God wants me to get it. His heart longs for my eyes to see what He sees; my heart to feel what He feels; my mind to grasp the inverted gospel message of Jesus Christ that says to “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28). I struggle with this upside down thinking.
God’s intent from the beginning has been to make Himself known in the earth—His greatness, His love, His mercy, His ways—all of which are different than ours. And how did God plan to do that? Through the lives of His chosen people (Galatians 3:8).
“The world judges our Christ by our fruit,” said Cora Harris MacIlvary. If that is true, perhaps we need to inspect our fruit to see what we are producing. Do we present an accurate picture of Christ to the world around us?
Some fruit inspection guidelines could be these:
Jesus said to humble ourselves—we remain proud.
He said to forgive others—we hang on to our hurts.
He said to love others as ourselves—we despise those with different religious or political views.
He said to judge not—we accuse, convict, and condemn with one sweeping thought.
He said to be merciful—we want mercy, but refuse to give it.
Sometimes I question who Jesus will be talking to when He says: “Why call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) Will it be me?
Jesus told the disciples that “if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). What part of deny do I not understand? Could this be what Jesus meant by deny: “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back” (Luke 6:29-30)?
God truly wants His children to get it—to grasp the meaning of the gospel: God loves sinners. His heart is breaking for them because they are lost, and for us because we don’t get it. Sometimes I fear that I am part of the problem instead of part of the solution, as Jesus intended for me to be.
It may be time for a spiritual checkup: Am I living a Christ-centered life that reflects the merciful kindness of a loving God, or a self-centered life as one who has been duped into believing that I have rights that must not be violated—the right to my own way, my possessions, my opinions, my attitudes, or as Oswald Chambers said, “the right to myself?”
Jesus clearly said to deny myself and follow Him. I am certain He meant it. Yet, there is a gap between my thinking and Jesus’ instructions. There’s even more between my life and Jesus’ selfless example.
God is searching for those who will reflect the truth about Him. And when He finds them, I believe He will pour His Spirit into them with great measure so He can to make Himself known to a dark and desperate world.
Am I willing to deny myself of my rights and be one of them? Just thinking…… ~Janie Kellogg
“Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers. Let our hearts be led by mercy; help us reach with open hearts and open doors. Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours.” ~ Casting Crowns
Note: All scripture references are NIV.