What time is it?

I have been thinking lately about how we know what time it is. Lots of Christians I know talk about “God’s timing” and about “waiting on His timing.” Whilst I appreciate the desire to walk according to God’s plan and leading I also think that christianisms such as these are sometimes simply excuses for non-obedience to things that God has already told us to do.

Instead of actually doing the revealed will of God, some so called Christians put off obedience and hide behind excuses such as “we are waiting on God’s timing” or “it’s not for me in this season”.

Throw away your watch, ditch your calender and tear up your schedule! The right time is now.

Throughout the last 15 years of my life I have tried to read the Bible every day and to constantly ask God to help the reality spoken of in the scriptures to become the reality seen in my life. When I read the Bible and especially the New Testament I am constantly amazed and yet also discouraged about how far away my life is from what I see as “normal biblical christianity”. I’m convinced that for many, the Christian life has become more about signing up to ideas, groups and programmes rather than signing up to obey Jesus. Jesus looked for ordinary people who would leave everything to obey him. And nothing has changed. We have been sent out by Jesus to find people just like this. Those who are willing to deny themselves, take up their crosses daily and follow Him,

“Not everyone who calls out to me, “Lord, Lord!” will enter the Kingdom of heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter” (Matthew 7:21)

From a human perspective it is never the right time to actually enter the Kingdom of heaven through obedience to Jesus. My flesh constantly tries to make excuses to not obey Jesus. My mind creates lies and loopholes to try and get out of obeying Jesus. It’s not the right time. I don’t feel upto it. I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll just pray about it and see. I’ll wait on God’s timing. For us it is never the right time but in God’s Kingdom is it always the right time. Our watches, calenders and plans will tell us that it is never the right time to obey Jesus. But scripture tells us differently.

It’s time for us to wake up just like Jesus said to his disciples in John 4:34-36,

“Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. You know the saying, “Four months between planting and harvest.” But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.”

Throw away your excuses, stop living according to what others are saying and instead listen to what Jesus is saying. How much of your life is based upon the sayings, traditions, expectations or outright lies that come from other people’s mouths and how much of your life is based on the words that are coming out of Jesus’ mouth? Much of what christianity has become today is built on the “sayings” and traditions of man rather than the teachings and truth of Christ. In John 4:34-36 Jesus was challenging the attitude of his disciples who were thinking and acting according to human wisdom and timing rather than God’s. I believe He is saying the same things to us today as well. Life in God’s Kingdom is not about predictability, linear thinking and logical progressions. It’s about unpredictability, faithful unswerving obedience and spirit guided adventures.

According to scripture, the right time is now (2 Corinthians 6:2) not later, tomorrow, next week or next year.

As we’ve tried to build our lives on the truth that the “right time in God’s Kingdom is now” Jesus has challenged some areas of thinking we have. Here are just a few…

You know the saying that you should wait until you feel in the right place to obey Jesus….

I don’t know how many times I see and hear so called disciples of Jesus saying that it is ok to not obey Jesus because they don’t feel like it or they don’t feel adequate to do it. The right time to obey Jesus is now. Jesus made it very clear that immediete obedience to Him is the most important thing required in His disciples. It’s not about whether you feel like it, whether you feel you can do it or whether you think it is a good idea or not. Actually obeying Jesus is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. If you are not willing to step out and obey Jesus today then don’t bother saying you will do it tomorrow. Jesus learned obedience as a son through suffering and so must we (Hebrews 5:8). If we only obey Jesus when we think we will get something out of it or if things go well for us then we are not really obeying Him at all. The time to obey Jesus is now.

You know the saying that you should go to church and invite others to church…

I, like many others, spent much of my life living according to this saying. 14 years ago though my family and I decided to live according to what Jesus was saying rather than what other believers around us were saying. Instead of going to church and inviting others to church we now make disciples of Jesus through baptising people and teaching them to obey Him. To some this might not seem a big difference but in reality it couldn’t be more different (Check out my book “Accidental Apostle” to find out more about what this journey has looked like) Don’t go to church or invite others to go to church. Start making disciples now.

You know the saying that the ground is hard here…

The popular saying here in the UK and Europe is that the ground is hard here but the ground in other places where God seems to be moving is soft and fertile. What a load of rubbish. The ground isn’t hard here but the hearts of God’s people (me included) are! And that’s the difference. I’ve been to places like China, India and Africa and seen ordinary disciples of Jesus experiencing great fruitfulness. They are completely different from believers back here in the UK. They pray, obey Jesus immedietely, make more disciples and open their homes willingly. They act and live completely differently and experience God’s Kingdom growing in a completely different way. So instead of blaming the hard ground let’s get on our knees and take responsibility for our hard hearts and lack of faith. Then maybe we will see fruitfulness in our efforts to spread the Kingdom

You know the saying that you should wait before you baptise people…

Being a disciple of Jesus is about obedience not gathering information. You know whether someone is a disciple because they have a God given desire to obey Jesus. According to scripture the first thing that a disciple of Jesus does is to repent of their sins and be baptised. Throughout the New Testament salvation and repentance was shown by public baptism – not saying a prayer, going to the front of a church meeting or raising your hand at a crusade. Everywhere in the New Testament people were baptised immedietely when they received Christ – they did not wait days, weeks, months or years until they had sorted all their problems out or completed a lengthy baptism course. Are we responsible to ensure that people understand the gospel and repentance before they get baptised? Absolutely. But as for waiting to baptise them…well I’ll let you decide whether you should obey what man says or what God says.

You know the saying that people need to grow and become more strong in their faith before they try to share with others…

Paul said that the believers in Phillipi had been his co-workers in spreading the Gospel since the day they first heard it (Philippians 1:5) So from the very first day they heard the gospel – these new disciples were spreading it to other people. In fact they were not just spreading the gospel but taking responsibility before God to make more disciples. Jesus did the same thing. He invited people to follow him and fish for more people. No-where in scripture does it say that people are exempt from the great commission, spreading the gospel or making disciples until they know enough or feel comfortable doing so. Sharing the gospel starts from the day you first hear the gospel and is a fundamental part of being a disciple of Jesus. You may not know a lot but you know enough to share something! And in fact you grow as a disciple as you obey and share the little you do know – rather than just accumulating pointless theological information that you keep to yourself. Remember Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)

You know the saying that it is not God’s timing…

Forget what you think you know and what you’ve always heard. The time to obey Jesus, spread the gospel and make disciples is now. You may never feel ready, able or confident to do the things that Jesus is asking you to do. Do it anyway. Because that’s what a disciple of Jesus does.

The right time is now. The day of salvation is today.

Will you obey Jesus?