One of my preaching mantras is that, when I preach, I always want to preach for life change. I want to do my best to ensure that God's people have something in their heads when they leave that will eventually work its way out to their hands. Even if its something just as simple (simple???) as resting more securely in God, I want them to have it. Exegetical sermons, doctrinal sermons, textual sermons . . . they can all give great knowledge--which IS important--but they also have to make a difference in the lives of God's people. Knowledge, by itself, is not enough. There must also be faith, and faith is a living, active thing.
So should I be surprised when God expects more of me? If I want to be His instrument to change people's lives, should I not also expect Him to stretch me, to mold me, to challenge me? Why then do I resist His shaping hand?
It so often feels as though He is using a hammer and chisel to shape me. I'd prefer to be molded like soft clay. Perhaps . . . just perhaps . . . life change is hard because I'm hard. You can't mold solid rock with your bare hands, and God isn't the type to use the wrong tool for the job.
If I want to be used to make an impact, I need to be prepared for God to shape me first. It's as simple as that. Doesn't mean I have to like it or particularly enjoy it . . . but I want it all the same. I suppose the opposite--that God will let me be if I don't want to do anything particularly meaningful--is also true. But while that may mean more comfort for the moment, it would also mean dying the thousand deaths of the coward . . . too afraid to be anything other than small . . . too afraid to trust radically in God.