"Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." -John 12:26
As followers of Jesus, it's really easy to get into a pattern of reading the Bible, praying before meals, and going to church on Sunday's. We think of Jesus as a convenience rather than a lifestyle. We view serving as a way of feeling better about ourselves. We attend events to make sure other people notice us, so that we can get their gold star of approval.
If any of this sounds familiar, know that at one point or another, we've all been here. It's our natural sin nature that wants approval from others, convenience instead of sacrifice, and routine instead of risking change.
But when we study Jesus in the Gospels, we see a very different kind of life. We see Jesus living a life of service and inconvenience. We see a life that was focused solely on the mission of God and the pursuit of people, the truth of the Gospel, and love.
In John 12:23-26, Jesus is answering a request brought to Him by His disciplines, Philip and Andrew. The Bible tells us in verse 20 that there were some Greeks who had come up to worship God at the Passover festival, and they wanted to see Jesus. What's interesting is, when Philip and Andrew bring this request to Jesus, He never directly answers it. Instead, He tells them that the hour has come for Him to be glorified (vs. 23), that unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds (vs 24). And finally that anyone who love their life will lost it, while anyone who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life (vs. 25).
Right after saying this, Jesus says this: "Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be. My Father will honor the one who serves me." Jesus uses the words "serves" and "servant" three times in this verse, all in reference to Himself. In the next chapter, we see Jesus doing this exact thing when He takes the job of a slave and washes His disciples feet.
I don't know about you, but washing dusty and worn down feet doesn't sound like the most convenient thing to do. Yet, this is the example we find Jesus setting. This is where Jesus was--and this is where we should be, too.
Going back to John 12:26, Jesus makes the statement, "Where I am, my servant will also be". If you look around at your life today, is it a true statement to say you are where Jesus would be? Jesus calls out in particular a few groups of people in Matthew 25 that are close to His heart: the hungry and thirsty, strangers in need, those who lacked clothing, those who are sick, and those who are in prison (vs. 35-36). He wraps this up saying, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me" (vs. 45).
It's easy to think we're serving Jesus by posting words of encouragement online from our air conditioned houses while we sip our iced coffees, and it's easy to think that by donating to the church on Sunday mornings, we're doing our due diligence to keep ministries up and running. While these things aren't bad, I would suggest they're simply not enough if that's all our hearts are desiring to do on a daily basis. If Jesus was here, where would He be? What would He be doing? And as followers of Jesus, are we in those places, doing those things on His behalf?
This week, take some time to evaluate what your service to God looks like. If it's merely made up of things that are convenient for you, maybe consider going to God in prayer and asking Him what He would have you do. Is there a buried desire you have that could lead to service? Is there a spiritual gift that you could use to fill a void near your neighborhood? Following Jesus doesn't necessarily mean moving across the globe to reach people for Him (though it might!). It might just mean we get a little bit out of our comfort zones to reach the hurting and broken right close to home, the people the world would define as dirty and unworthy, and meet Jesus right at the intersection of service and inconvenience. We can be assured that whatever we do for His Kingdom will be rewarded many times over.
Until next time,
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." - Hebrews 11:6
I don't know about you, but I have been so distracted.
I was reading my Bible last week when it all hit me, and since then, like a tidal wave, it's continued to hit me. My focus has been off. My mind has wandered. I have become distracted.
So many of us had to fight distraction this last year. The thing about distraction is you don't often realize it's happening until it's too late. Hours have gone by and you're still on social media. It's three in the afternoon and you're still in your pajamas. It's been a whole year and you still haven't gotten to that home project you wanted to get done. Where has the time gone, and what's happened in the meantime?
For me, distraction has looked like spending too much time on social media. It's also looked like spending to much time thinking about what I want my future to look like instead of actually preparing for that future. And in the midst of all of this, I've faced heartbreak, disappointment, and discouragement.
When we become distracted, it's because we've lost our focus. We've forgotten that this earth is not our eternal home. We've forgotten there is a Kingdom that is coming, and a King who awaits us in there here and now. That we have a God who has a perfect plan for our lives, if only we'd stop wasting our time and start being intentional about preparation and surrender.
