Sunday, February 11, 2018

Godly Indifference

February 11 (Luke 22:42)

Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.  (ESV)

We often find ourselves going out to eat with several families after one of our son’s basketball games.  If it were up to me, we would head to a pizza joint nine times out of ten, and the tenth time it would be to a burger place.  The choice, however, is not up to me alone, and quite often we end up at Chik-Fil-A.  Don’t get me wrong.  I can scarf down a chicken sandwich with the best of them, especially when I get about a hundred packets of sriracha sauce for my fries, but at the end of the day, it really does not matter that much.  What matters is that a bunch of families who are good friends get to spend time in fellowship.

This is what it means to be indifferent to something.  It is not that you do not care at all, but that you are more than willing to go along with something else.  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  That’s all fine and good when it comes to something insignificant like where to eat dinner, but surely, we can’t be expected to be indifferent when it comes to big things like our jobs or families.

Really?  This was precisely the posture of Jesus mere moments before He was arrested and led off to be tried and executed.  He was quite clear in His prayer.  He did not want to suffer what He was about to endure, yet He was fundamentally indifferent when it came to His own life.  The only thing that mattered was the will of the Father.

Lord, I pay lip service to wanting to do Your will and even pray the prayer Jesus taught us that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  You and I both know that is not entirely true for me.  Show me those places where it really is more important to me that my will be done and my vision of life be accomplished, then help me surrender those areas to You.  In the name of Jesus, Who trusted You so completely that He could put His life into Your hands, amen.

Copyright © 2018 by Steven R. Perkins

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Finding Your Heart In Jesus

February 4 (John 16:33)

 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.  (NLT)

Sickness, heartbreak, and loss, to say nothing of fear, worry, and stress, are all a part of life.  This is true for the Christian and non-Christian alike.  Our suffering may be the direct result of spiritual attack, or it may be the consequence of our being alive.  And when we suffer, whether in large or small ways, we have but one desire, that the suffering end.

Here is where our faith runs smack into reality.  We want the suffering to end.  Period.  God says He loves us, we want our pain to end, and sometimes it does.  But sometimes it does not, and then we typically respond in one of two ways.  Some revert to their human reasoning, conclude God does not actually love them, and abandon their faith entirely.  Others try to reason spiritually, chalk it all up to an attack of the enemy, and vow to tough it out as a good, Christian warrior would.

Yet neither of these is the approach Jesus gives us.  He starts out by saying that all of His teaching is so that we may have peace in Him.  So get that straight first of all.  He wants you to have peace.  Then He acknowledges the truth of the matter.  We all have times of suffering.  But at that point you can just see Him smile as He looks you straight in the eye, a hand on your shoulder, and says, “But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  He is telling you to look to Him, to keep your eyes focused on Him and the truth of His resurrected and glorious self.  Will your suffering end tomorrow?  Will it work out the way you hope?  Maybe, maybe not, but Jesus does not want you distracted by those questions any more than He wants you distracted by greed or temptation.  He wants you to take heart, to find your heart, to live out of your heart that has been transformed by Him.

Jesus, I need You to heal my blindness, for even though I read Your words, I still approach my problems in just about every way but what You would have me do.  Help me to see only You and your magnificent, loving grace, no matter what faces me.  May my gaze pierce through the dark mass of my problems as if they were as invisible as air that my eyes may filled with You.  Amen.

Copyright © 2018 by Steven R. Perkins