Called to Do Hard Things

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hammer-1629587_1280You have a mission. It’s a mission with a single objective: Enter the Kingdom of God.

There’s a time limit on your mission. You only have so many days, so many hours before it’s over—and then your work is required to speak for itself. “Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:12-13).

When the disciples asked Christ to increase their faith, He responded with the illustration of a master and his servant, asking, “Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do'” (Luke 17:9-10).

The bare minimum is easy, but it’s not enough. Filling a seat one day out of seven is not enough. Knowing the right words, doing the right things—even that isn’t enough.

Why? Because the goal isn’t breaking even. The goal is not maintaining. The goal is to shatter expectations and to break molds. The good ground is the ground that “bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23). The seed of God’s calling isn’t designed to produce onefold. Increasing our faith means pushing ourselves harder and climbing higher—expecting more out of ourselves than the bare minimum.

Peter describes the path to the Kingdom as a progression. Faith is only a starting point—along the way, we need to be refining it, adding to it, building on it, and increasing it. “For this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).

The traits we must add to our faith require action. We’re not going to wake up one morning with each of those traits perfectly developed and ready to use. Faith is not passive, and we don’t acquire virtue by just believing hard enough. We acquire it by striving to live virtuously. We develop knowledge through study and application. Self-control isn’t just a choice we make in the heat of the moment; it’s a mindset we cultivate over months and years.

On it goes. None of this just happens. It’s the result of hard work—of doing hard things. That’s what we’re called to do. Overcoming, putting on the armor of God, bringing every thought into captivity, stirring up the Holy Spirit—these are hard things. These are things that do not happen without concerted effort. The author of Hebrews tells us, “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God,” then admonishes us, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest” (Hebrews 4:9, 11).

Diligent. If we want to enter that rest, we’re going to have to strive for it. To “contend earnestly” (Jude 1:3) for it. If we want what’s waiting at the finish line, we must run for it. It’s not going to come to us.

“Therefore,” says Paul, “I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27).

You were called to do hard things. To bear much fruit. To shine like a light in a dark place. To flavor the world around you like salt. To show a world that has rejected their Creator what it means to be a child of God.

None of it is going to be easy. None of it is going to just happen. “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it” (1 Corinthians 9:24).

You have a mission. It’s a mission with a single objective: Enter the Kingdom of God.

The clock is ticking.

Until next time,
Jeremy

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