To walk with Jesus.
Many of us have shared the same dream. Perhaps it was momentary. Say, in response to a life-altering event, or a prayer. Maybe it was for clarification of scripture, or because you realized that you had fallen in love with Him? For me, I know often it has been a result of deep longing or an answer to a question left unsatisfied by my study of scripture or the wisdom shared by a mentor. In fact, I have to admit many times it is because deep down I wanted to ask Him to His face, if I was doing it right! There were times when that even seems holy somehow! It is kinda Peter-ish isn’t it? So I have to laugh at myself. I do!
Let me digress for a moment just to make this statement: If you feel like that too, but are too afraid your friends may find you “spiritually immature” because you allow yourself to admit it; that you sometimes have trouble with the idea of His up-close-and-personal reassurances being wanted and welcome…then both you and your friends need to hug some stuff out and take it to Father together. Ask Him to remind you WHO HE IS and therefore what that means that you are all HIS children!
That to say, I have dreamt of and thought of, and longed to know what it would have been like to be Peter at a campfire listening to The Teacher’s voice. To have been Nathaniel when Jesus found me and looked upon His face as it crept into my being that I was standing face to face with The Son of God, who was and is my Savior! And although many of the burning questions of my heart have been answered just by knowing Him, and being in Him and Him in me…I must admit there are still times, more than I would like, where I feel if only I could walk with Jesus the man, I could somehow know Jesus the God better. It doesn’t sound harmful, but it can be dangerous ground.
It is understandable when you fall in love to naturally want to be with that person. Up-close-and-personal. I want my wife by my side, my kids on my lap, my friends in the room, and my dogs by my feet! Wouldn’t it be cool if I could have Jesus right there in the room too? In a rocking chair spinning yarns about His walks along the sea? Sure it would. Of course, based off my prayer life in some seasons it wouldn’t be long before I wanted to stash Him in a box and take Him out just when I had company. Place Him on my mantle maybe? Wear Him around my neck? You know, to let everyone know I still believe in case they were wondering why they hadn’t seen me share The Gospel with anyone in awhile…
And there it is. Control and convenience. Ouch. Could it be that I want to make my personal relationship with Jesus Christ one of control and convenience? Where I can control what His sacrifice means to me and where/when/what he can and cannot resurrect my life…what parts He can have and what parts are mine? Sunday mornings are God’s but Saturday nights are mine. My talents are Gods, but the time to use them and the money I reap from them, belongs to me. Am I one of those folks that enjoy the occasional corporate fest, or family Thanksgiving, but would burst a blood vessel if someone from church or work dropped by my house just to say “Hi” because it interrupts the flow of my day?
In other words, could it be that my relationship with Christ isn’t very different from my other relationships?
Only we humans, as messed up as we are, could take the gracious revelation of Christ in our lives and attempt to glorify ourselves in it.
If you believe in the prosperity gospel, which scripture (quoting Paul here) would say “is no gospel at all” then you probably want to stop reading now. I’m not saying you should, I am just saying you want to. I get that.
If you are still reading, thank you for hanging in there. You get a surprise. The surprise is that I am NOT going to say that as a follower of Jesus you won’t experience amazing things in your life, both spiritual and physical gifts…maybe even money! And money sometimes brings convenience AND control, in particular if we handle it the same way we handle our poor view and understanding of The Cross. That the sacrifice of The Son was somehow about us having an easier time of things if we align ourselves with the forces of good?
Understand this. He lived a perfect life Jesus did, because you couldn’t and you wouldn’t if you could. He died for your sin, as a sacrifice that you and I weren’t clean enough to make. He was resurrected to show us He was EXACTLY who He said He was, that He had conquered death, forever in all its forms.
But The Spirit? What was that about? The Spirit, called by Jesus Himself “The Comforter” was not given simply to make us comfortable; it was given so we would be empowered to comfort others! As Jesus does! That we would be empowered to be like our Savior on this planet. That the things we could not do before, like giving until it hurts or sharing all that we have or judging not or forgiving or healing OR LOVE – these would be and are impossible OUTSIDE OF HIM! Without His Holy Spirit, do not even TRY to love someone like Jesus loves! Understand I am saying, explicitly, that had Christ not meant for our example to be pouring ourselves out for others, HE MAY WELL HAVE JUST STAYED IN HEAVEN!
So let me clearly restate this – and I do so just as much for my clarity as I do for yours. If I see Jesus. If I see His birth, His death, His resurrection. If I see the life He lived. If I read or listen to His words. If I ask Him to reveal Himself in me, in my life, to manifest His truth in me… and I can still claim that The Gospel tells me, anywhere, that His sacrifice was to empower me to be all about me, I need to look again.
Literally. Change. Your. Mind. Refocus on Christ. Look again!
You see, could I walk with Jesus Himself in the flesh, I would. And yet I know that scripture tells me that when I am filled with His Spirit, along with my brothers and sisters in Christ, that we are better off as a whole. And there is still something inside me at times that longs to know Him in the flesh in part because I fall prey to a lie that says I would know Him better if I could just reach out and touch Him.
Lord renew my mind! I have forgotten that Jesus never said we wouldn’t be able to reach out and touch Him anymore. He just said His hands would look different. In fact what He said was further reaching that the rules we study in Exodus, and has as much implication in our lives as the story of David’s stand against Goliath.
He said, “What you did unto the least of these you did unto me.”