I know this all sounds intense, and of course we're allowed to have fun and take a break throughout our day. But the point is, what choices are you making today that are preparing you for the future God is calling you to? How are you spending your time today that is growing your relationship with God and allowing Him to work on your heart to impact people on this earth for His Kingdom?
I read a quote that woke me up from my distracted slumber, and it went like this: "Patient is getting under a burden or affliction and turning it into glory." (author unknown).
I read this from an article in my Study Bible, and I knew exactly what God was trying to tell me. Instead of waiting around, wasting my time, there was purpose in my current season. The lessons I've learned are stories to be shared. The afflictions that have plagued me are worth writing about so that His glory may be known.
So my turnaround goes like this: Less time worrying about what my future looks like, more time using my gifts to serve people in the season I'm in. That's why I'm starting to blog again. It's part of my plan to stay focused on the here and now and tell of the lessons I'm learning in my current season.
What does your turnaround look like? What has been distracting you, and how can you be more focused? Do you want to get married someday? Chances are, this is a good time to start learning how to be a good spouse. Do you want to pursue a career that'll take experience? This would be a great time to start equipping yourself with the knowledge and experience it'll take.
Where do you want to be in five years, and what can you do today to get there?
Take your dreams to God in prayer, with an open and surrendered heart, and ask Him to show you where you're distracted, and what you need to do to align yourself with all He has for you.
No distraction is worth delaying what God has for you. When we recognize that we've wasted or time, we'll be a lot more diligent on staying focused. And that's my prayer for us this week. We stop wasting time and start getting focused. God has great things in store for us when we do.
Until next time,
“Come, follow me.” // Matthew 4:19
Hey all! Happy Sunday! Well, summer is in full swing and I’m enjoying all things sunshine, sweet tea, and summer festivities. While it’s insane to think summer is almost halfway over (for us, anyways. Our summers are so short), I’m savoring and enjoying every moment of this amazing season.
One summery thing I did recently was attend Lifest, which is the largest Christian music festival in the country — and it’s less than two hours from my house! I’ve never been, but always wanted to attend. So last week I made a last minute decision to go with a friend, and I am so glad I did! One of my favorite bands was playing, and I knew I couldn’t miss it.
An interesting thing happened while I was there, though. I found myself in a place I’ve never been, and I had absolutely no idea how anything worked, where anything was, and was completely helpless to help myself. Usually circumstances like this freak me out, but not this one. The friend I was attending the festival with was a pro. She attends the festival every day of the three day event, and she’s been going for years. She knew where everything was, down to where she parked her car (which was a complete maze and almost a half mile walk from the main stage). But I found that in this situation where I was completely helpless, I was calm because I was being guided by someone who knew the ins and outs of what they were doing, where they were, and where they were going.
Life is a lot like this. We can get freaked out over circumstances where we can’t see the way ahead – and understandably so. But it’s in these moments that we have to remember Who we go with, and Who goes before us. God knows eternity past to eternity future. Nothing surprises Him, and He is always on His throne. He existed, taking care of His people and planet, before we were born. He is still being faithful now.
Jesus gives us a simple invitation to follow Him. This has to be one of the simplest commands in all of Scripture, yet it’s one we have the hardest time doing. We like control, we like to know all the answers. But the truth is, there is no safer place we can be than to just release that control and follow Jesus who not only knows the way, but IS the way.
Following Jesus takes childlike faith. The older I get, the more I realize why Jesus wants us to be like little children (Matthew 18:3). Little children can chase life with wonder, their hearts are carefree. And even though life often tries to steal these things from us, when we follow our heavenly Father, we are free to be like a little child. When our heart trusts Him and submits to following Him, peace, joy, and childlike wonder will develop. And nothing is better than following the God who has the best in mind for us and finding things we’ve lost along the way.
The way to true life is to lose it (Matthew 16:24-26). A faith worth having is worth a life worth losing. It’s then we can follow Jesus wholeheartedly. And it’s there we’ll find everything we’ve been made for.
This week, try loosening the grips on your life and instead follow where Jesus leads, and see what happens to your heart, emotions, and life. And if we do, someday we might just change the world. ❤
Until next time,