Tuesday, January 23, 2024
by David Brenneman
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds." Matthew 16:24-27.
Whether it be myself or others that I have met, seen or read about in my life, everyone is trying to "get a life". Trying as hard as they know how to create their own little slice of Heaven here on Earth.
The longer that I have been a Christian the more evidence that I see of the underlying despair present in those who reject Jesus's plans and purpose for their lives. Oftentimes people who are not yet believers I can sense almost a spiritual black hole. A prevailing darkness even.
Their mask of a smile certainly not covering their true face of sadness or anger or even both.
We cannot find our lives apart from a real right relationship with Jesus on His terms, done His way, in His timing. It just doesn't happen any other way. We trust, we obey. We listen, we do. Jesus's words from the Great Commission..."And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”" Matthew 28:18-20.
We are to learn what life is to be in Christ and teach others to do the same.
We aren't going to 'arrive' here on Earth. It doesn't work that way. A life in Christ begins here. Until we step into eternity we're always to be growing and learning into the character of Christ.
We read in the Bible that every single person will give an account of their lives before Jesus. Believers won't be condemned, but will give a showing of all that they did in obedience to God's Word. The unbelieving will be shown that no matter what works they'd done in life it was not going to equal the requirement of salvation through Jesus Christ alone.
I often can sense the profound sadness in others that I have worked with. A sadness that has a solution, but, these people aren't willing to embrace that solution. I cannot fathom a life with hope being equated with luck. There's no such thing as luck. True hope only exists in the hands of God.
We're not going to discover ourselves apart from a life surrendered to Jesus Christ. We're not going to see what plans He has for us until we agree to all His terms. We do not choose even our own positions within the Church. The Bible says that the Spirit of God places each one in the body of Christ as He sees fit. Our own aspirations need to be in sync with who we are to be in Christ as the Spirit directs us. Paul even spoke to this.
"For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it." 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.
We might not understand our placement in the body of Christ...and honestly that's ok. It's part of trusting that God's plan for you is what's best.
I have desires and aspirations that aren't going to be met in my life. Regardless of my feelings about it, my life is in His hands. My life is being molded into the character of Christ Jesus. What I do or don't do, what I achieve or don't, doesn't really matter if it's not going to help me become more like Jesus...is it going to be worth it?
"For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory." Colossians 3:3-4.
Disappointment is always a potential possibility. But my Dear Reader...don't get ahead of Jesus. Don't lag behind Him. Don't do anything but keep pace with Him. In any race, who would win? You or Jesus?
It is enough to be who you were meant to be in Christ. Be at peace in that thought.
We will take nothing with us into the next life but what the Spirit's done in us to be like Jesus.
Don't expect the rest of the world to understand what struggles you are going through in regards to growing in Christ. Those in this present darkness cannot understand the light of Jesus Christ.
Jesus leads, we follow. When He says to rest, rest. When He says it time to move, move. When the world around seems dark, He is the light.
You're only going to find what you are truly looking for when you only do so through the understanding that the Spirit of God gives you. Leaning not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5-6.
All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.