God of My 20’s: Doing For vs. Getting to Know

(Post #4 in a collaborative series)

Guest Blogger Bob Morrissey

May 11, 1992, as a 5th-grade boy in a revival service at our church I knew God called me to the ministry. I never doubted it – not as a teenager, not as a Bible college student, and not as a young married man in my early 20’s. However, my twenties were some tough years. I knew much about God, but I did not know Him very well personally. I could quote hundreds of verses of scripture. I could stand and teach my adult Sunday school class confidently. On the occasion that I was invited to preach to the church where I was on staff, I could hardly wait for the time to arrive and hated when it was over. I was living to do things for God without a deep and intimate relationship with Him.

The God of my 20’s was somebody I could do something for.

He was somebody I could impress with my abilities.

He was somebody that needed me.

The lost world around me needed me because they didn’t know God, and I did-or at least I thought I did. I was what was wrong with Christianity. I wanted God to use me to do something great to change people and to change the world, but didn’t realize God needed to change me before He could ever work through me to help people. The God of my 20’s was not the God I know now because I constantly judged people. I judged their piercings, tattoos, clothing, music, and everything I could see. I never truly saw people. I only saw their exterior.

Meanwhile at home, I was short tempered with my wife and kids. I often left her home to take care of our children while I was serving God in the ministry. Because I did not know the heart of God, I ignored my greatest ministry-being a godly husband and father. Thankfully my wife knew God better than me and was very patient with me.

The God of my 20’s was patient with me. He let me fail. He let me embarrass myself, and put me with a pastor who was not afraid to correct me, but loved me enough to endure my mistakes. In my late 20’s God brought a couple of older men my way who I was ready to seek advice from.

If I could encourage and advise those in their 20’s I would say:

  1. Spend as much time with God as you do serving God.
  2. God does great things with young people, but He is not in a hurry. Have patience.
  3. Those who do things for God without knowing God often use people to build their ministry instead of using their ministry to build people. Be a people builder!
  4. Get someone in their 50’s or older to be your close friend. Listen and Learn.

Laying It Down…AGAIN

Just because you make one statement or decision of commitment doesn’t put you in autopilot for the rest of your life. You aren’t clear of ever having to restate or redecide you will follow through. For example, Brad Johnson wrote about this in his book on forgiveness. When Jesus said we should forgive 7×70, he was talking about more than just the surrendering of the spirit. He was also talking about understanding follow through is a process that might take a while. It’s very much understanding the discipline of daily carrying your cross.

  • Like a runner who has to continuously set the alarm clock for dark thirty
  • Or the husband who has to choose to listen attentively rather than hold the hand up because it’s 3rd and long
  • Or the nursing student who might have to try one last time to pass anatomy to move forward in the program

Laying it down the first time probably was a big deal. Maturing to the place where you know laying it down is an ongoing journey is a whole different level of big deal.

Chris Tomlin’s “Lay It Down” speaks into this subject very well:

With this heart open wide

From the depths from the heights

I will bring a sacrifice

With these hands lifted high

Hear my song, hear my cry

I will bring a sacrifice
I lay me down I’m not my own

I belong to you alone

Lay me down, lay me down

Hand on my heart this much is true

There’s no life apart from you

Lay me down, lay me down
Letting go of my pride

Giving up all my rights

Take this life and let it shine


It will be my joy to say Your will Your way always