When you have a really deep, meaningful experience with Lord, why can’t you stay there, emotionally? When you’re really feeling on fire spiritually and Jesus is so real to you, why can’t you keep that feeling going? Why do you always go back to normal life? Why do those intoxicating emotions always cool off into the same old struggles, temptations and monotony of you being every day you? Sometimes, when you’re close to the Lord, you can get a joy and a peace that are so tangible and present that you never want to lose them. Your gladness feels as solid as the ground beneath your feet and Jesus seems so real that He might as well be standing right next to you. How can you keep that up? You want life to be like that the rest of the way. You want to soar over your problems and face every moment as if you’re seconds away from landing a knock-out punch.
In the end, it doesn’t work out the way you want it to. No matter what you do, real life will come crashing down eventually. One bit of comfort you can carry with you is the fact that you’re not the only one. This happens to everyone and it’s been happening to people for ages. Thousands of years ago, God chose a teenager no else even noticed to be His next king over all of His people. The kid’s name was David. You would think that a spiritual high like that would last forever, but it didn’t. After the amazing coronation announcement, life just went right back to normal, old, every day life. When we next hear of David, we find out the old king wants to hire him to be a servant in his house to play music to soothe his bad dreams. When the old king sent for David, they found him out in the fields with the sheep, which is exactly where they found him on the biggest and best day of his life. In other words, nothing had changed. His dad still saw him as the runt in the fields, and Saul was hiring him to be basically an iPod with a face.
The cool thing about David was the fact that he used all that shepherding time and music playing time to think about God, talk to God and write songs about God. One of the songs he wrote during this time was Psalm 8 which says, “When I consider your heavens, the works of your hands, what is man that you consider him, humans beings, that you are for them?” In other words, “my dad may think I’m worthless and Saul may just see me as a servant, but I hang out with God and even though He made the whole universe, He thinks about me. He likes me.”
When you have deep and fulfilling experiences with the Lord, enjoy them and savor them, but know that those feelings won’t last. Real life will come back. You will have classes, bills, family drama, sickness, temptation and on and on. You will feel far from the Lord. You will feel spiritually dry. You will wonder who you are. During those times, don’t stop chasing down moments with the Lord. Keep spending time with Jesus even when you aren’t feeling it. Keep reminding yourself of who He says you are, no matter what anyone else in your life is telling you. Keep the truth fresh in your heart. Do it on purpose. That’s how you keep your heart walking steady, even in the midst of normal life.
Fairest Of Ten Thousand #387
Do you ever feel uncertain in your relationship with Jesus because you don’t really know where you stand with Him? Do you ever find yourself wishing He’d come right out and say what the deal is? Don’t you want a clear directive on what needs to change? How are things? Are you and Jesus okay? I know I’ve felt this way a million times before and I’m starting to realize that we may all be overthinking this whole thing. What if everything is fine? What if Jesus loves you completely, accepts you absolutely and has made up His mind that the case is closed? You see, I think we try to smuggle things into our relationship with Jesus that just don’t fit anymore. In Matthew 9, the disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus why His followers didn’t fast like they and all the other religious teachers did all the time. In other words, they were saying, “Jesus, why aren’t your people making themselves miserable like we are?” They thought religious discipline was the thing that pleased God. They thought devotion to man-made rules was holy. They were wrong. God isn’t impressed by our achievements. He isn’t pleased by all the rules we keep. He just loves us. He wants our relationship to be about love, gladness and freedom. He wants this to feel like a party. He said, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them?” In other words, this is a wedding reception, and diets aren’t allowed. He said new wine doesn’t fit in old wineskins. In other words, Jesus’ love is a whole new thing and in order to understand it, you have to think in new ways.
Fairest Of Ten Thousand #386
Why are we in such a hurry to be ‘fixed’ and to have all our issues sorted out? I think a lot of folks treat their own heart like it’s a messy apartment - in other words, it’s not great right now, but give me a couple of good hours in there and I’ll have it spic and span. We like to project the idea that whatever is going on in our lives, we can get it under control. We want to think that we are basically okay and whatever small thing needs work is something we can handle on our own, but why is that? Why are we so uncomfortable with the idea that we don’t have what it takes to fix ourselves? Why are we so afraid to need help? When Jesus first called His disciples to follow Him, one was a tax collector named Matthew. This was a man who had lived a shady life full of shady friends and the first thing he did after leaving his old life to follow Jesus was to throw a huge party in Jesus’ honor with a guest list of all the biggest sinners in town. Jesus, of course went to the party because He loved sinners and wanted to reach them, but the religious teachers had a fit over this. They questioned the rest of the disciples saying, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered the question Himself, saying, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” If you are basically okay, you don’t really need Jesus; but if you have problems you can’t solve, He came for you. Are you okay with needing help?
What is it going to take for you to become the person you could be? What do you have to do in order to live your life the way it was always meant to be lived? Some folks would say it just takes time. Their thought is that you just need to keep on living and one day you’ll get the hang of it. Some folks would say you need to get out there and make mistakes, then learn from them. They say that’s how wisdom works. The thing is, you and I are a bigger mess than that. We don’t just need maturity or experience. We need more. The truth is, we will never get there on our own because we are broken, way down deep inside. It’s as though life is a puzzle and we simply can’t work it out on our own because we don’t have all the pieces. We need a teacher. We need a coach. We need a mentor, but we need even more.
Let’s pretend for a minute that your greatest desire and goal in life is to be a world-famous pop star. (I’m not that far off, right?) And while we’re pretending, let’s say that one day, Beyonce shows up at your house. Seriously, Queen B rolls up in your neighborhood amid news cameras and reporters, rings your doorbell and announces that she is taking you on to be her apprentice in pop stardom. She is going to take you under her wing, teach you how to dance, sing, dress and everything else you need to know in order to rule the world of the international stage. How would you feel? How would you react? What would be the top 50 awesome things about that relationship and life? Wouldn’t you start by absolutely freaking out? I mean, out of all of the people in the whole world, she picked you to be the next her. She’s going to teach you all of her secrets and show you how to get to where you want to be - in the style of B. Whoa.
Way back in Luke chapter 5, Jesus walked up to the tax collecting booth of a man named Levi and said, “Follow me.” In an instant, without hesitation, Levi left everything for this opportunity. In that moment, Jesus and Levi became Rabbi and Disciple. That didn’t just mean Jesus was Levi’s teacher, either. Jesus was hand-picking this dude to walk through life with Him, watch Him, learn from Him and become like Him. This was a huge honor. It was like Obi Wan Kenobi taking on Luke Skywalker as his padawan to learn the ways of the Jedi. The thing was, Jesus didn’t choose Levi because ‘the force was strong with this one’ or anything like that. If anything, Levi was a disaster. His life was no where near what it needed to be, but Jesus wanted him anyway.
That’s what Jesus wants with us. We are all broken down. We are mere shadows of the people we ought to be, but Jesus has picked us. He wanted you. He wants you to walk through your life with Him - watching Him, learning from Him and changing into a person like He is. There is an amazing life out there for you, but you can’t get there on your own. The Author of life Himself has chosen you - picked you to be his very own. Do you want the life He has for you? Are you ready to give your life to Him? Are you ready to submit to Him, follow Him and become more like Him day to day? There is nothing in the world that compares to the richness, joy and adventure of being Jesus’ disciple and He’s calling you to follow.