How do you end up on the opposite side of the planet unexpectedly? How do you end up so far away from your home that the moment you start traveling one way or another you are literally headed home? How does one get thrown into the most opposite culture and way of thinking that they can find? It comes by praying that God would do whatever it takes to make you more like Christ.
Think about that kind of a prayer. “Father, I want to be more like Jesus, I want to be holy and pure and fruitful in my thinking, living, speaking. I want to be transformed to the image of Christ and this means I must behold his glory. I want to be Spirit-filled, Spirit-empowered, and Spirit-fruitful. I want to be more like Jesus, so do whatever it takes.”
Whatever it takes. That kind of a prayer frightens us. It tells us that things we love more than Christ will be gone. It tells us that the desires and passions and joys that we have (that are all secondary and smaller passions and joys) will have to be replaced. It says that the little gods that we idolize and worship day after day will be crushed beneath the heal of a superior Savior and king, Jesus. It means we will become small and Jesus will become great.
But what if we do pray that? What if we do ask for God to do whatever it takes? Remember your theology. God is love. If God is love then he will not act maliciously towards his children. He will not act to terrorize or destroy them. As the best Father he will lead, guide, provide, give, supply and grace His children. So when we pray “do whatever it takes” we’re asking our Father, who gives good gifts, to give us a good thing.
But we are afraid. “Whatever it takes” means I might get sent to a place I really wasn’t wanting to go a month ago. “Whatever it takes” means I’m stripped of so many comforts and joys that I have idolized and set up as gods in my life. “Whatever it takes” means that all of the sudden I’m not in control of what I do today, including my menu. I have to eat what I’m given, sleep when I’m told to, work where I’m told to. “Whatever it takes” frightens me because I have to relinquish every bit of control, comfort, and convenience I have. I must decrease, He must increase.
I’m trusting the God who is love to change me, even as it means I decrease. He had to send me to the other side of the planet for a few weeks to continue this process. I’m still going to pray it. Lord, do whatever it takes to make me more like Christ today.