Tuesday, August 5, 2014

When Following Jesus is Hard

Could it be that God is willing to compromise your immediate happiness for something greater? It's called redemption!
        - Paul Tripp

Statistically speaking, you and I will never win the lottery.  You have a better chance of dying in a plane crash.  Yet people buy millions and millions of tickets every year. 


Because quick and easy money is the dream.  40 years of dedicated work of 40+ hours a week and a job that doesn't fulfill your greatest passions is....NOT easy.  We see the dream of retiring with a nice house, solid income and golfing and we want to get there now.  The vast majority of Americans have less than 5,000 dollars in savings.  Is it because they don't make any money?  Nope.  We buy more and more stuff that we don't need, but want RIGHT NOW. 

Our self-centered and short-sighted lives avoid difficulty and long term planning and focus on the pleasures of right now.  Often at the expense of long term responsibility.  Every work out and diet plan offers us immediate results with little effort.  Try selling a 2 year weight loss plan that includes a lifetime of changed eating habits and daily committed exercise. 

Our spiritual lives are influenced greatly by this pernicious attitude we have accepted into our mindsets.  We think of religion, faith, Jesus, all as tools to have our "best life now".  If we don't get an immediate payoff in the form of greater "peace", increased "happiness", all of our questions "answered", lots of "fun".  Well.....then it is not for us. 
The perception is that Jesus is supposed to be our great Holy Vending Machine in the Sky.  We add Him to our lives and everything should just be worked out.  Whenever we feel challenged or confused, the expectation is we just need to twist and contort Jesus and the Bible to better accommodate our desires so we can keep the good times rolling. 
In the Gospel of John, chapter 6, we see this play out.   Not in the privacy of ones own home and mind, but in the midst of fellowship with the Son of God Himself!
Jesus has been rocking it with amazing miracles and feeding the people.  The crowds are growing, everyone wants to be a part of this.  It is easy to visualize.  You hear about this guy doing miracles AND handing out free food to everyone.  Of course you would show up for the party! 
But then Jesus changes up the tone.  He begins to talk about how He alone is the Bread of Life(directly contrasting with the Jewish understanding of God) and how everyone must partake of His flesh and blood if they are to truly have eternal life....this was somewhat less successful than the miracles and feeding part of the show....
66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
        - John 6
When Jesus was spoon feeding them and showing them a good time, they were all about it.  When he started challenging them and inviting them to participate in something a lot more difficult than sitting around and being served, people hightailed it out of there.
Jesus than turns to Peter and says, "Will you leave too?" 
Here is the moment where each of us have to be ferociously honest with our lives and heart.  We want so much for God to just give us stuff, to make life make sense, to have everything work out in our favor RIGHT NOW!  Many of us will turn away when the bells and whistles are no longer entertaining us.  And Jesus says, "Will YOU turn away as well now that the show is no longer rocking for your personal enjoyment?"
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life"
         - John 6
This world will throw you lots of baubles and immediately gratifying gifts.  The distractions can be without number.  And, let's be honest.  Following Jesus is rarely the formula for having a bunch of fun right now.
But here is what Peter gets, that we desperately need to understand.  Everything in life can be a distraction from the truth.  The truth that everything is going to burn and be found wanting.  The fun you have today at the expense of tomorrow will break your heart.  And even if following Jesus can seem hard, it is the ONLY place where true life LIVES. 
All the things we do to distract and fill ourselves up with are lies that set us up for the ever increasing sense of emptiness that will take over our hearts. 
Following Jesus can be hard.  But it is ultimately harder when we do not. 
When you compromise to get something now, you will always lose it later


  1. Adam, you have an e-mail address?

    1. @R.P. my email address is borsay.adam@gmail.com