Less is More

More of Jesus, less of me.

“I sure wish Jesus had nothing to say.” Can you imagine that?

You’re probably asking, “What in the world is he talking about?” John writes in 1 John 2 that obedience is the goal of those who love Jesus. Obedience is how we show, not just say, we love God that results in less sinning which each choice of obedience.

John then goes on to say, if we do sin, though, Jesus has our back with the Father. “Hey, Abba, I’ve got that one and that one and that one and that one….” He doesn’t want us to mess up, but He also realizes that the process of growth/change is never a straight line.

Change is never easy. The between zone (April 25, 2024 entry) can get pretty ugly and rough at times. Our Father, though, is love. And, He tells us that perfect love doesn’t fear punishment or shame as He took care of both on the cross through Jesus’ death. Love is what draws us near to Him.  

Yes, Jesus is a great talker. But, how about giving Him a rest so He can hear more of our praises for both the small and big victories He is producing in us? Less sin and more praises.

Less of me is indeed more Him, don’t you think?

Gotta Let It Go

Anchors are good, unless they’re holding you back.

My wife and I like to fish from our kayaks while taking in the majestic scenery around us. And once we find a spot where the fish are biting, we put down anchor so our kayaks stay in that place. We want to spend more time fishing than we do setting up to or trolling for fish.

Yet if the fish stop biting, we have to pull up anchor to go where they are. In our walks with Christ, it’s scary to pull up that anchor!

We love to stay put even though the fish are long gone while blaming our complacency on the false belief that the fish have just stopped biting. Maybe, or maybe it’s because change is hard.

Change, however, leads us to where Christ wants us to be…closer to Him. We must be willing to let the past victories go, the hurts from our losses or the hurts others have caused us in order to move forward with Jesus.

There is a song I sung as a kid, “Where He leads me I will follow.” This has not always been true in my life. Probably like you, I like being comfortable; and yet, walking with Him is not always comfortable.

Yes, anchors keep is stable. They were not meant, though, to stay in one place forever. They were meant to hold us in place until a need to move arose.

Is Jesus asking you to move forward? If so, it’s time to pull up anchor and move to where He wants you to be.

Have the fish have moved on, but you haven’t? It’s time to recognize that you love comfort and normal more than growing as a believer in Jesus.

Is Christ asking you to move to a new location, a new ministry, a new of thinking or believing? Whatever it is, you gotta let it go to find the true fulfillment that can only be found in moving forward with Jesus.

You’re in Good Company

Being a Christian is about constant progress towards perfection.

When we say that we are Christians, we must understand what the word means biblically, not culturally. The word is only used three times, but tells quite a story.

1 Peter 4:12-17 tells us that we are to live as Christ lived. My paraphrase, “Don’t be ashamed of suffering as a Christian. Instead, give thanks to the Father because you’re in good company! Jesus suffered too.”

In last week’s entry, Rejoice in the Small Victories, we talked about becoming more like Jesus. We are to let the Spirit change our lives with each small step/victory at a time, which allows others to see Jesus in both our actions and our words.

This process, however, will not always go over well with others. Acts 11:26 reveals that believers in Jesus were called Christians. They didn’t give this name to themselves. It was a backhanded compliment by those who saw Jesus in them. “Oh, you’re just a Jesus follower.” Yup. I am. Thank you very much.

King Herod took it to another level. He used it in contempt of what Paul was sharing with him. “You want me to become a Christian. You’ve got to be kidding!” (Acts 26:28) No, Herod, Jesus is the King of Kings and you need Him, not the other way around.

Becoming like Jesus will neither be easy nor popular, especially as it gets progressively harder to be a biblical Christian in the West. It’s already hard in Africa, the Middle East, and East (https://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/the-top-countries-facing-christian-persecution/).

