I settled into my chair, belly full of Saturday morning pancakes, and opened my Bible. I read one sentence and immediately wanted to shut it and unremember what I had just read. I don’t know if you’re like me when it comes to walking with Jesus but I have all these really grandiose intentions and about a 30% follow-through rate.
I like when He tells me how cherished I am by Him, I don’t like when He challenges me to live differently because of it.
When Jesus talks in parables I love it because imagery is my favorite. I remember learning about similes and metaphors for the first time in middle school — I went home and couldn’t stop describing things with ‘like’ and ‘as’ – “My stomach is rumbling like thunder!” “Mom is as beautiful as the sunset!” etc. I was clearly a budding writer even at such a young age. And a brown-noser.
The parts of the gospels that I am least comfortable with are when Jesus asks straightforward, no-hidden-meaning, you- can’t- interpret- this- differently, kind of questions.
Like the one I encountered this morning (Luke 6:46): “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I tell you?”
I think He actually wants me to answer that.
The thing about God asking us questions is He always asks them for our advantage. He’s not awaiting our response with pen and paper, eagerly hoping to gain some hidden insight into our hearts. He already knows the answer, which is exactly why he asks the question.
So, here’s my reasons for not doing what He tells me to do:
1) Fear of Man – Always first on my list. “What will people think of me?” God asks you to do weird stuff sometimes so if you’re all in, you have to be prepared to be misunderstood and judged. That terrifies me.
2) Apathy – This is where I lean almost entirely into the “Jesus loves me this I know” side of my faith, where I am forever protected and secured in His grace, and I completely abandon the “Go, tell the world about me and be my witnesses even to the ends of the earth” command. This is when I abuse grace.
3) Mistrust – Deep, deep down I don’t know always believe that God really knows what He’s doing all the time. Like my great-great (etc etc) grandma Eve, I often listen to the slippery voice that says, “How do you know that God isn’t holding out on you? What if He’s not all He says He is?” Doubt paralyzes me from obedience.
There you have it. If you thought I was some shiny Christian Wonder Woman before this, I have certainly set the record straight.
I still struggle with these things and I think a part of me always will this side of heaven — but the big “G” Gospel of Jesus Christ is what reorients my priorities when I feel like I deserve to be sucked into the black hole of pity and shame.
His Grace is limitless even when our obedience is so limited. We simply miss out on more of God when we choose not to obey.
He is not held back by our excuses and insecurities, we are.
What are your reasons, reader? If you are a follower of Jesus, why is it that you call HIm ‘Lord’ and yet choose not to listen to His voice?
I just wanna say: I’m right there with you. None of us do this faith thing perfectly, but we have a perfect and good Advocate who empowers us to get up and keep going. So, keep going! We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.