By Cheryl Schang,
JVMI’s Vice President of Global Outreach
In part three of this series about becoming God’s arrow, Cheryl explains that God must strip off those things that we each consider to be essential parts of our identity. We must find our identity in Christ alone and be willing to lay down those things that hold us back.
An archer cuts a branch from a tree. As that archer starts to strip the branch of its leaves, just imagine if you as that branch said, “Wait! No, no, no! Don’t strip away those leaves. That is who I am. No, no! Not that one. That was really beautiful. No! I worked a long time to grow that leaf.” All the while, you as that branch are being stripped away.
Do you want to be a really good arrow? If so, have you ever seen an arrow with leaves? The answer is no.
Paul was a Pharisee, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, a scholar who had a position with the Sanhedrin, a man from the Tribe of Benjamin—he had all of the credentials—and he says, “I leave behind those things that used to thrill me to lay hold of the things that are before me. I count it all as lost.”
In Philippians, Paul writes, ” I want to lay hold of that for which God laid hold of me.” That’s one of the most wonderful thats in the Bible, to “lay hold of that for which God laid hold of me.” You have a that. There is some purpose for which God laid hold of you, and it’s inside of you and it’s your destiny. It’s your speed. It’s your flight. It’s your way to hit targets. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, “I know the plans that I have for you, plans for good and not for evil, plans to give you hope and a future.” It is all in the process of being made into an arrow.
Sometimes we don’t really understand the course that we take. When we look at James, we see a man who had special privilege. He was in that select group, Peter, James, and John. He was at the Mount of Transfiguration. He was the one who went deeper into the Garden of Gethsemane, so there must be something really important planned for James. Yes, a short life was what was planned for James. He laid it all down to lay hold of that.
You have to be willing to step out and say you don’t want what you have had anymore. You know what that is, you know what that tastes like, but you will never hit a target living in a tree. You must be willing to let go of the thing that you have known in order to lay hold of that for which He laid hold of you. You’ve got to get rid of all the leaves, the things that stop you from having speed and purpose. Sometimes those are the things that you think, This is who I am. How can I give this up? I have been this way forever.
But do you want to hit a target?
You never know what is wrapped up in your decision to go full speed ahead. You are God’s workmanship with incredible, undreamed of potential. And you will never know as long as you are in your tree.
In 2 timothy 2:4 it says, “No soldier on active duty entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life so that he may please the one who enlisted him.” When you sign up, you can’t be held back by the things that you think are important in your life. You get a whole new assignment. You are conscripted now to service. You go where He tells you to go, and you do what He tells you to do.
You can stay in your tree, and you will never be fulfilled. If you want to experience what it is like to live out your destiny, you have to be cut away.
This series is based on a sermon by Terry Virgo.
Read More in the Arrow Series:
- Part One: God’s Refining Process
- Part Two: Cut from the Tree
- Part Three: Stripping the Leaves
- Part Four: Straightening the Branch
- Part Five: Affixing the Arrowhead
- Part Six: Adding Balance
- Part Seven: Questioning the Quiver