It’s interesting as I discovered some of Francis Chan’s first YouTube videos, I watched this a few times a few years ago and thought, “You go, Francis.” You’re the prophet. You’re breaking ground. I’ll follow.
These days I’m resonating with it a bit more personally. For the first time in recent memory (which, for those of you who know me, doesn’t mean much), I’m coming to the realization that there are people who don’t like me.
Think what you will of that statement, but really I think it’s a fairly true statement that I’m a generally likable person. John Maxwell would say that I have “The Gift of Woo”. I’ve got charisma. I’m good in front of people. Likable. Affable. Before you think I’m getting too puffed up with pride, keep reading.
My “Woo” is one of my greatest strengths. It’s also one of my most glaring weaknesses. Why? Because my effort and giftings go a pretty good distance. And sometimes don’t leave room for Abba to work. I was listening to a message on my way down to Indy tonight that reminded me of a quote I need to have tattooed on my eyelids so I can see it constantly:
Live your life in such a way that it demands an explanation
Moreover, live in such a way that people look at my life and say, “wow, there’s no way he could have pulled that off on his own.” How many of us are willing to make that bold of a prayer? Give up that much control? It’s a risk. It’s also Biblical.
So here I am in a position where, for the first time, it’s very apparent that I’m not as popular or liked as I’m used to. It’s quite unnerving. Surprising. Isolating.
But as I was preparing for a week meeting with my team, I stumbled upon this video I’ve seen years ago and it was an encouragement to me. Another theme I’m noticing in my view this season all over the place is the genuine desire for people who claim to be Christians yet keep their hearts and lives hidden. Because they isolate their hearts, they don’t grow. Groups of people together who have isolated hearts breed a greater isolation. Call it lack of maturity, wisdom. As a Free Methodist, I’d call it lack of holiness. Harsh. But true. Let’s be honest: The Fruit of the Spirit is The Fruit of the Spirit. Either you have love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control or you don’t.
This symptom (an isolated heart) by default is not open to change, challenge, accountability, or, dare I say, truth. It can’t hear anything. If we lived Biblically, we’d live with our hearts out in the open as James calls us to do.
As I watched this video again through the lens of my heart today, I was encouraged because prophets were the ones who injected themselves into isolated hearts to help them awaken. For me, this season has brought a loneliness because I can’t rely on my own strength anymore. I’m in uncharted territory. I can’t help but rely on my Abba. And as there have been definite waves, there has been fruit too. Truth does that.
Didn’t You Know?
I guess I was simply reminded that a piece of me is prophetic. And as a leader leading to places which aren’t safe, this was a reminder that I’m where I should be. Which is where my Abba called. Kind of like Jesus in the temple. “Didn’t you know I’d be at my Father’s house?” That’s where I want to be. This season is teaching me where my strength was and where it needs to be.
My strength was my ability, family, friends, finances, infrastructure, even my church. Having been estranged from most of those, I’m left with few options. A long time in this state would be unhealthy. But I’m seeing pruning happening around me as well as in me. It’s good. Abba’s helping build me up strong with Him as my source. I can see it now. And as He leads me and I lead, I seem to become less popular. Which is not what I had anticipated. However, maybe it’s just where I need to be.
How about you? How popular are you? Who is your source? Who’s really in control?