Prepare your heart for God moves by developing a restored view of God and yourself, and committing to His agenda.
I recently talked with author and leader Jennie Allen about the exciting but scary choice to live with holy ambition. As you’ve heard me discuss, the term holy ambition describes God’s call to make a significant impact at this pivotal moment in history.
For Jennie, that meant organizing, leading, and launching the IF:Gathering, which is a ministry that gathers tens of thousands of women around the globe to disciple one another. For another, that might mean becoming more of a joyful servant to his family or making a career change.
As followers and disciples of Christ, we all have the same purpose in life. The difference is how it’s played out in our lives. What’s that universal purpose?
Our purpose in life is, first and foremost, to let Jesus live His life in you and through you.
This is true whether you’re a pastor, co-ed, career person, retiree, or stay-at-home parent.
The challenge is discovering what that looks like in our individual worlds. What’s God calling you to do or change so He can live His life in you and through you? In other words, what’s God’s purpose TODAY? This week?
In this article, we’ll uncover the one aspect of our faith that is crucial to understanding God’s direction and purpose in our lives right now.
To jump straight to the points explored, use the links below.
- Develop a restored view of God.
- Seek an accurate assessment of yourself.
- Commit to fulfilling God’s agenda.
PREPARE YOUR HEART WITH A BROKEN SPIRIT
No matter where we’re at with our faith or what kind of choices we’ve made in life, there’s one thing that we can do that will open the door for God to come in, forgive and cleanse.
- Grab our keys and head to church?
- Call a friend and ask for prayer?
- Pull up the Bible app and start a new reading plan?
All of these are great things! But none of them get to the heart of our problem and reveal the one obstacle that’s stopping us from hearing what the Creator has for us today.
Notice what David says in one of his psalms:
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
Or words from Isaiah 57:15:
“For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
When we understand we’re spiritually bankrupt, we open the door to a restoring relationship with God. The verse says that He is “with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit” (that’s us). Once we get honest and just admit to God that we messed up and blew it, without excuses, and ask for forgiveness, a door opens and God’s grace is waiting.
The challenge is that most of us have spent years protecting our pride and, like a hand on a flame, we reflexively defend and excuse our choices instead of coming humbly to an all-knowing God.
When we live in that cycle of being human and disappointing God, and then avoiding Him in our shame, we miss out on what He has for us, and we miss out on ushering into the world His Kingdom.
Want to hear more? Find this Holy Ambition series on Chip’s YouTube channel.
For the rest of this article, let’s explore the ways we can develop a broken spirit and enjoy intimacy with God. Ready to make big moves God? Get your heart ready with these three ideas from the Scriptures.
3 Specific Ways to Prepare Your Heart to Make Big Moves for God
1. Develop a restored view of God.
This doesn’t mean we should develop a low view of ourselves, but a proper view of our Creator.
Consider the number of problems we see around us. Whether it’s in our own homes, bedrooms, offices, or if it’s in other areas of the world, problems abound. And then, in our humanity, we focus on the problems, which in turn, shrinks our view of God.
Let’s take a quick look at the book of Nehemiah, which provides a scalable blueprint for making big moves for God. In the Old Testament book, we meet Nehemiah, a faithful layman who demonstrated a restored view of God.
Essentially, Nehemiah is a business guy living in the lap of luxury, a cupbearer to the king. When he hears about the need for the wall of Jerusalem to be reconstructed, he is heartbroken. He depends on prayer and wise counsel, and — when the time is right — takes a radical step of faith and risks his life to get the permission and resources needed to lead this endeavor.
Next, he develops a solid strategic plan and then organizes people to see it through. Finally, he makes a personal commitment and exhibits steadfast determination to fulfill his God-given agenda.
None of this came easily! He had to overcome internal and external turmoil to stay on the path God had put Him on. But Nehemiah came to understand that his problems were small compared to a Mighty God.
