"Ministry that costs nothing, accomplishes nothing"
(John Henry Jowett)
In John 12:27, Jesus said: "Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour." (NIV)
Sometimes, because I grew up around the Christian faith, I miss the depth of emotions and conflict that Jesus faced as a man. Can you imagine? Jesus had the FULL POWER to call on His Heavenly Father to be removed from the battle that lay ahead for Him. Jesus' battle would cost Him His life. He knew God's mission was clear; seek and save that which is lost. He embraced that mission and laid down His life, for us.
In response, my prayer and passion should be "Lord, I want to live and love like you." But, a passion like that requires discipline, tenacity, intentionality, and daily surrender.
As followers of Christ, each one of us will eventually face a crossroad in our journey of faith; will we follow Christ, in selfless abandon, regardless of the sacrifice, or will we retreat behind a life of convenience and draw rigid lines to avoid risk?
Don't misunderstand me. I'm not advocating we look for trouble. As a matter of fact, I like to avoid conflict whenever possible. Unfortunately, we can't escape; adversity will assault our faith. So, when it does...we need to be prepared!
But, how? How do we really prepare? How do we press on when we want to escape the battle? How do we truly surrender and live like Jesus?
- Model Jesus in Relationship. Jesus often retreated to a place of prayer. He communicated intimately with God. He didn't have a religion with the Father; He had a relationship; He was His Son. Jesus talked with God the Father. He listened and obeyed the Father's voice.
- Model Jesus in Rights. Jesus, Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:5-8, NIV) If I am to live like Jesus and have His same attitude, I must ask tough questions: Will I surrender convenience for the sake of souls? Will I love even when persecuted? Will I serve whether acknowledged or not? Will I hold my tongue when it's easier to retaliate? Will I abandon self-ambition for God's mission? Will I trust...even when my circumstance shout It's not possible!
- Model Jesus in Reliance. Jesus trusted the Father. When His persecutors attacked and hurled insult He turned to the truth of WHO GOD THE FATHER was; He held the power; He could command the angels to charge Jesus' release. Jesus knew that HIS MISSION would FULFILL GOD'S LOVE and PROMISED HOPE OF SALVATION. He didn't rely on His own strength. He did what He saw the Father do. He spoke what the Father told Him to speak.
Friend, YOU are NOT alone. God sees you right where you are. You can trust Him!