What Keeps You From Worshiping Jesus?

The Gospel of Mark shares a story of a rich, young man who asks Jesus what he has to do to receive eternal life. In this parable, versions of which are also found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, the young man approaches Jesus, demonstrating respect by kneeling to him and referring to him as “Good Teacher”. The young man communicates a clear understanding that Jesus is someone worthy of honor and respect. His words also reveal a lack of fully understanding who Jesus was, is and will always be.

Claiming to have kept all of the Mosaic Law since childhood and being wealthy,  the young man seems to feel he has a right to receive the gift of eternal life. If not him, who?  He sees getting into Heaven something that can be earned, achieved, and obtained through living a good life, being successful, and having knowledge. When Jesus, looking at him with love, challenged him to get rid of all his possessions and follow Him, the young man dropped his head, unable to commit to God’s call on His life and walked away, unwilling to follow Jesus.

The young man believed he was worthy of receiving eternal life. Nothing could be further from the truth. None of us are worthy of God’s grace. However, through sending Jesus to atone for our sins, God demonstrates His belief that we are worth it. Scripture repeatedly shows us that the Lord is a personal God who desires an intimate, close relationship with the people He has created. Through the precious shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary, God removed all obstacles keeping us from a relationship with Him. Yet, like the rich, young man in our parable, many of us decide we can not give up our worldly identity and follow Jesus.

 

What we believe about Jesus matters.

 

Through His Son, God gave us the ultimate gift of love. By His actions, Jesus demonstrated that He is worthy of our worship. Through the Holy Spirit, we can grow in relationship with Christ, in the process, drawing nearer to the Father. Honestly, our relationship with Jesus is the most important thing about us because what we believe informs our decision-making and directs our problem-solving. Our faith determines our response to the trials and tribulations we experience in this lost and fallen world.

For the young man in our parable, his worldly possessions kept him from worshiping Jesus. What personal gods are keeping you from worshipping Jesus today?

Don’t leave Jesus sitting on the shelf like an unopened gift. Repent and believe in the Lord. Worship Jesus. 

Prayer:

Father, forgive us for not worshiping you with all our heart, all our mind, and all our soul. We know that you are God alone and there is no other path to you except through placing our faith and trust in your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us remove our individual distractions so that we might draw closer to You by turning our eyes upon Jesus and not relying on our own strength but rather depending on the power of Your Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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Living Life on Different Terms

I’ve heard it said that fear reflects the absence of faith. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I do know that I don’t want to wander around in the wilderness like the Israelites did after God delivered them from Egypt. Their doubt and fear manifested themselves in restlessness and discontent. That is what doubt and fear do to me; they sow seeds of discord and dissatisfaction, leading to destruction. Unchecked, a wake of mayhem and devastation is sure to follow.

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Even though I have faith, I still experience fear. Doubt is not the absence of trust, is it? I trust, yet, I have doubt. Being in recovery, my primary job is staying clean and sober. That’s job #1.  My doubts and fears will drive me back to the wilderness if I empower them. Staying on the right path means I cannot engage in the business of doubt and fear because they lead down the path of destruction. Doubt and fear make me do stupid things.

My belief in my Higher Power has to be stronger than the angst doubt and fear cause me. My trust in the Lord Almighty must prevail in times of trouble brought on by the creeping demons of doubt and fear.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
(Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr)

Most days, my fears and doubts aren’t about God anymore. When I take inventory, my doubt and fear center on people, places, and things. I am reminded my choices require wisdom.

Be Still and Know that I am God.

(Psalm 46:10)

After further examination and deep reflection, I have found doubt and fear are rooted in my inability to control everyone, every place, everything. Therein lies my trouble. To do job #1-stay clean and sober-I have to recognize that I am not God and that I am dependent on Him to provide me with courage and wisdom to see things for what they are, not as I would necessarily like them to be. The world and the life in it do not act according to the unwritten, nondisseminated script in my head. Expressing my doubt and fear through anger and resentment do not change reality. Things just don’t work that way. It’s simply not all about me. It’s about God and others. Loving Him and loving them. Jesus says there are no greater commandments than these two.

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Doubt and fear are insidious, inventive and incendiary diseases devising ways to keep me from trusting the Lord, faithfully following His ways, and obediently resting in His Spirit. Abiding in Him, all things are possible. I need not fear. I need not doubt. He alone provides me the strength necessary to sustain me and help me persevere, be it on the mountain or in the valley. He is faithful to never leave me nor forsake me.

Recovery means I no longer live solely the way I want to live. Recovery means, one day at a time, I learn to live the way God wants me to live. Recovery means how I live matters.

Go in peace.