Silly opening questions in a group setting. Why do they sometimes linger in my thoughts long beyond the time they were meant to? And why as I look back, do I wish I could push the rewind button and re-record my answer?
My first response was to have a dear friend with me (who shall remain unnamed). I wouldn't necessarily change the person, but I would change my reasoning. My first response was "because I know that she will be in heaven with me." But what a selfish response! Oh if only I could have a redo on that!
As this thought sat in my mind I began to ponder exactly why I would want that friend to be with me. And I realized that it's not because I know that she will be in heaven...but because I know that she would be the one standing up and inviting people to know Jesus so that they too could experience the everlasting Kingdom. Not only that, but I know that she would spur me on to be proclaiming His truth as that plane went down. And yet even then, my response is still selfish.
Why can't I, even without her spurring me on, be boldly proclaiming His truth? On that judgement day, she will not be standing next to me. I will be standing alone before my Maker. I will have to be held accountable for my actions. And His Word clearly states that I am to "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2) and that I am to "sanctify Christ as Lord in your [my] heart, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you [me] to give an account for the hope that is in you[me]" (1 Peter 3:15). This doesn't say that my friend gets to do the work and encourage me to step up to the plate, but rather, that I have to be ready to obey when He directs.
But I have to admit that my selfishness gets in the way. There are times even in my day-to-day life that God is asking me to be His witness and out of my selfishness I deem it untimely to do so, or inconvenient, or too difficult, or too scary. Selfishness is at the crux of hindering me in fully serving the One who died for me. And honestly, it was evident in my answer last night.
There will not be a rewind and redo button in heaven. I have to constantly take every thought captive to God, because what begins in my thoughts, will flow to my feelings and my heart and ultimately out through my actions. And if selfishness is rooted in my thoughts it will be evident in my actions. And I don't want to stand before God and say "I didn't obey You because it was inconvenient for me". So this selfish root within me needs to be slain with the largest broadsword I can find...the Word of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...
Let the fruits of the Spirit begin in my thoughts and be poured out in my actions so that I will not be able to contain this Truth inside me but boldly proclaim and live it out for all to see.