Running the race

This week guest blogger James Kamau, gives us his take on what it means to be a worship leader, running the race amidst earthly distractions…

runningtheracebanner“I have been thinking of quitting the ministry. I just realize that I don’t have the character to sustain the ministry and I feel like I have walked so far from God. I do things that I know I shouldn’t do. I often find that even when I try to give up some habits, my days and weeks of consistent good are broken down by a moment of weakness and I find myself in the same hole I have been struggling to get out of. What does it say about my walk if I consistently mess up in spite of the high calling that God has placed in my life? What does it say about me fearing God, if I step on His altar and lift holy hands to Him yet I know where those hands have been? Even if I confess my sins and repent am I not a hypocrite? I think this is just who I am, I won’t change and there is no point lying to people. I think I should go and just live my life. I am not ready for this call of God in my life, let me just go deal with my weaknesses and then when I have figured this thing out I can come back and serve. My prayer life is negligible, I compromise on my devotion time. I just cannot do this.” Sound familiar?

The reality is that I have had this same conversation countless times with other people. But most importantly, I have had this conversation with myself on many occasions. I began singing in church when I was in my teens. When I joined high school at the Upper Hill School, Kenya, I was given an opportunity to be in the school worship team. It has been 10 years or so since. That journey has not been smooth, I have dropped the ball many times, but I have also had the opportunity to experience God at a very personal level. I have had serious character challenges, but I have also discovered that God’s work in my life is daily bearing fruit.

runningtheraceq3Jesus speaking to his disciples in John 15:16 said to them, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain….”. I know of many gifted individuals who have left the ministry; consistently it has been because of personal condemnation or condemnation by others. When Christ hung on that cross, He chose you and I even before we came into being. Christ did not choose us because we were so good or exemplary, He chose us because He loved us. You see, we can never deserve the love of God and the honor to stand before Him in service; that is His free gift to us. We will never be good enough to take to the altar and lead God’s people. It is the blood of Christ and not our works that justifies us before God.

runningtheraceq1Yet Jesus also gave a call to His disciples in Luke 9:23 (NIV), “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

For Jesus, it is not enough that He has saved you, He also wants to transform your life. Dear worship leader and fellow believer reading this, you may be struggling in certain areas of your life, leading you to question your walk of salvation. The question is are you willing to deny yourself and pick up that cross daily, and follow Christ? That cross is not easy to carry. Denying yourself also means that you identify and reject the pride that drives you away from God’s mercy by convincing you that you are not good enough. It also means that you focus on all the transformation that God has caused in your life and less on your failings.

We have a High priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses. You know why? Because He was tempted just as we are, yet He was victorious over sin. Are you willing to trust Him to give you that victory? Or would you rather put your cross down, and go figure out your own way? Nothing says trust more than to come to the master and say, ‘I am losing at this, but I know you promised me victory, teach me how to win this.”

The greatest tool that the devil is using is to tell the hang-overed sister seated in the audience that God won’t hear her prayers and the abused member that he/she is too dirty for God. It is to convince the worship leaders they are too damaged to lead others. It is to convince you that because you got it wrong, you will never get it right. What the devil wants is to drive us away from God’s presence by putting our inadequacies in our face and reminding us how we have fallen short. But what is God’s response? While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He will never turn us away (John 6.37). His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). As far as the east is from the west, so has he separated us from our sins (Psalms 103:12).

runningtheraceq2Take up your cross. He who called you will sustain you because every time you carry that cross, your heart says you are a person in need of the invaluable Grace of God to STAND. God will give you victory as long as you call upon Him.

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