One thing that amazes me, the longer I live as a Christ-follower, is the unpredictable way of humans as they interact with Jesus.
- Some who appear to start out burning bright for Jesus– fall away and disassociate themselves from Him and His people.
- Some who seem weak and needy persevere and the light of their light grows more brilliant and visible..
- Some who seemed strong are humbled as they follow the Lord through deep suffering.
- Some come out of nowhere and challenge me in the way they cling to Jesus as Savior
- Some who seemed genuine or noteworthy are proven fraudulent.
- Others, maligned or humiliated (by gossip, or by their own decisions), go on loving Jesus and His people, despite their apparent “ruining.”
And I’m not always able to tell who’s who– it’s caught me off guard along the way.
- Sometimes the discipling woman who diligently studied the Scriptures walks away from her family.
- Sometimes the gal with nose ring and tattoos is the most like Jesus.
- Sometimes the gregarious man at church serving in visible ways is the least like Jesus.
- Sometimes the 50-something woman you barely notice prays with fiery boldness.
- Sometimes the platformed person whose life looks the most prettied-up and “follow-worthy” is actually joyless, shallow, and falling-apart.
- Some who claim Christ are actually Pharisees.
- Some who look like legalistic rule-followers are actually leaning solely on Grace.
What we see on the outside doesn’t tell what’s on the inside.
Things aren’t always what they seem.
CONFIDENT IN THE LORD ALONE
Thus, the older I get, and the more I know what’s going on on the inside of me, and the more I see what comes out of others, the more I am certain that it is only the Lord who can keep me on the path.
A heap of knowledge, particular family lineage, “right”-sounding words, or seemingly-good decisions– none of these mean we are following Christ. Many who have the “right” outward appearance, or who gain acclaim and notice, don’t seem to be following Jesus at all.
My confidence is in the Lord alone— not myself and not other humans.
I am leaning in and betting my whole life on it.
He is strong enough.
He will keep me.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME, OTHERS NEED ME, & I NEED OTHERS.
The more I see the great unreliability of every human, the more I desire to strengthen the Body of Christ around me. We are each so weak! We need the Word! We need the Body! We can not thrive in isolation or self-reliance.
Embers that pop away from the raging fire are soon cold.
We need to be strengthened by one another.
Some ways I’m currently pursuing perseverance and confidence in God alone are by:
- eschewing self-reliance
- making myself small
- acknowledging my own weakness, and seeking help where I need it
- refusing to blindly “stan” for anyone else– because all humans are weak and needy
- knitting myself to others who are truly following Jesus.
This modern age consistently counsels: we should “lean in” and dance to whatever drumbeats we hear in our own hearts. Others encourage us to find & speak “our own truth” (even though their own version of “truth” keeps changing). Despite abundant evidence of human weakness, they say: “you’re strong enough.”
I say that’s all hooey.
Life is long,
life is short.
I wanna keep on keeping on. I don’t want to sit in constant perplexity and anger at the actions of wicked people. I don’t wanna get pulled away from the trail of Jesus by distractions of pleasure, perfection, or pride.
The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday.Proverbs 4:18
It’s important who we follow, and who we walk beside.
And the only hiker that doesn’t get lost on the trail of life is Jesus.
He’s is the only one worthy of an absolute “follow.”
The only way I’m gonna make it through this life (and, I’d submit, Christian: the only way you’re gonna make it through this life) is walking close to Jesus.
For further discussion, I’d love to hear your thoughts on any/all of these:
- How are you personally abiding in Christ?
- What are the most important decisions you’ve made in regard to growing in your faith?
- The more you have seen the wickedness and weakness of others, how have you kept yourself from bitterness and hopelessness?