Doing the hard thing.

Then Moses told the Levites, “Today you have ordained yourselves for the service of the Lord, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Today you have earned a blessing.” – Exodus 32:29

When Moses had gone up the mountain to receive the Lord’s Law, the people didn’t know what happened to him and demanded that they have a “god” to lead them. They chose to take gold and craft an idol. God told Moses to go down the mountain and take care of the mess. When he got there, he called for all those on God’s side to step over to where he was. Then, he had the Levites kill those in the camp who submitted themselves to the revelry of idolatry. They killed 3,000 people including their own family members. Moses told them that they had ordained themselves for God’s service by doing the hard thing – killing people including family.

Have you ordained yourself for the service of God by doing the hard thing? Most people claiming to be Christians have not set themselves apart for God’s service, but they have instead just resigned themselves to “riding the pine.” They sit back among the crowd of the congregation and expect the “preacher” or other “ministers” to do the priestly service. They have forgotten that God has called all his people as a chosen generation as a kingdom of priests. We all have the responsibility of sharing the good news of Jesus with all people. Our Great Commission demands that we set ourselves apart from the world for God’s service. That separation requires that we do the hard thing – not be like the world. The world offers a party everyday, but the truth is that it leads to death and destruction. NOT so much a party, eh? Live like you really are God’s child and stand against the tide of temptation to be like the world. God’s Holy Spirit will empower us to live that holy life because we can’t do it on our own. However, the decision to live that holy life and be different is our decision, much like the Levites who refused to take part of the idolatrous revelry like the others.

Father, have I ordained myself to be your servant? I know that you have ordained me to be your servant, which is the only ordination that counts, but I want to know within me the truth. Like Paul, I choose to die to me daily and lift you up, so that I may decrease. It is hard to live a holy life before you. Without your Spirit empowering me to do so, it’s impossible to be holy. Sure, I know that I have to want to be holy and choose to be holy, so help me please. I will do the hard thing that identifies me as your servant. I don’t want to be a part of the world. I want to be your holy servant and do all that you’ve called me to do. May my life be a billboard that exemplifies and advertises to the world that being different for God’s kingdom is an awesome thing and not a drag. Life with you is and should be a blast! Not everyone wants to do the hard thing. They don’t want to have to work or suffer for you, but I am willing to do what it takes. Thank you for making me your child. In Jesus’ name, Amen.