Becoming like Jesus will produce, however, a hope beyond measure about today and the future (read Rom. 5:3-5). Therefore, keep taking those small steps of victory. You’re in good company – fellow Christians who are taking those same small steps and Jesus who suffered for…well, being Jesus.

Rejoice in the Small Victories

Even the smallest seed of faith is rewarded.

A few weeks back, I wrote in Uncomfortable Peace about the between zone. It’s the place in time where you exist between when the Father begins and ends the process of conforming you into the image His Son in a particular area.

I mentioned that being in this zone is difficult for me. I want to be like Jesus now, not some indefinite time in the future. I pray for the miracle of instantaneous change, but the reality is that Jesus uses the day-to-day process of choosing Him in my life.

What am I to do while being in the between zone? Learn to appreciate how difficult it was for Jesus to stay holy throughout His entire life. I need to rejoice in the fact that He made the right choice each and every time, in all areas of His life simultaneously. Without it, He couldn’t die for your or my sin.

Therefore, while in the process of change, rejoice. He is changing you one small victory after another small victory. Again, He says rejoice.

Before, you’d just sin. Now, you start catching yourself. Victory. You sense your triggers being pulled to think and act in a sinful way. Victory. The old mindset/behavior creeps to the surface and you ask yourself, “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” Victory.

Now, you stop to ask the Holy Spirit to empower you before heading down that sinful path you were about to go (could be thoughts, words or actions). Victory. Next, you catch yourself asking for His help to reset your thinking by focusing on the truth He wants to implement into your life. Victory. And finally, you discover yourself asking for the faith to act on that truth. Life change. Victory.

Each victory is a small step in the process of a changed life. Yes, they are small victories, but victories none-the-less. Rejoice in those small victories.

As you keep achieving small victories, you’ll move further down the path to becoming like Jesus tomorrow; so, rejoice today!

Yes, it’s okay to be okay while becoming okay. You are taking steps in the right direction. You are experiencing the Spirit make you more like Jesus, the ultimate victory. Therefore, rejoice in the Lord, today.

Running on Empty

God has unlimited ways to draw us closer to Himself.

Running on empty is an oxymoron. I mean, when you run out of gas, your car stops. It’s not a mystical thing, but a law of physics. Yet, what the Spirit had Habakkuk write defies physics!

“Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls…” (Hab. 3:17).

In each case, there was nothing to eat or to use that could meet their basics needs both now and in the future. All their physical efforts to meet their obligations had not only failed today, but left them with nothing to work with for tomorrow as well.

This person had nothing left in the tank. They simply couldn’t make another decision, let alone gather the energy to move forward on any plan. Guess what? The Lord had them right where He wanted them.

Habakkuk continues, “…yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to go on the heights” (Hab. 3:18-19).

Faith in Jesus is the mystical part of life. Despite what I see, what I feel, or what I think, He can supply the fuel to keep going, which goes beyond physics. How? I don’t know! That’s why it’s called faith.

Yet, we are told to rejoice in the Father, our Savior. Why? He is the One who can defy the laws of nature like He did with Elijah (birds brought him meat) or the law of physics like He did with the widow (jars of flour and oil were miraculously refilled each day).

We, however, get used to meeting our own needs (working harder) or filling our own tank (drugs of choice) that we don’t need Him. Really? He is God, not us. He alone can defy logic or go against feeling when the situation looks or feels hopeless.

There are so many examples in Scripture where the Lord used these types of hopeless or empty tank situations to draw His people closer to Himself.

Faith is not the issue either! Faith in whom is. This time of introspection (see last week’s blog entry) has again shown me that, in reality, I have more faith in myself, than in Him. And right now, honestly, He’s got me running on empty so I can learn to love Him more.

By focusing on what He has done in the past and can do in the future, should put a smile on my face because of the joy He can bring to my current situation.

If you are like me, let’s learn to rejoice in and focus on Him. He can give us the fuel to not only not stumble today; but to see life from His perspective – the joy of what He alone can do tomorrow, as well.