Jesus’s message in the Gospels is a radical shift from our normal human interactions. We are used to living in partialities, like believing in God and then living our lives as we want. Or praying that God intervene in our lives, but only in the way we want it done. Or we want to hold on to the pain and suffering that we allow to define us, while Jesus asks us to “come to him all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28-30]
Jesus calls us to serve God with our whole selves [Luke 10:27] and to no longer be a slave to the world, because we can’t serve both God and mammon (money or wealth, depending on the translation). [Matthew 6:24 KJV, NIV, NRSV] In the Epistle to the Romans Paul put it this way, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” [Romans 12:2]
If Jesus’ radical message is not being lived in you, in your life, what watered down version are you living? For we have made the Gospel palatable to us, easy to follow by just believing in him, by just being nice or kind, by just being a little bit in Jesus’s camp. If we were radically given over to God, our lives would be very different, very changed to conform to what God wants for us and from us, not based on our preferences, going only as far as we want to go in following him.
We need to ask ourselves some questions that will reveal where our loyalties lie, like these: Where do I need to be blessed and loved and forgiven? Where am I not getting God’s message in my life? Where am I blind and deaf to God? Oh Lord, highlight these places in me, these issues that I cling to, that I might put them on your altar where you would heal and transform them in me. So that I may live in the fullness of your love and mercy, forgiveness and peace. So that I might do your will in this world as I was designed to do it. So that my life would be fulfilled through your good graces and love.
It is only in a close relationship to God in which we are listening to God’s Indwelling Spirit throughout our days that how we need to change is revealed to us, that we can be devoted totally to God. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to take us step by step from our slavery to the world to God’s kingdom. So that we can be on the same page with God. So that we don’t need to be perfect, but even 50% committed to God is a vast improvement on how most of us follow his message.
If we’re open at all to Jesus’s teachings, we would be studying Jesus’s message for us all the time. We’d be asking his help in order to conform to the teachings. We’d be lifting up all the places we fail to follow God’s laws. We would seriously apply ourselves to listening to what the Lord wants us to do in this moment and in the next. And we would do what He asks of us. Our lives would be oriented around God’s presence. Our focus would be on God and what He wants of us right now, and in the next moment. We would immerse ourselves in his Word and we would spend our days in his presence so that we wouldn’t miss anything that He says or reveals to us.
Each of us, whether we recognize it or not, needs God in our lives, to heal us, to transform us, to bring us to the fullness of who we could be. We long for completion of our purpose here on earth. We wish we could be fulfilled. We long for the One who loves us. We long to be forgiven for all that we have done.
God is the answer to all of our longings, to all of our questions about life. He will reveal to us the most natural things for us to be and to do, all based on his plan for each of us. He wants us to be free of our slavery to the world’s ways, so that we can fulfill the purpose He has in mind for each of us. What He has in mind for each of us is the fulfillment of our human nature, just as He desires that for each and every plant and animal He has created.
We humans are more complicated than most species, because we were given free will to be as we were designed to be or not. Perhaps we were his great experiment in creation to see if we would come back to his sphere, to his laws, to our own fulfillment or not. He must have trusted us with the choice and wondered how we would do. He must have hoped that we would return to his ways. For therein lies our joy, our peace and love. Only in him do we gain all of our creation’s promise. Only in him do we truly find ourselves.
God is the only answer to all the questions and longing in our lives. A true partnership with Jesus had is the way to God. In attaching ourselves to Jesus Christ, we will be pruned of all unproductive stuff in us and allowed to blossom into the fullness of who we were created to be. And then we will bear much fruit with God our Father, the Holy Spirit and the Son, Jesus Christ. [John 15:1-8]
Questions to ponder over the week: Do I bring all of myself to God or only the acceptable parts of me? Do I really believe that God could love me just as I am and forgive me for all that I have said and done? Am I deaf and blind to Jesus’ teachings? In which areas of my life? What would I need to do to hear and see exactly what Christ is saying to me?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who give ourselves wholeheartedly to God. May we lay our pain and suffering at his feet to heal and to transform. May we use our knowledge of his love and forgiveness of us to love and forgive ourselves.
Check the archives of my blog on this page going back to 2011 at bythewaters.net/blog.html.
There are two new videos now on FB page, By the Waters: “The Essence of Christianity” and “I Am Free.”