Are you living the life God desires? Are you embracing your identity in Him, and all that means and entails? Are you surrendering your gifts--the gifts He's given you, to be used by Him, for His glory and as He sees fit, or have you allowed a false sense of humility to hold you back?
Jesus said He came to give us life abundant. Full, satisfying life. Today our guest Kristen Hogrefe shares a secret on one of the ways we can grab hold of this precious gift God offers.
by Kristen Hogrefe
Whole. The word indicates completion, even perfection. A whole carton of eggs is one where no egg is missing or cracked. A whole loaf of bread hasn’t yet been sliced.
Although these things might be perfect and complete, they aren’t usable or even enjoyable until we crack and slice. We must first cook the eggs before we can savor them. Slicing must come before slathering butter or jam on a fresh piece of bread.
Afterward, the carton and loaf are no longer perfectly complete, but they’re serving their purpose more fully than they were originally.
Life is a little like that carton and loaf. God has given us gifts and abilities. Maybe we’ve practiced them, polished them, but we hesitate to make the first cut—to share them.
What if we fail? What if no one listens? What if no one appreciates our efforts?
I have bad news and good news. The bad news is that some people won’t listen or appreciate—or even begin to understand when we seek to live out the purpose God has for us. The good news is that they don’t matter (well, not much).
What matters is living obediently to God’s calling.
Since my teenage years, I’ve been singing in church but have little formal training. Although I never felt called to pursue a musical degree or career, I still enjoy singing solos and in ensembles when my music director asks me.
Sometimes, my voice sounds golden, and sometimes, well, it takes creative liberties I never granted it. I remember driving home after a not-so-flawless solo, wondering why I keep singing. There are many people better trained and more qualified than I am. Why did the choir director give me the solo in the first place?
The answer seeped slowly into my soul. God never called me to be perfect, as much as I would like to be. He called me to praise Him and point others to Him.
“He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:3 NKJV)
When we live wholeheartedly, we use whatever gifts we have with faithfulness—not for the praise of men but for the glory of God.
Even when we feel prepared, giving of ourselves involves risk. I’ve been writing for nearly two decades, and no matter how many times I read over a project, I always find something to cut, change, or improve.
At some point, though, I have to let go—to release my control and let God take my words and use them how He chooses.
Humility isn’t self-deprecating and doesn’t belittle while secretly hoping for elevation. Instead, a humble attitude recognizes that God can and does use us—flaws and all—to work out His plan.
The prerequisites for service don’t require advance placement. Micah 6:8 spells out God’s entry-level expectations.
“… And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?” (NKJV).
We’re not responsible for the outcome when we use our gifts. We must only be obedient and use them.
Go ahead. Slice the bread, and generously spread God’s love using the abilities He’s entrusted to you. That’s living wholeheartedly.
Let's talk about this! How do you feel about Kristen's definition of humility?
Kristen Hogrefe is an author, speaker, and English teacher. She also serves as a mentor for Word Weavers International and works with the teens in her church’s youth group. Her new release, The Revisionary (Write Integrity Press), is the first book in her YA trilogy The Rogues. The novel is a dystopia of a different kind—one where characters look back to their civilization’s heritage for hope and wisdom to move forward. You can find Kristen outdoors in the Florida sunshine or online at KristenHogrefe.com.
Her latest release is titled The Revisionary:
A Revisionary rewrites the rules. A Rogue breaks them. Which one is she?
Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy accepts her Revisionary draft to the Crystal Globe with one goal: earn a Dome seat so she can amend the satellite rules and rescue her brother. Her plan derails when Head Gage Eliab brands her as a suspect in a campus Rogue attack, and in her quest to clear her name, she questions if the vigilante Brotherhood responsible might not be the real villain.
Her shifting loyalties pit her against Luther Danforth, her Court Citizen ally who believes in reform, not revolution. Joining the Brotherhood makes a future with him impossible—and Portia must decide if it’s better to rewrite the rules or to break them.