God Uses Spaces
We recently moved. Three blocks to be exact. And, well, it was a little bitter sweet. Why? Because we saw God do some amazing things in our little 2nd floor 850 sq ft apartment, and 11th floor community room, in the middle of the city. We saw Him grow an eight person launch team into a church. We saw Him answer prayers in extraordinary ways. We saw him multiply one community into six. We saw people come to know and grow in Jesus. We hosted many not-yet-believers and had countless opportunities to share the gospel. We hosted many of you. We saw relationships form, broken and reconciled – sometimes all at once! We saw many take the step of faith in committing to a church plant. We sang. We laughed – a lot.
It is probably not a surprise to you that God uses spaces. Don’t miss this. Yes, clearly, God uses people. But, he uses people in spaces: arks, prison cells, tents, deserts, whale bellies, castles, baskets, stables and more. Here’s what I want you to know, believe and live: God wants to use the spaces he has placed you in for his glory, the good of others and your joy. I want to encourage you to not see the every day spaces that you find yourself in (cars, cubicles, offices, homes, complexes, coffee shops, etc.) as neutral to the things of God. He wants to transform how you see and use the normal spaces in your life as miniature stages where his story can continue to unfold in small and big ways. He invites all of us into that.
#1 He wants to use your spaces.
It can be too easy to think that God only works through certain people, but not me, and certain places, but not mine. How would your outlook change if you viewed your every day spaces as stages within God’s story? We may not say it out loud, but we often live in a way that demonstrates our lack of faith in a God who is present, living, and working. We create a false separation between sacred and secular, when all of life is sacred. God is everywhere and everything is His, including your every day spaces. How could you redeem the use of your spaces for Him? Our previous apartment was just an apartment, but God used it as a stage for so much more. He wants to do the same with yours.
#2 Don’t underestimate what God wants to do through you.
Maybe this is because we live in Seattle or maybe it’s just the human heart, but too often we underestimate what God wants (or can) do through us. So, we wait or abdicate. We think, “I’ll do more when I’m in a better place.” We never get there, so we never do. Jesus wants you to experience the exhilaration of using your spaces for him, viewing them as stages within his redemptive story. That could mean personal transformation as you commit to trusting him and walking by the power of his grace in your every day spaces. It could also mean regularly inviting folks over for dinner or dessert, taking opportunities to pray for others as the Spirit prompts you, recognizing and meeting the needs of those around you and more. Start simple, but pray big. Don’t underestimate what God wants to do through you.
#3 Fight cynicism with anticipation.
We often celebrate cynicism, particularly in our city. But, cynicism is just unbelief that masquerades as intellectualism. It looks and sounds smart, quick and witty – but it is filled with unbelief in a God who has worked a massive redemption and delivered some massive promises to His people. The gospel of Jesus Christ transforms cynicism to optimism. Optimism creates a sense of anticipation. God’s specialty is taking normal, ordinary people and doing abnormal, extraordinary things. Our lives should reflect an anticipation that God is who he says he is. Fight cynicism with gospel-birthed anticipation.
#4 Some Practical Suggestions.
By now, some of you may be asking, “But how?” Good question. First, get to know your God really, really well through daily means of grace (Bible, prayer, community, etc). The better you know Him, the more you’ll trust Him. Second, repent of unbelief and cynicism as the Spirit leads. Ask Him to fill you with a fresh sense of hope, joy and anticipation in him. Third, consider dedicating your spaces to God. Not in a weird, I’m-going-to-anoint-my-elevator-at-work sense. But, just a simple prayer over your home, cubicle or car, telling Jesus you want to use them as mini-stages within His larger story. Ask Jesus to give you eyes and ears to see the many ways He is already at work in you and others around you – ask to join Him in that work. Lastly, think through what Jesus wants to do in and through you in your daily spaces. Wouldn’t it be cool to say, “That apartment is where Jesus transformed my anger” or “I shared the gospel with 10 co-workers in that cubicle” or “I learned what prayer is in that car” or “Jesus healed my marriage in that coffee shop” or “We hosted 20 non-Christians this year for dessert at our dining room table”? Your car is not just a car. Your apartment is not just an apartment. Your cubicle is not just a cubicle. They can be stages within God’s story; God uses spaces.