We can often use this as a get out clause. IF ONLY…
If only…all the t’s were crossed and the i’s dotted then I would feel better about saying yes.
If only…all the ducks were in a row, everything sorted, then I would go for it.
If only…angels would visit me then I would know God really wanted me to.
If only…I knew it would be a success.
Just as well those in the early Church didn’t have this philosophy. Think about it for a moment. If they had lived with an ‘if only’ attitude then you & I may never have heard the Gospel.
If only people weren’t hunting us down.
If only persecution wasn’t waiting for me.
If only people just believed and got it straight away.
If only it weren’t so inconvenient.
If only the Spirit would stop telling me that ‘prison and hardships are facing me’ [Pauls words in Acts 20:23]
They were incredible. The commitment to the cause transcended all their personal preferences. They gave everything for what they believed. Let’s be honest – we think we give everything but we rarely do. We give what we can afford, we give what we can, we give in a measured way, we give until it becomes inconvenient, we give thinking of what we might get in return.
When I read the book of Acts I am challenged. In fact I am confronted by a faith that goes beyond my 21st Century, Westernised, comfortable-living style of giving.
‘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’.[Acts 20:24]
Please Lord, let me have the attitude like Paul. One that says ‘whatever it takes, being up for the challenge of telling others of the Good News of Jesus, whatever the cost’. Let me mean it too. Let this not just be another prayer to look good. Lord, put me in places that FORCE me to count the cost. To give. To give everything.
Are we IN?
I don’t think the Apostle Paul would consider that there was really any other way.