exhaustive list and it does not need to be in any particular order. Just jot down things that pop out to you as you read God’s Word and interact with His people. (You can keep this list near your Bible and add to it while reading the Word and having time with Jesus, if you’d like!) On the other side of the chart, list things that you prioritize. As you look at this chart, consider crossing out some things that you feel stressed about that may not be priorities to God (for example: being constantly productive, maintaining a perfect GPA, sharing the Gospel a specific number of times, etc.). The things you cross out may be good things, but they might not need to be held as such high priorities. As you plan out your weeks and months, keep this list nearby as a tangible reminder of the peaceful values of God. Let this paper serve as a helpful guideline of who we want to be in light of our King’s priorities.
Question for Reflection

What’s one area of ministry that you love? What’s an area or opportunity that you feel God might be calling you to obey His call and step into?

Carissa Joy Strum
November 18, 2020

I love helping on the worship team at my church! However, God is reminding me I can worship and glorify Him whether or not I’m on stage. God has been calling me to trust Him and to allow Him to switch up my daily schedule. For example, at work recently, someone asked me a question about God. I was tempted to rush it, since I was almost done for the morning, but I felt God wanted me to linger and give a thoughtful response. I’m excited to see what God continues to teach me, and I’m thankful for His consistent faithfulness!

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