Challenge 2018: Reflection #5 (Michelle Nord)

What were we thinking?


Tony and I are both very passionate about helping students develop habits of spending time in God’s word and in prayer.  Unfortunately, too often when you go to a conference, the schedule is so full of other things that it is hard to find time to spend one-on-one with the Lord.  We decided that we would work into our schedule time to spend doing devotions each morning after breakfast.  To help guide the students, I put together a daily meditation and devotion guide going through James 1:1-27 that the students and leaders would use each morning.

One of my many sin struggles is pride and selfish ambition.  I was quite proud of the devotional I authored and I was struggling with feelings of pride about my own abilities.  During this past week at Challenge, the Lord kept pointing out this sin area in my life, urging me to not boast in myself, but to have humility.  One of our speakers gave a definition of humility as thinking rightly about myself.  He said that humility isn’t thinking less of yourself than you ought, but thinking correctly about yourself. This is why Jesus is humble and He can make claims that for a human would be considered arrogant.  It’s not arrogant for Jesus to speak about His own greatness, because Jesus is actually great!

On Wednesday and Thursday, I had multiple conversations with students about overcoming sin and temptation.  Friday morning, I began my devotions on James 1:12-18 and read the following prayer that I had written out for students a week before:

Father, I praise you for you for you are the giver of all good gifts. I confess that sometimes I want to blame you for my sin struggles instead of taking responsibility for my sin. Thank you for all the good gifts you have given me – my family, friends, a home to live in, and food to eat. Help me to fight sin in my life. Amen.

As I prayed that prayer, it hit me that what I had been taking pride in actually had nothing to do with me.  It was no accident that the verses for Friday’s devotion would be ones that talk about sin and temptation, after I had spent hours talking with students about sin and temptation.  I was feeling so proud of myself for writing the devotion, but all along it was really God who did it.  He was guiding me to the verses that I picked for each day. He was placing the prayers on my heart that I wrote out at the start of each devotion.

God had been preparing the entire team for our time at Challenge long before we set foot in Kansas City, knowing exactly what messages we were going to be hearing and how it would be touching our hearts.  He knew that multiple students would be wrestling with how to deal with sin and temptation. He knew that I would be convicted by my own sin struggle with pride.

I was so humbled that morning.  Not only did I see my place rightly, but I saw the Father’s place rightly.   This is God’s story. He is the author.  I am not.

And yet, this awesome God we serve chooses to use a broken vessel like myself to be a part of His great story! What a privilege it is to be used by God!


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