How do you see your problems? Are they big compared to a small god? Or are your problems conquerable with a big God?How do you see your problems? Are they big compared to a small god? Or are your problems conquerable with a big God? Click To Tweet
THE SOLUTION: WORSHIP
Worshippers get a high, restored view of God. Likewise, pray-ers get a high, restored view of God.
In Nehemiah, we get a behind-the-scenes glance at a moment where Nehemiah’s spirit was breaking and He was demonstrating a high view of God.
“When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said: “O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and obey His commands, let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer Your servant is praying before You day and night for Your servants, the people of Israel.” (Nehemiah 1:4-6a)
By fasting and praying, Nehemiah restored his view of the God of heaven.
Try this: Sit quietly in a room, sing, adore and praise God. Open your Bible to the psalms and turn one into a prayer of worship. Be sure to express thanks and honor to Him.
2. Seek an accurate assessment of yourself.
Naturally, once you begin seeing God in His proper position and you worship Him, you become keenly aware of your deficiencies. Again, this is not to say we should lower ourselves, but we should soberly see where we stand in reference to a holy God.
As individuals who are preparing to make big moves for God, we need to be actively seeking an accurate self-assessment. And when we do get the “results”, we should not be shocked when we’ve fallen short. Instead, use it to catapult our faith and dependence onto Him.
THE SOLUTION: REPENTANCE
Looking to Nehemiah again, we see the picture of a man who saw his spiritual need for repentance.
“I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against You. We have acted very wickedly toward You. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws You gave Your servant Moses.” (Nehemiah 1:6b-7)
Do you have regular times of assessment and repentance? You might notice that you’ve drifted and become critical or judgemental or short with your children. Have you slipped into performance faith? What are the things that eat you up inside because you can’t control them?
All of these are familiar and common areas where we keep on living and never stop to assess, confess, and ask God for the strength to change. Below is an idea you can implement today.
Try this: Read these verses, asking God to reveal areas where you need to repent. Then, spend time in confession.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
3. Commit to fulfilling God’s agenda.
Over the three months of praying, Nehemiah developed a commitment to God’s agenda. Knowing what he would have to give up and understanding a small picture of the difficulties that lie ahead, he committed.
Without that commitment, most of us would be hard-pressed to continue on the road to making big moves for God. As Nehemiah experienced, there are obstacles everywhere!
How do we get to a point where we’re willing to fully commit to God’s agenda?
THE SOLUTION: INTERCESSION
As Nehemiah prayed and interceded for the people whom God laid on his heart, he developed a passion, boldness, and a commitment to fulfill God’s agenda. Furthermore, came to understand his gift of leadership was to be used in the rebuilding project.
Try this: Who has God laid on your heart? Will you bravely intercede for them? Whether it’s someone in your family or circle or a group who needs your leadership and prayers, will you begin stepping out in faith and interceding on their behalf?
God wants to use you: What’s Your Unique Purpose in God’s Big Story?
READY TO MAKE BIG MOVES FOR GOD’S PURPOSES?
God is looking for restored, committed people to fulfill His agenda on this earth.
“For the eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the whole earth, that He may strongly support those whose hearts are completely His.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
Is your heart completely His? Or do you need to take these steps to prepare your heart for big moves for God?
Difference-makers for God do not need to be the biggest givers or the most eloquent individuals. In fact, when you read the Scriptures, it’s almost as if God went to great lengths to do His work through the “are-nots” of the world. God uses the foolish – us regular people, with our baggage, and our hurts, and our pasts, and our sins — to confound the wise.
Every great movement of God starts with a little handful of people who, ridiculously, and mostly at the ridicule of others, actually believe God would do exactly what He says. Are you ready to make big moves for God?
Learn more about preparing your heart to work out God’s agenda in your life when you check out Chip Ingram’s book called Holy Ambition, available in the Living on the Edge bookstore.
Holy Ambition book by Chip Ingram
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip