Are You Letting Society or the Spirit Shape Your Story?

(Unsplash/Mauro Mora)

Kanye West, Beth Moore, John MacArthur, President Donald Trump and Adam Schiff—what do all of these people have in common? Certainly controversy—lots and lots of controversy. But what else? They all have purpose that should be revealed in their life story. Regardless of the circumstances and choices that have landed them in the news and on the lips of people across the country and around the world, God has a purpose for each one of them. The Holy Spirit wants to shape their life story even though we may see the world trying to define and write their life story, and our life story, for us.

God is transforming lives and filling people with the power of the Holy Spirit, and woe to those who try to prevent that holy work. That's why 2 Corinthians 5:16 (NIV) reminds us of this important truth: "So from now on we [should] regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer." While the world and our flesh tempt us to view others through judgmental eyes and shape people's stories for them, the Holy Spirit is constantly working in people's lives to inspire their story. His presence always invites freedom and brings real change.

This past week I watched an extraordinary moment of God's grace when Kanye West was not only recognized, but received by one of my favorite preachers, Joel Osteen. The backlash was deeply disheartening. If our society will not even accept that a rapper proclaiming "Jesus is King" has been truly saved, imagine how we would have treated Paul. He persecuted and murdered Christians, and God still shaped his story into something that glorified Him! After his conversion he immediately went to get baptized by Ananias and ended up writing several books in our New Testament Bible, not to mention the way God used him to work multiple life-changing miracles. Imagine how different all of our lives would be today if Paul had listened to everyone's opinions about his relationship with God and allowed himself to become discouraged about following the Lord's leading.

What about Peter? He denied Jesus before the crucifixion but then repented of his mistake, and God was able to use him in miraculous ways.

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Or what about Abraham? He lied not once but twice about his relationship with his wife to save his own skin, among other indiscretions, and he is still counted as one of the fathers of our faith.

Moses was far from perfect, yet God chose him and used him mightily for the saving of His people anyway. Like Abraham, he appears alongside other giants of our faith in Hebrews 11.

When the power of the Holy Spirit came in Acts 2, all that Jesus had done for His followers came to supernatural life. Just like Peter and Paul were drastically changed, we are too when we receive the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit changes, restores and radically renews people to Him, who are we to decide if their salvation is authentic? Even if it happens not to be, God is the author of that person's story, and our judgment is like an ugly, black smear on the pages of their lives.

Who are you letting shape your story? And how are you shaping others? Are you letting the Holy Spirit do His work, or are you tuning in to—or even joining—the chorus of voices shouting their opinions? It is clear that Kanye West is not letting the voices of the media define his story. He is unapologetically sharing his faith with the entire world, and the Holy Spirit is working, in Kanye's life and others'. Wow! What a thought—unapologetically sharing your faith with the entire world while the Holy Spirit works in your life. That sounds like a follower of Christ.

You are beautiful! I see Jesus in you.

Have a great week!

Mikel French has challenged spiritual awakening all across America, where many celebrations extended into multiple weeks, and has conducted celebrations in France, Sweden, Russia, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Germany, South Africa, Malawi, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Haiti, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand. He conducted an outreach celebration in Manila, Philippines, reaching 200,000 teenagers with the book of hope. Through the generous support of partners, he has presented the message of Jesus Christ to millions of people in the nation of Russia through televised citywide soul-winning celebrations. Mikel considers it an honor to assist in conducting the annual pastor's conference, where thousands of pastors from Russia's 11 time zones come for training, teaching and equipping. Mikel and his wife, Marsha, reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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