It’s Worth It

“Will you let the superficial overtake or become more important than the significant by taking Jesus out of the happiness equation?”
Recent studies show that “suicidal thinking, severe depression and rates of self-injury among U.S. college students more than doubled over less than a decade.”
The author quoted this study and made the point that there were at least two reasons for this: a loss of significance and a loss of a moral compass from a higher source, namely God.
In short, doing our own things doesn’t work.
Significant comes from doing what Jesus said to do, even though it is harder and out of our comfort zone. Superficial is doing what you want to do because it is easier and can be done quickly.
Significant actions bring long-term fulfillment, but short-term uncomfortableness as we are being made competent by Christ. Superficial activities bring short-term happiness, but long-term angst because our actions don’t have lasting meaning.
Actual listening to and following Jesus does work.
I don’t mean what we think Jesus says to do; what “Christianity” has said to do; and certainly not what our church or pastoral relationship says to do.
I mean loving Jesus enough to trust Him when He asks us to obey Him, knowing full well that doing what He says could make us extremely uncomfortable.
Simply put, obeying Him brings significance and meaning to our lives. It gives us a reason to attack each day while facing a world that is quite hostile to His way of thinking.
Yeah it can hurt and sometimes be uncomfortable. In the end, though, it is extremely worth it.

Stay Humble

“Always be humble and kind.” Tim McGraw
We ARE NOT as good as we think we are. In fact, there is junk in our lives we don’t even realize is junk until we see it in black and white on the pages of Scripture.
And because this is true, we also don’t realize we are being forgiven for that junk long before we recognize it as sin in need of forgiveness.
This is the sin offering of Leviticus 4. Forgiveness for sin done in ignorance. This is one of the seven sacrifices Jesus fulfilled on the cross, culminating in His statement, “It is finished.”
Thus, we need to stay humble. As Paul writes, “Let anyone who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
As I minister in the realm of law enforcement, I see the ugly side of humanity. I see “good” people on their bad days, and “bad” people on their hellish days.
In order not to become jaded, I filter what I see through the truth: I am just as broken as the next person. I need a Savior who fixes my brokenness today, tomorrow and on the day I will pass through this plane of existence.
If I am to boast at all, I will boast of my Savior, the One who continually fixes my brokenness. This keeps me humble. It also allows me to be kind to other just as broken “good” or “bad” people.
Thank Jesus that you can be fixed! As you do, you’ll stay humble and kind. Everyone, including you, needs a Savior.

Secure Despite the Current

“There are only two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’” C.S. Lewis
This is one of the best deep sea fishing spots off the Big Island of Hawaii. And the best way to reach these fish is by boat. There is a catch, however. The current just off this point is so strong that a boat can’t stay in the area where the fish are located.
Solution? The local fisherman tied their canoes to this rock. It allowed them to stay in the sweet spot where the best fishing was, despite the strong current.
There is a strong current running in western culture today. It’s the belief that “my truth” and “your truth” are okay, even if they are polar opposite. This current will cause many followers of Christ to drift…if they are not anchored in His Truth.
Life is not going to get easier, but harder for those who want to follow Jesus. There are simply too many other strong currents trying to tug us away the presence of the One we say we love, Jesus.
Want to stay in the sweat spot? Stay anchored to the truths Jesus gives you. His truth will set you free from all the negative consequences of my truth or your truth.

Action Time

“Hope in every sphere of life is a privilege that attaches to action. No action, no hope.” Peter Levi, poet
You know the type. Those who are all talk, but no action. When they speak, they don’t inspire much confidence in you that they will actually do what they say.
Jesus was all talk and all action.
Scripture tells us that before the creation of the world, Jesus said He was coming to redeem a fallen creation. The Father heard it. The Spirit heard it.
He could have said with chest puffed out and arms back, “I’m diving in. I’m going to take on humanity in order to die and rise again for humanity.”
He could be posing as the big rescuer, “Yup, I’m going to do it. I’ll be the One to save humanity.”
It was all talk until the moment of truth showed up. Would He or wouldn’t He enter Mary’s womb?
Thankfully, Jesus was not a posturing. Praise God He was not acting like a poser. No. He said. He acted. And we have hope today because He did.
Our world needs hope, not mere words. Let’s follow Jesus by actually doing what He has told us to do, which by the way, will inspire others to do the same.

2020 Vulnerability

“The issue of faith is not so much whether we believe in God, but whether we believe the God we believe in.” R.C. Sproul
The vulnerability of Christ brought about the possibility of change into your world.
The moment Jesus decided to enter Mary’s womb at the human life conception stage, He was vulnerable. Jesus had given complete control of His life to someone other than Himself.
According to biblical law, Mary could have been stoned to death for committing adultery, which, of course, she hadn’t. But from a human perspective she had. And if she was stoned, Jesus would have died right along with her.
Joseph was told in a dream to flee to Egypt in order to protect Jesus as a child. If he hadn’t, Herod’s forces would have wiped Jesus out.
Jesus understands what it means to be vulnerable. So when the Word of God asks us to be completely vulnerable/transparent with another believer in Christ in order to see our lives transformed (James 5:16), He was talking from experience.
Listen and follow Jesus into vulnerability. If you do, your world can be changed for eternity.