By David Brenneman
We often are bewildered by life. A path that we were so sure of didn't turn out the way we hoped. What happened? Did God fail at following through? Oh no, it's never that my Dear Reader. Never that.
We are a people between actually multiple worlds. In Christ we are to live for Jesus. In marriage we live for spouse and family. At work we live for the cause we were hired for, for the time we are there. Away from these we live, honestly, for self.
We split our time between so many people and causes. The brief moments we are finding ourselves in perfect peace are when we actually, possibly, doing God's will. Not for the mere moment but the long run. Anyone can make a choice, a decision, and find peace in it. Our paths to peace and rest aren't the path that Jesus walks.
Jesus told us in the Scriptures that we're going to have troubles. We aren't going to necessarily find peace and rest. Those who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer. Basically put it's going to be a rough ride. But why do we seek peace and rest so much? We often are after the promise of it that's for when we get to Heaven earlier than is going to happen. The transformation of us from what we were to where we are going to be in Christ is going to be a bit bumpy.
Our love for God, love for others is going to take us places we never dreamed possible. Look at the lives of the Disciples. That's certainly what happened with them. Peace and rest isn't the same as recharging. We have to get in the habit of going back to the well within us that's connected to the Spirit in order to be transformed. Prayer, time away with God.
We are reminded that we are His workmanship. A work in progress until the day we step into Heaven. Jesus doesn't stop in this work.
We make choices and decisions that prolong or shorten what's necessary to become more like Christ.
Taking up your own cross and following Jesus is our obedience to that transformation process. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is comfortable, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30 NASB.
What's interesting to me is the shape of a yoke and the cross beam of a cross are nearly the same. They join across the shoulders. They bear the weight.
We often run from the necessary things in life that we need to go through to be transformed and wonder where God went.
Jesus didn't move.
You indeed may walk through the valley of the shadow of death...you may at least think it's that scary and painful...but if you're doing what God wants, you won't go it alone. Daniel was in a lions den. That's certainly a great graphical illustration of walking through a valley of the shadow of death. Daniel's friends in the firey furnace. That too certainly is a walk through a valley of the shadow of death.
In both cases we see it WAS God's will that they go down that path.
We are going to face heavy criticism for living Godly in Christ Jesus. We aren't any better than the other's who have desired to walk Godly in Christ Jesus.
But as Scripture does speak to, we often have a run at being a Prodigal Son or Daughter. We turn left instead of right or right instead of left and get off the road of life that the Spirit intended us to stay on.
We are swayed by popular opinion. We are seeking an end to suffering that's not in God's plans for us yet. We are the ones who moved. Not Jesus.
Recognize your position. Repent and return in obedience to where you know God had been working in you. Return to honest prayer. Return to your Savior who has both never left you and yet is still waiting on you to acknowledge your need to obey Him.
Your life isn't your own. You were bought with a price. 1 Corinthians 6:20 NASB "for you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body. "
We aren't going to achieve what is God's plans for you and I if we keep taking the surgical instruments out of His hands to do it ourselves on ourselves.
We will be convinced, at least for a time, that the road we put ourselves on is the right one. Yet in time we find it empty. Without real fulfillment. Without anything substantial. Going on your feelings and emotions will cause you to deceive yourself. We can't be trusted but Jesus can. We can't be following Jesus and yet tell Him where to go in leading us! Because this way feelings better. This way doesn't hurt so much. That way looks safer.
If we're honest we waste a whole lot of time on us and don't spend nearly enough on time with Jesus. We can't know what His yoke is like if we don't put it on. We can't know what He says the results will be if we don't obey.
Praying at all times. Living for Jesus a life that is true. Striving to please Him in all that I do. Oh Jesus Lord and Savior I give myself to Thee for thou in thy atonement didst give Thyself for me. I owe no other Master my heart shall be Thy throne. My life I give henceforth to live for Christ to Thee alone.
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