weekly theme #43 Jesus Is The Way*
week containing the Sunday between August 21 and 27
Most of the people I meet don’t have anything bad to say about Jesus, but they don’t embrace him as the one, true God either. They are his fans, not his followers. They have pushed Jesus to “nice guy” status, and the leap of faith required to go from fan to follower is too great for them. Yet millions throughout history have taken that leap from fan to follower. How? Jesus is a demanding LORD, but he is also a LORD who cares deeply for his followers. He cares enough to suffer for me in ways I can’t understand, so I can be intimately and eternally with him. Jesus loves me so much that when others oppose me due to my commitment to him, he takes it personally – as an offense on himself. This is the Christ, the one I serve, and the one who loves me.
Jesus challenges me to measure life by a different standard than the world. Quality of life is not measured by possessions, power, or even productivity. Quality of life is measured by my love for both Jesus and others. I struggle to use that unit of measurement. I have so few models of people who have been willing to do without excess so they can help others. Not for their glory, but for God’s.
“… love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.” I can become anxious when the unexpected happens. Things that are out of my control disturb me. Jesus’ disciples panicked when a strong storm threatened to swamp the boat that carried them as well as Jesus himself. They woke him shouting, “Lord, save us.” Jesus told the storm to still and then questioned the faith of his disciples. Jesus is all-powerful and watches over us; he is in the boat with us! My fear is evidence that I don’t fully believe those facts.
I find following Jesus to be quite an adventure. Each time I turn a corner, I find a new land stretching before me. When I think I’ve reached the top, I find the pinnacle is further up. And sometimes when I think I’m making good progress, I find that I need to retrace my steps – because I’m not on the path prepared for me by Jesus. Any old path won’t do. Jesus is the way.
When I think I’ve been following Jesus, but still come to a dead-end, I’m faced with a choice. Find my own solution, or wait for Jesus’ solution. It is a time of decision – do I trust him or not? Who will receive glory for this rescue? “For everything comes from him; everything exists by his power and is intended for his glory. To him is glory evermore. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)
*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections. I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used. It truly lives up to its title.