Jesus Can't Be My Friend

Anxiety has been hitting me like waves.  Moments of overwhelming emotion keep crashing on the shores of my thought life.  Lately my faith has been tested and my worth as a man tried over and over again.  I know Christ overcame the world and my irrelevant fear of the unknown shouldn't sway me, but it does. Jesus can't be my friend.  Simply put, if Jesus is merely a fair weather pal then this crushing and often-oppressive anxiety will destroy me.  Jesus can't be my friend.  He has to be my anchor in the storm.  He has to be my sovereign Lord who is the author and FINISHER of my faith.  Jesus can't be my friend.  He has to be my savior if he is to be anything at all. waves

My relationship with Christ can't simply be one that relies on good times and warm feelings.  It has to be a real relationship that requires active participation on my part even when I don't "feel like it."  In order to walk out my faith in obedience I have to have the right view of Christ.  He is to be revered as the Son of God, honored as Lord of Lords, respected as a loving father, and served, worshipped and adored for His loving sacrifice on my behalf.  Jesus says in John 15:14 that we can be His friends but ONLY if we are following His commands.

Let's be honest, most of the time our feeble fist shaking at heaven has more to do with our own pride and less to do with anything that God has allowed to happen to us.  Even the most grim of circumstances can be endured by simply remembering who Jesus actually is and allowing our faith to restore the hope that’s been lost.  When we allow our situations to dictate our response we negate what Christ did on the cross.  When our circumstances seem insurmountable do we lessen the power of the almighty?  Has your pain, fear, sadness or etc become an idol that’s been placed above the Lordship of Christ?

If we view Jesus as merely a friend for when times are good, or a bail bondsmen when times are bad have we made him a liar?  If you are struggling to have faith and your pride seems to block your access to the father in heaven I encourage you to remember exactly who Jesus is.  Meditate on what he did for you and then ask yourself is Jesus my friend or my savior (hopefully both).  If he is your savior then He's bigger than your current turmoil and he's here to offer peace that you don't deserve and cant understand.  If Jesus is your friend are you holding up your end of the relationship?

 

Are You Lashing Out Like A Cornered Animal?

Are You Lashing Out Like A Cornered Animal?

One of my favorite activities is to study an animal and its ecosystem and try to locate and eventually capture said animal.  Often I will back an animal, like a snake or a rat, into a corner and if I don’t act quickly while trying to capture it I can find myself on the receiving end of angry teeth.  Biologically animals (and humans) are designed with a mechanism that enables them to react with either fight or flight.

When animals are put into a stressful situation that fight or flight mechanism takes over and they either flee or stay and address the aggressor.  I find myself being stressed out all too often and reacting out of a fight or flight mindset more than I would like to admit.  Psalm 55:22 says “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”  Next time you feel that surging of adrenaline that signifies the oncoming reaction to stress and you feel like fighting or fleeing from the situation remember that Jesus overcame the world and as you accept him you take on his righteousness (Romans 3:22).  So tell God about your problem and he won’t let you be shaken.  Are you lashing out like a cornered animal?

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Are You The Honey Or The Sting?

Are you the honey or the sting?

 

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think of bees?  I’m betting that beestings and that infamous scene from Tommy Boy pop in your head and then in a distant third place you may think of honey.  Ok so what’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “Christian?”  If I were to ask someone outside of church culture that question I’m betting some adjectives would include judgmental, narrow minded, and then maybe in a distant third place people may say something about love, maybe.  All to often people relate Christians to the sting created by our lack of love in practice.  If honey is the “fruit” produced by a beehive that is functioning normally then love should be the fruit produced by a church functioning normally.

Honey has been used as an antiseptic, an energy booster, a preservative and a tasty treat among other things.  Just like the sweetness of honey, the work of Jesus on the Cross and the love Christ endured to take on that task is as sweet as honey.  The love of Christ is the job of the Church to reflect into the world.  John 13:34-35 says  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  Jesus isn’t suggesting or even politely asking us to love one another, he commands it.  So just as a beehive works in perfect unity, harmony and perhaps even love to produce honey, we as the church should do the same and love one another so that the world is drawn to our sweetness and not scared away by our sting.  Are you the honey or the sting?

 

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Are You Being Led By A Leash?

Are you being led by a leash? When I walk my dog I have to put him on a leash.  It is not something I do to punish him but it’s actually to protect him from himself and other outside forces like cars and people.  If it were a perfect scenario, I would prefer him to walk beside me untethered and on occasion he is able to do so when there is sufficient room to roam and no urban hazards.   The same is true with God’s law.

God’s law isn’t here to punish us; in fact it’s quite the opposite.  God’s law gives us an awareness of our sinfulness (Romans 7) as well as the standard to which we are to strive to live up to (Romans 3).  God’s law operates like the leash I put on my dog.  Seeing that we are commanded not to murder, covet and etc we know that these things are wrong and they give us parameters to live up to.

We can’t use the law, however, to earn our salvation because our own righteousness is like filthy rags as said by the prophet Isaiah.  We are to wear the righteousness of Christ because he is the fulfillment of the law.  He is our righteousness and the freedom that we have and through his perfection. His sinlessness puts us in right standing with God as we accept him and humble ourselves to his lordship.

So just like when I use my authority to lead my dog by his leash I am doing so out of love for his wellbeing and safety because I see the dangers that he is oblivious to.  The same is true for our heavenly father.  He sees throughout history the things that cause humanity to stumble into sin and he lovingly gives us his holy law for us to abide by so that we can avoid those pitfalls.  The question is, can you trust God to lovingly lead you, even if he pulls your “leash” and steers you somewhere you in your shortsightedness don’t want to go?  Are you being led by a leash?

 

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