Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I won’t leave you!

When Jesus asked His disciples if they were going to leave Him like many others were doing at the time, Peter answered, “Where would we go? You alone have the words of eternal life.”

To those men, to me, and to hundreds of millions of others, Jesus is the most important relationship in our lives. In comparison to living with Jesus in our lives, living without Him was a wasteland. That is why, when Jesus was nearing the end of His time on earth, His disciples began to panic. “Where are you going and why can’t we come with you?” To reassure them that all would be well, Jesus said, “I won’t leave you as orphans. After My resurrection and after My ascension I will come to you again in the form of My Spirit.”

We who are in a healed and forgiven relationship with Jesus, aren’t alone. We aren’t without Supernatural help. We who believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour have the very Spirit of Creator God residing in and with us. Sadly, you wouldn’t know it by the way many of us act. We worry and suffer from anxiety. We fear the same things that pagans fear. We divorce and remarry and divorce again. We covet and go after the things of the world just as though they’re important to a fulfilling life. So the question is. If we have the very power of Jesus the Christ available to us, why are our lives so shabby? Why do we live as though we are still the weaklings we were before coming to Jesus? Why are we not “More than conquerors” like Paul said we could be? Well, I think it works like this.

First of all, I’m exaggerating to make a point. Most Christians are NOT like this. However, there are just enough to make it seem like ALL Christians are raging hypocrites. Reality is, many Christians DO live victorious lives that stun people like Richard Dawkins as he observes how they handle tragedy. Many of us are emotionally and spiritually light-years from where we were when Jesus entered our lives. Jesus actually HAS made us more than conquerors. The before and after pictures of our lives show dramatic improvement. However, in many cases the critics are correct. Many Christians have settled for a kind of life that is no better than the life that’s had by their secular neighbours. Now, I can ask again, for those who fit the last description, what’s happened?

Is it a case of, “This is as good as God can make me?” Of course not.

Is it a case of, “This as good as I want to become?”

If that’s true then you have a very incomplete understanding of what God can do and has done for you.

I believe that the lack of victory in the lives of some Christians is because God will only change those areas of our lives that we give Him. Jesus is no bully. If we don’t give Him permission to clean up every single area of our lives, He’s not going to force us. If we’re determined to do so, Jesus will allow us to live with the consequences of sin. Far too many Christians can identify communicating with their Creator only when things look grim. For many Christians, it takes something extremely difficult before they remember, “Oh ya! God says He will help me. Jesus says He’ll change me for the better.” And so they settle into lives where:

We’ll come to God for help in our tragedy but we won’t seek His advice regarding our goals

We’ll talk to God about keeping our children safe, but we won’t ask Him to make us the kind of parents that our children need. It’s a kind of, “Change them Lord, not us.”

We’ll ask God for advice about our actions but we want to hang on to our attitudes

We’ll ask God to be close to us on Sunday but forget about Him on Monday

We’ll say Lord please take control over those making my life difficult but let me have control over how I treat them

We’ll say Lord I want You to keep me from physical dangers, but I want the freedom to expose myself to emotional and spiritual dangers.

We’ll say Lord I want you to free me from porn but leave me alone when I lust over the person next door or the person at the office.

No wonder non Christians gag when we're in their presence!

Christianity is not something you just dabble in. You’re either All In or you’re a fraud, a pretender, someone who’s in it for the goodies. And when those goodies don’t arrive, you take off and try something else. Jesus demands all of our lives, all of our thoughts, all of our behaviours. Why? Because
Then and only then will we be living abundantly.

Then and only then will we be living life to the full.

Then and only then will we have a path of living a salvation, of living a faith that is worth sharing with others.

Then and only then will we be on the path to becoming the type of citizens that God wants in His kingdom of Heaven.

We simply cannot be victorious Christians when we attempt to maintain control over ANY portion of our lives. In fact, wanting to not give complete control of our lives to Jesus shows that we have a very incomplete understanding of what our relationship with Jesus is all about.

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