July 2, 2022

Two Inquiries to Consider Your Relationship with Jesus

It was New 12 months’s Eve, and the ten of us gathered in the lounge for dessert. We started reflecting on the 12 months that was in now its closing hours.

Every couple took turns reviewing highs and lows of the 12 months. For essentially the most half, it had been a great 12 months. Larger and higher alternatives, sudden monetary success, the beginning of wholesome kids and the accelerated elimination of debt have been among the objects on the nice checklist.

However it had additionally been an exceptionally difficult 12 months. Issues had occurred that now solid a shadow of uncertainty on what the subsequent 12 months would maintain.

All the things was good now, however how lengthy wouldn’t it proceed? Would the issues that had gone awry final 12 months create repercussions that might undermine all of the issues we had held so dearly? For some, the concern of dropping the roles they liked was changing into a definite risk. For others, illness continued to weaken a physique and hang-out the hope of future happiness.

The foundations—each folks and establishments—we had grown to depend on had been shaken, and due to it the home we had known as residence started to really feel like a lodge we might quickly have to take a look at of. The fact of how sudden a curve within the street can seem was sobering us.

As I sat there, I started to ask myself a query that I might have by no means dared to ask earlier than: What if Jesus has a distinct objective for my life than I do?

Reconsidering targets

Time-out. This was not a conversion second for me. I’ve at all times been an ardent follower of Christ. This was not a disaster of function second. I used to be then and am now a pastor. I’ve labored on the similar church for the higher a part of a decade. I’ve by no means made a significant resolution in my life with out prayer or counsel from Godly leaders. After I started to query if Jesus and I had the identical targets, I’m not speaking concerning the form of targets that should do with profession strikes or a life’s work.

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It was somewhat greater than that.

I’m speaking about targets as in a basic path, as within the objective of progress, enchancment, the factor we name success, the targets of getting extra, doing extra, being extra, the targets of shifting upward, ahead, and onward. You see, I had been accustomed to a Jesus who cooperates with me and people targets, the Jesus who desires me to have extra open doorways, extra stuff and extra completely happy experiences.

As I sat there and requested myself that query on New 12 months’s Eve, I spotted that I had simply begun to see Jesus once more. Not a Jesus who desires to make me depressing or poor as a result of that’s in some way extra noble or pure. But additionally not a Jesus who robotically works for my basic development and enchancment on this world. Not a Jesus of sadistic intentions, but additionally not a Jesus of suburban values.

Seeing Jesus anew

I’ve begun to see the Jesus of the Gospels, who got here to show the understood notion of faith and the way it works on its head; the Jesus who pressured folks to rethink their rationale for his or her routines; the Jesus who challenged values and socially accepted vices and virtues.

This can be a subversive Jesus. This can be a King whose humble beginning and pleasant demeanor hid His true agenda of ruling our lives. And He gained’t cease till He has each a part of our hearts.

I’ve mentioned that earlier than, however I’m beginning to notice what which may actually imply. It means He’ll do the whole lot in His energy—the whole lot—to make us His. So, if giving us stuff achieves that objective, then so be it. But when taking away stuff will get us there faster, He simply might go for that route. He’s our buddy in the way in which that we’ve got by no means absolutely understood a buddy to be—one who will act for our good even after we don’t see it nearly as good.

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For sure, none of this was consoling me as I sat there in my front room with my mates.

My ideas have been halted as one other query was raised: Are any of us nearer to Jesus at the moment than we have been when this 12 months started?

It was a query borrowed from Henry Nouwen’s guide, Within the Title of Jesus. Nouwen describes an analysis of his personal coronary heart as he stood on the threshold of ministry burnout regardless of the obvious success that surrounded him. His phrases are chopping of their fact: Burnout is “a handy psychological translation for a non secular loss of life.”

Nouwen’s personal quest to return to the center of Christ led him to depart his place of prominence as an eminent faith professor at Harvard and take residence with mentally handicapped adults at Le Arche.

Asking trustworthy questions

As soon as once more, I used to be staring down a query that didn’t console or provide hope as I used to be used to recognizing it. Each of those questions provoked me, created extra unrest. That’s too tame. They wrecked me to the core. They bore into my soul like an enormous drill, exposing a core I had not seen—or was too ashamed to confess was me.

I liked my life. I liked my job, and all of the success and recognition and alternatives that got here with it. I valued the affect, appreciated the soundness, and banked on my potential—actually.

However within the midst of all of these great issues, had my relationship with Christ, the Particular person, been deepened? I hadn’t backslidden, or “let my love develop chilly,” however did I actually interact the dwelling Christ extra intimately than I had the earlier 12 months?

Asking a Christ-follower in the event that they’re happy with their relationship with God is like asking a millionaire if he has sufficient cash. There’s at all times extra available. All of us can spend extra time with our children, earn more money, or learn the Bible extra. However what I used to be wrestling with that New 12 months’s Eve was not higher programs or schedules, or time-management methods, or proactive habits of prioritization. It was a profound second of coming to grips with a fact that gave each the questions their edge: Christ is after me. He’s after me utterly, and He gained’t cease till He has me.

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And He’s after you.

For all of the blessings, alternatives, healings, miracles, provisions, protections, and stability that He has given you, there’s one factor that He values extra, one factor that He would commerce all the above for: you.

And that’s exactly what makes our religion in Christ so unexpectedly subversive to our personal agenda. This religion that we’ve embraced, this Life that we’ve got taken into our hearts, can be our undoing. And it means to be that. It’s designed to be the tip of us. The Jesus I’ve come to see and know at work in my life is the One who involves undermine my very own small-minded and wrong-headed plans. He’s the Trojan Horse of blessing that we readily welcome into our hearts with out figuring out His mission to destroy us. For He has not come to convey peace, however a sword. That is the subversive Christ.

However this subversion is the means to His ends. In our loss of life, we discover His life. In our give up, we discover His sovereignty.

So, if you happen to haven’t but skilled the doorways of the good picket horse bursting open with warriors bent in your defeat, wait. It’s coming. And when it does, when Christ comes to save lots of your life by making you lose it, embrace Him. Embrace Him once more as you probably did at first whenever you thought Christianity was all about your happiness. Embrace His work. Rely all of it pleasure. It is going to save your life. Once more.

Copyright 2008 Glenn Packiam. All rights reserved.