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Amy Glass

Wherever You Go

Who you are, where you are, is who you will be wherever you go. These words rang true for me as a college senior returning from six months of living in Tanzania. Years later, they still ring true as my family serves in Ethiopia. I am often tempted to believe that if I simply change my location or circumstance, then somehow I will become a different person, a better person. I will become a better pastor, husband and father. I will pray and trust God more. I will sin less. If I can go somewhere else, anywhere else, then perhaps I will not be the man I am. In God’s mercy this false hope fails me.

The gracious irony of moving our family halfway around the world is that I am the same person as a missionary in Addis Ababa that I was in my hometown of St. Louis. I am the same pastor with the same gifting and weakness, the same husband and father with the same strengths and liabilities. Whether living in the U.S. or Africa, I am a sinner saved by grace. Who I am, where I am, is who I will be wherever I go. I need not find another place to grow in godliness and grace; God will grow me where I am. I do not have to escape my current situation to become the man God wants me to be; He is working out His purposes in me in this very place, this very moment.

In Romans 8:29–30, the Apostle Paul reminds believers: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” In Philippians, Paul is sure “. . . that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). Both passages show that growing in Christ-likeness is indeed a process or journey—but this journey of holiness does not require relocation. Rather, it requires God’s sovereign, Spirit-empowered transformation.

Are you discouraged by your current circumstances? Do you inwardly believe you could be a different person or serve God more if you were somewhere else? Take heart, God may move you elsewhere, or He may not. Just remember that while the specifics of place and calling come and go, God’s design for making you holy is sure no matter where you find yourself.

Stay. Serve. Put down roots. Let God work in and through you where you are. If He takes you elsewhere, let it be for His sovereign purposes and not due to your restlessness. Take great joy in the fact that, who you are, wherever you go, is only a foretaste of who you will become at the certain day of Christ Jesus. God be praised!

This was originally published in The Journey devotional. Jason Polk serves with MTW in Ethiopia. 

Jason Polk, Addis Ababa Ethiopia Reflection Jan 12, 2017
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