Friday, February 7, 2014

Joseph, Levites, and Vows: God's Will for My Life

This post will be most difficult for me to write. But then that is exactly why I am writing it. I have difficulty sharing about myself and that needs to change. But let me start with the direct motivation of this post.

In Sunday School this week, my class was blessed to hear a message on the life of Joseph. It was geniusly called, "Lessons from the Life of Joseph." I simply wrote "Joseph" at the top of my sermon notes journal.

Our teacher would start talking about the dreams that Joseph had and how he responded. After a short discussion of how we should not be complacent in our walk with the Lord, and always striving for more, he expresses how we can't be afraid to share what the Lord has put in our heart.

Indeed, sharing with your fellow believers should be an encouragement to both you and those with whom you speak. You shouldn't hesitate for fear of how others will respond. You must speak and be unashamed.

I never thought that I was ashamed of what the Lord had put in my heart. Indeed, I felt quite privileged to have been given the opportunity (though I fought it for weeks) to serve the Lord, yet how many times had I had an opportunity to tell those around me, but said nothing? Too many to count, I'm afraid.

But now you are really wondering what I am talking about, aren't you? Due to this Sunday School lesson, I plan to share with my few faithful readers (and anyone else who happens to view this post at any time) exactly what the Lord has shown me in the last few months.

If you remember from my earlier post, last summer I had plans to attend Grove City College and study Economics. As I said there, this ultimately didn't work out, and that was the best decision that has ever been forced upon me (I would say it's the best decision I ever made, but I didn't exactly make it). The Lord had much greater plans for my life than I could ever see.

The Lord had me where he wanted me, in Ohio, with my family and with my church, both institutions that have played a huge role in my spiritual development and would continue to have an impact over the past few months.

In the summer, I had started reading through the Bible yet again and in October, I was reading through the book of Numbers. Numbers is rarely seen as convicting and powerful, but leave it to me to find the most unusual way to truth ever! As I read through Numbers, I kept reading that the Levites were set apart for the work of the Lord. I heard the Lord speak simply, you too.

I ignored it. Indeed for the next few days, I had to force myself to sit down and do my devotions as I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want to be in full-time ministry! Surely, you wanted me to be an economist, Lord!

But I did continue my daily devotions. I would continue to hear the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Then it began to happen during sermons.

I could no longer ignore the conviction after the October 31 service. My pastor gave a sermon about something I don't even remember what, but in a minor sub-point, he referred to Numbers 30:2,
"If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth."

This verse doesn't seem overly important, but as soon as Pastor read it, the Lord caused me to remember the vow a naive 10 year old boy, committing himself to full-time ministry. I told myself that was nothing. That the Lord wouldn't care about the vow of a naive little boy, but I couldn't shake the fact that the Lord caused me to remember it.

That night, I surrendered to the possibility that economics wasn't where the Lord wanted me. Yes, just a possibility. Whether because I was worried about rushing into a wrong decision or because I was holding on to some faint trace of faithlessness, I would only commit to pray about the situation further.

By Thanksgiving, I had told my parents about the possibility. I continued to pray about it until I had such peace about this decision that this was definitely God's will for my life. I wished I could tell you when this happened, but I don't exactly know. I believe it was during 2013, what would have been the fall semester of my Freshman year at Grove City College had the Lord not intervened. I don't know where my life would be had I gone to Grove City, but it certainly wouldn't be here. I would not be looking for colleges to learn more about the Bible. That is why I say not going to Grove City was the best thing that ever happened to me.

If you have any suggestions or advice for me as I pursue this further, I would greatly appreciate the help. If nothing else, would you please pray about me as I make important decisions over the next few weeks.

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