Picture yourself on a journey. Maybe it’s hiking through the mountains or a desert road. You are trying to navigate your way to a destination that in your mind will be better than where you left. Now, imagine you come to a place with many options to choose. It’s the proverbial, “fork in the road” we’ve always imagined.
We like options, but sometimes options can be overwhelming. Do I take the high road or crooked path? Do I take the path less traveled with weeds and bushes overgrown on the once traveled trail? Is the path straight ahead been purposely cleared for me or will it turn out to be just like the path I left? After all, I left for an adventure, didn’t I?
And so, dear brothers and sisters who belong to God and* are partners with those called to heaven, think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God’s messenger* and High Priest. Hebrews 3:1 NLT
The audience isn’t the lost, but the follower of Christ. The reality of our journey is that we can be overwhelmed by the options competing for our time and attention. I love the Message translation of this verse:
“So, my dear Christian friends, companions in following this call to the heights, take a good hard look at Jesus. He’s the centerpiece of everything we believe, faithful in everything God gave him to do.”
Every option we consider will be covered in appealing decor to draw us by the same temptation that trapped Eve in the garden. Yet, if we take a good hard look at Jesus, we will see that it is the only genuine option that can deliver on its promise. It’s not the easiest option, but it’s the only one that is victorious.
It can become wearisome to travel this road. Every once in a while we just need to be reminded to take a good hard look at Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people. Luke 2:52
There is a tension we experience in knowing who we are in Christ and who Christ is in us. This “now, but not yet” tension keeps us digging, discovering, and determined to find more. We experience this naturally when we read a good book or movie. Tension keeps us interested, awake, and longing to find out more. Tension is the strength that holds everything together.
Jesus had this tension present in discovering his mission and identity. He lingered in the temple discussing the things of God and questioning the religious systems. His remarks to His parents frantically looking for Him were not rebellious but innocently questioning their understanding of His identity and mission. He was curious to why it wasn’t their priority in raising Him.
Yielding to their authority, Jesus grew in this wisdom and increased in his prominence and influence with all around Him. In other words; Jesus became contagious as He grew in relationship vertically with His Father. Jesus as a young boy should influence us to hunger to know God more because our vertical relationship propels us to greater influence horizontally in this world. It’s not that the world is looking to embrace the kingdom, but the people living in it are desperate to find life!
The method of “sprinkling Christianity” on our life isn’t working. Sprinkles are intended for looks and to give the substance a shot of flavor. The taste of substance is below the sprinkles. You can throw sprinkles on anything, but it doesn’t make it attractive. I can think of a list of things I wouldn’t eat, even if you put sprinkles on it. I would start with broccoli. Why should we expect our relationship with God to be any different?
Instead of sprinkling Christianity on our life, we could give our lives to knowing God. Discovering who we are in Christ and who Christ is in us should drive the very substance of our life. It’s a never ending tension of intimate relationship of identifying our new life in the kingdom and who Christ is in us – victorious and triumphant! We can be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. If we will make Him our substance and not the sprinkles!
disclaimer – this blog is my attempt to be consistent and faithful with putting on paper the things God has allowed me to both see and hear concerning the kingdom. I apologize for being inconsistent to my readers. I do value each one of you and I will work at being much better at consistently posting to my site.
“…And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:7-8 NKJV
Faith is defined in Hebrews 11 as the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” In fact, the Bible is pretty clear when it comes to the role of faith. Faith that is missing isn’t pleasing to God. Yet, how do we define faith? According to Jesus own words, it’s going to be hard to find what pleases Him when he returns to get His bride. It’s difficult to think about, but the hard truth to swallow is that we know people that have lost their “faith.” They have become jaded or skeptical in believing the promises of God. In fact, some have walked away from even embracing the good news because they’ve lost their “faith.”
Jesus gives us a direct promise and warning in two small verses. We can believe and receive a breakthrough if we simply continue in prayer. However, many will loose faith while waiting for the promise to bear fruit. It’s the tension between hope and harvest that hangs in the balance today. We are given great and precious promises, but we expect them to come in a time and package that makes our life comfortable.
As a result of this mentality, many have become disinterested in prayer. Many turn away from the hour of prayer that fuels faith, simply because they don’t pray with faith (believing they have before they see it). God is ready to avenge “speedily” the cause of the righteous. Yet, if we turn away from praying in faith, we will never see justice applied. Today, if we return to God in humility and begin to pray, believing, God will do great things among us. Pray and Go, Go and Pray. This is the model Jesus left us. It works everytime we mix in faith. Will you pray, believing?