As I’ve been preparing for 2020 and reflecting on 2019 God has brought a word to my mind for some of my personal struggles of comparison, value, pride, anger and, at times, a sense of frustration based on how I think things should go. The word is “undeserving,” and it’s a mindset that I want to come to embrace more fully, to both silence my sinfulness and to help me live in the reality of God’s grace. While this is a word God has given me personally, the old adage is “as the leader goes so goes the organization.” For this reason, and because I know if we all realized how undeserving we are, we’d live more freely and fully as Christ has called us, this is my prayer for Real Life in 2020.
I pray each person at Real Life would daily reflect on how undeserving we are of the GRACE and LOVE that God has given us. Yes, God has given us intrinsic value as image bearers of Him and because of that each human has eternal worth, BUT we each have screwed things up, rebelling against our creator. My sin tells God, “I want to be King. I want to call the shots. It would be better if I were in charge. Get off your throne and give it to me.” Our holiness, church attendance, giving record, lack of swearing, or any other expression of goodness doesn’t qualify us for God’s love and grace. Yet, despite our sin, the work of the cross is already done, the price is already paid, the gift has already been given. Incredible and completely undeserved!
God, would you allow us to daily realize how undeserving we are of your grace and love so that we can live our lives in constant thanksgiving and amazement of who Jesus is and what He has done?
I pray each person at Real Life would live more boldly for Christ because they come to understand how undeserving they are. I believe that allowing the reality of our undeservedness to sink deeply into our thoughts will produce lives that want to spread the Good News through our service, sacrifice, and our conversations. I pray that as we praise God for all that He has done, we would take our awe and live gratefully indebted to Him, knowing that His underserved grace and love is not just given to us, but available for all people. I pray that we can look at our neighbors, co-workers, classmates, and friends, who don’t know Jesus, and feel compelled to talk to them about our faith; not because it’s a “Christian responsibility”, but because we realize what God offers is SO incredible, that we are SO undeserving. That it would be unnatural to not share the priceless bounty we’ve been given.
God, as our understanding of our undeservedness increases, would your Spirit use that to move us to spreading the truth of what you’ve done, the offer that is for all people? Would you help us be a people who would say, “I’m shocked that God did this for me, and that I get to know Him… How can I not share what I’ve been graced with, with others?”
I pray that as a church (and as your pastor) we (I) would more fully realize that each person that comes to Real Life is an undeserved gift from God for us (me) to show God’s love to, for as long as they decide to stay. This last prayer is a bit more personal to my struggles but has implications for us to be the church God wants us to be. I deeply desire for Real Life to grow, to grow in impact, in our love for God, in people who are eager to make Jesus > everything. When someone leaves the church it deeply hurts, even when someone doesn’t think I know them, I notice. Those who don’t come anymore, and the hurt of familiar faces no longer being part of the community, can easily turn to frustration and, in an attempt to protect myself from the pain, turn to “just not caring.” Instead of either of these reactions, I pray that we can all realize (especially me) that any person that decides to be part of this community is completely undeserved. Great worship, leadership, teaching, programs, or community don’t earn “deservedness.” I think we have all of these, but that doesn’t mean that God owes us any of the growth we desire. Every person is a gift. Every blessing is a gift. Every inch of growth is a gift. Every breath is a gift.
God, would you allow us all to see each person that comes to Real Life as an undeserved gift that we have the opportunity to show your love to? Would you gift us with greater impact, greater love for you, more people making you> everything? If those things don’t happen would you help us gain our confidence in who you are, not what we have or haven’t accomplished?
Real Life, I pray that in 2020 we grow in our realization of how undeserving we are of any of God’s grace, love, or any of His good gifts, we would all praise Him with our lives for the grace, love and all the good gifts He has already given us.
IN JESUS NAME, AMEN