Fairest Of Ten Thousand #381
Do you ever wonder where Jesus is when you’re in the middle of a hard time? Does He know? Does He care? Can He do anything about it? If so, why is this happening? Is He just sitting there, watching it all go down? If Jesus is who He says He is, then why did this difficult situation have to be so intense? Why couldn’t it have been just a little easier? Why does it always seem as though this kind of thing happens to you when other folks cruise right on through without a scratch? Is Jesus paying attention? These are really good questions when you’re going through a hard time and you can’t see the end or the purpose behind it. As people who know Jesus, we believe some things that are frankly pretty hard to believe at times. We believe that Jesus isn’t just sitting there, watching us suffer through life. We believe that He is actually in control of everything that happens. He isn’t a spectator, He’s the conductor of the train, the captain of the ship, navigating our course at every turn. In Acts 23, the Apostle Paul found himself in the middle of a riot which ended with dozens of angry men forming a plot and a solemn vow to take his life. He had already been through so much and now this? Where was Jesus? What was going on? But Jesus appeared to Paul and told Him this was all part of the plan and He had it under control. What if Jesus isn’t just helplessly watching? What if everything you go through is is part of His brilliant and perfect plan to make you into the finished you?
Fairest Of Ten Thousand #380
What if Jesus likes you more than you think He does? What if He knew you first and liked what He saw? What if the reason you know Jesus at all is that He wanted this relationship so badly, He pursued it before you ever thought about it? What if He has meticulously poured over every single moment of your life, weighing every decision you’ve made, measuring every motivation and seeing right through every stunt you pulled? What if He knows you in and out and understands where you’re coming from? What if His humongous heart was filled with compassion and pity over you and your desperate state without Him? What if the entire plan of salvation was designed because Jesus was determined to do whatever it takes to rescue you? What if He knows you better than your friends know you, better than your family knows you and even better than you know yourself because He planned out your personality, orchestrates the movements of your life and has never missed a single heartbeat this entire time? What if He knows exactly where you’re going because He’s completely and mercifully in control of it all, beautifully making you into the person He’s always had in mind? In the first chapter of John, when Nathanael first met Jesus, our Lord said He knew where Nathanael came from and where he would end up after the end. Every moment and every heart is laid bare to Jesus. He sees and understands everything that makes you the unique you that only you are. He watches your life with compassion and joy. He works in your life with tender and brilliant hands. He knew you first and loves you best.
Have you ever had that one friend who always drags you down into the worst choices and situations? If you know what I’m talking about, then you know it doesn’t matter how good your intentions are or how long you’ve been keeping things straight, because when this friend enters the picture, you’re going to wind up making a mess, wasting some days and racking up some new stories as well as new regrets. This kind of friend always promises an unforgettable, epic adventure, and you can’t resist. The weird thing is, you don’t even really want to resist, right? There is a gravity we can’t repel all around this one friend and it always transforms us into the very worst version of us. This friend is like the full moon to a werewolf, melting our resolve, unraveling our trajectory and even changing our very appetites. You know that friend, right?
Well, in John 8, Jesus says every single one of us has that friend living inside us all the time. He says everyone who sins is a slave to sin. In other words, not only do we do the wrong things, but we can’t stop doing the wrong things. The truth is, we want the wrong things. We are hopelessly magnetized toward the worst and most destructive choices. The problem is that you and I have a sick heart. Your heart is that friend who drags you down. It can’t stop and it won’t stop. Your fallen heart chooses for you. You and I are under the mastery of our own miserably broken selves.
The sad thing is that we think we want to be free to choose everything for ourselves. We think we want to run the show of our own lives, but that kind of freedom is really a slavery that only leads to all that mess, waste and regret. When we are in charge of our own lives, we are actually slaves to that crooked friend who drags us down again and again into the very worst version of us. We don’t choose well and that’s why Jesus came.
Jesus came to set us free from the tyranny of our own fallen hearts. He came to give us a new way to live. When you come face to face with the slavery of sin, you know you need to be rescued. When Jesus sets you free and you get to know His heart, you start to learn that the smartest thing you can do with your new freedom is give it right back to Jesus. If you hand your life over to Him and let Him call the shots, making Him the Master of your life, you will find actual freedom. Jesus came to rescue us from ourselves and give us the joy of being His very own. Giving your rescued life back to Jesus is the most wonderful freedom there is.
Fairest Of Ten Thousand #379
Some things are always going to suck. As long as you live here in this world, there will be road blocks, setbacks and dry seasons. If no one told you that, it’s time to hear it. If you haven’t heard it in a while, it’s time to refresh. If you thought walking with Jesus was going to be all sunshine and happy songs, you’re probably extremely disoriented by now. You will experience loss, pain, heartache and disappointment. You will find yourself depressed and afraid. You will sometimes feel as though you are alone and forsaken, even though Jesus promised you’re not. Now, some of these hard times will be due to the fact that you are a fallen person living in this broken, sinful world. In other words, even though you know Jesus, you still wander from Him and do your own thing. But don’t take another step believing that all your suffering is the result of your wrong, because it’s not. There’s something that just about every Christian constantly forgets; and forgetting this thing leads to tons of personal shame and misery. That is, you are in a dog fight for your soul right now. You have a ruthless enemy who hates Jesus and doesn’t give a flip about you. If Jesus didn’t love you so much, this enemy wouldn’t bother with you, but you are so loved he has to fight you all day, every day. Jesus knows you are in a fight for your life. He knows you are sustaining injuries. He understands what you’re up against and He isn’t looking down on you. He knows you’re going to face trouble and opposition; and the best part is, Jesus knows we’re going to win in the end.