Read His Words Before Ours!
I did it again, Lord. Why can’t I seem to get this? Why do I so desperately want to follow You, only to fail miserably?
Over and over, You have loved me when I have passionately succeeded at the wrong thing. Instead of lashing out at me when I cut off that servant’s ear, You healed him and let them lead you away. All I wanted to do was serve and protect You. But that wasn’t Your plan. (John 18:10-11)
It was never part of Your plan.
It all makes more sense now. Well, most of the time.
I still think about all You spoke to us while You walked with us. You told us over and over You were showing us the Father. (John 14:1-11) You told us You would be going to the Father, but the Holy Spirit would be coming in Your place.
At the time, I subconsciously categorized Your words into my mental folder tagged, “Sure, Jesus.” That folder held Your teachings I partially understood, but weren’t urgent for me to completely figure out. You would always be with us. You were the Christ. Er, You are the Christ. I assumed You would be walking with us into victory, instead of into what felt like such a depressing defeat.
After You died and reappeared to us in your resurrected body, I understood an entirely different level of victory. You had defeated death! Not even Lazarus did that permanently.
When You ascended, You were lifted up, fulfilling Your words about going to the Father.
I miss You, Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the gift of the Holy Spirit and am so thankful for His presence. I just wish, sometimes, I could see Him. I could watch You love the unlovable and understand how I could do the same. I could sense the tone of Your words and feel the peace emanating from You.
Now I need to navigate each day without You physically beside me. I know the Holy Spirit guides me, but sometimes He’s not easy to understand.
Like when I had the vision about the sheet of unclean animals and was told to eat them. It was repeated three times and a voice told me to kill and eat. When I replied that I would not eat anything unclean, the voice responded, “What God has made clean, do not call impure.” (Acts 10:15)
Lord, that was very confusing. Yet, as soon as those men came to the gate of the house where I was staying, I knew it was the Holy Spirit telling me to go with them. When we arrived at our destination and I found myself being honored in the midst of God-fearing Gentiles, the words from the vision came back to me.
Who was I to call these people impure? If God orchestrated this meeting, He had a purpose, a clean one. A holy one.
Lord, You showed up when I began to speak. I shared of Your love for them and then You unleashed the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, You. Poured. Out. (Acts 10:44-46)
We were all dumbfounded. I thought for sure I would never forget the lesson I’d learned over those few days. You came for anyone and everyone. Jews and Gentiles alike, You welcome us all.
Yet, here I am again, Lord. I feel the same sinking feeling I had when I began to flounder out on the waves. I so valiantly tried to serve You, and I am once again in need of rescuing. (Matthew 14:22-33)
Paul called me out. Paul, the one who previously persecuted Christians and never physically walked with You the way I did. He reminded me of the truth I preached to Cornelius on the day I thought I’d never forget.
Well, I forgot.
It became easier to add a few conditions to the truth of Your love to make it more palatable for my Jewish brothers to embrace the Gentiles. I know You never loved us with contingencies, Lord, but it felt easier for me to keep the peace.
But Paul is bolder than I. He declared the expectation of circumcision was not part of Your criteria for entry into the Kingdom. As Paul likes to remind us, we are saved by grace, through faith. How did I forget this important truth? (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Oh Lord, forgive me. Once again I ask You to catch me, helping me find my solid ground again. Help me live and love as You did, Jesus. Help me know the Father as You do.
Holy Spirit, guide and lead me on.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!