Thursday, January 24, 2013
Ouch! Why did you just whack me upside the head, Jesus?
Have you ever been reading your morning devotional or Bible and you felt as if Jesus was getting your attention in a forceful way?
It happened to me—again—this morning.
I haven’t read Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest daily devotional for several years, preferring instead to begin my day softly with Sarah Young’s gentle Jesus Calling.
But hubby coincidentally "found" our copies of Utmost on December 31 in a box where they had been securely packed away. Just in time to begin the book on day one, page 1 of the New Year.
Several people in our life group had been reading Utmost for more than a year and it seemed as if God might have something to tell us (again) through the words of Chambers’ devotionals.
This morning’s devotional hit me that way. The topic was "waiting on God; waiting for His clear direction; waiting instead of rushing forward with your own plans on how to do His will."
But it was a little phrase down in the last paragraph of today’s devotional that made me ponder my own faith.
"Natural devotion may be enough to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His irresistible charm, but it will never make us disciples." (emphasis mine)
That took me back to a sermon from 2 years ago where the pastor said that most Christians dislike reading the Book of Revelation because they only want to hear about the "happy Jesus."
Yes, Jesus is charming. Yes, Jesus is happy. But he’s definitely more.
Our Jesus is powerful enough to control the raging storm. Our Jesus exhibits righteous wrath enough to cause a riot at the Temple. Our Jesus is strong and fearless enough to face horrifying torture and death. Our Jesus is God incarnate. Let’s face it—God is not always "charming" from a human definition.
The whacking upside the head part of today’s devotional was this: If my Jesus is only charming, then how easily will I deny him when what He does, how he wants me to act, how he expects me to believe, is not "charming"?
Will I be Peter before the crucifixion, waiting for the chickens to cackle? Or will I respond to Jesus like Peter did after the resurrection when the charming has been enhanced with the power, sacrifice and true understanding of discipleship?
That’s following the true Jesus. It’s the hard part of faith. But, let’s face it, the fact that Jesus wants us to come and follow him, even when it’s hard, because he will be there holding us safe as we travel—that’s the true charm of Jesus.
NOTE: I wrote this earlier this month to post today. For anyone who is also reading My Utmost for His Highest, the devotional was for January 4. Check it out.
PRAYER: Jesus, you are charming. And we love that about you. But we know that there is so much power and strength in your character. We love that about you also and cling to your power and strength. Please help us claim it for our own. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? What character of Jesus do you love that may not be "charming" to others?