"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,
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” // Romans 5:8
If you pay any attention to reality TV or any entertainment news, you’ve probably heard the now infamous phrase, “Colton jumped the fence.” All the hype surrounded the two-part finale of The Bachelor this past week. If for some reason you’re unfamiliar with the show, it’s where one person is cast as the lead and goes on a quest for love with about thirty potential mates, and as the show goes on, the lead eliminates their potential suitors until there are only two left. The lead then chooses one person to spend the rest of their life with. So this season its lead was 26 year old Colton Underwood, but it ended quite different than most seasons of The Bachelor. Two weeks before the show was set to end, the girl Colton wanted to be with, Cassie Randolph, broke up with him. And this left him upset – to up it mildly. After Cassie left the show, Colton was so upset by this that he ran away from the production set and jumped an eight foot high fence to do it.
However, he didn’t do this because he was mad. He did this because his love for Cassie was so deep that he couldn’t imagine going on without her. After he jumped the fence and ran away, the production crew eventually found him and convinced him to come back to the show. At this time, Colton still had two potential girls he could choose to propose to. Two girls who were in love with him. But he wanted Cassie. And because he loved Cassie so much, he broke up with the two remaining girls, risking the loss of every relationship left, to try and pursue Cassie again, in hopes she’d reconsider.
At the end of it all, Colton did convince Cassie to give it another shot, and the two are now together and in love (yay for happy endings!). Now, why bring all this up and how does it relate to anything in our own life?
There’s something in all of us that love love. We all love it when someone goes after the person they love with all their heart. We all want someone to “jump a fence” for us. We all want to be pursued without reservation. That’s why we love the movie scenes when the guy chases down a plane leaving with the girl he loves on it. The romance novel that detail the boy who does anything to get the girl. And while most see these circumstances as unrealistic for our every day life, I don’t believe so. In fact, I think God wired us this way.
I think God wired us this way because God knew He would send Jesus to woo us, to pursue us in this exact same way. Jesus left everything to pursue our hearts (Luke 15:1-7). He left the comforts of heaven, He came to this dirty and dusty earth, He became a servant and ultimately endured the most grueling death known to mankind (Philippians 2:5-8, John 3:16).
Because He loves you.
Because He wants you.
Ladies! You have a man who has left it all to pursue your heart. There is a man who jumped every fence in His way to get to you. To woo you. To have you. This is the greatest romance of all time! And yet it’s so often that we settle for thinking we’re not deserving of that kind of love in this life because we don’t get it from some guy who doesn’t pursue us like that. But no matter what a guy has or has not done for you – Jesus has done this for you! And nothing can change that (Romans 8:39, John 10:28-30).
So today, remember that you have a God who loves you more than you can imagine. He’s waiting for you every second of every day. Even if you’ve walked away like Cassie did to Colton, even if you’ve wanted nothing to do with Him, even if you’ve messed up. We’ve all done this stuff. But Jesus died for us anyways. And He’d do it all over again for you right now if He had to.
So, look up and see that you have been pursued with God’s whole heart, without abandon. And don’t settle for anyone in life that treats you less than this. Wait for the person pursues you like Jesus would. Who fights for you like Jesus does.
Who loves you like Jesus.
When we wait for His best and bask in His love right now, some day we might just change the world. ❤
Until Next Time,
“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” // Ephesians 2:4-5
Happy Sunday everyone! And Happy SUPERBOWL Sunday! Honestly, Superbowl Sunday is one of my favorites days of the year. I’m a huge NFL fan, and no matter who is playing in the Superbowl, it’s always so fun to pick a team, root for them, and experience the excitement all day long.
But before the Big game tonight, we’re going to be starting a new series on God’s love for the month of February. Obviously, Valentine’s Day is coming up in a couple weeks, and most people associate this holiday that celebrates love with the second month of the year. So, for that, we’re going to be diving into four aspects of how God’s love affects our life.
Have you ever thought about this: When we were lost in sin, in the darkest of places, when we ran so far we thought we could never be rescued … it was then that Jesus stepped into our lives to save us. God pursued us in the moment of our greatest need, our most vulnerable weakness. When we couldn’t do anything for ourselves. When we were embarrassed to even show our face. That’s when we were pursued by God. Ephesians 2:5 tells us that it was when we were dead in our transgressions (our sins) that Jesus died for us.
Not only did Jesus die for us in our most helpless and ugly state, but that’s when God pursued our hearts. Most of us think that God wants the cleaned up church version of ourselves. That in order to be pursued, we need to look our best, act our best, and put our best foot forward. But this isn’t how God pursues us. In His love, He pursues us gently by calling our name. He pursues us recklessly by giving up His own Son to have us (John 3:16). In fact, God pursued us before we were even born (Eph. 1:4-5, Jer. 1:5). He made a way for us to know Him and receive His love before we even knew we needed such an amazing thing.
This week, take a couple moments to let this idea wash over you. You are loved unconditionally by the God who made the stars and the mountains. By the One who made the oceans and the galaxies. You are handcrafted by the King of Kings, loved more than you could ever fathom. And pursued with a love so pure that humanity will never truly know the height and depth of God’s love for us (Eph. 3:17-19). But know this week, that this God loves you. He is for you. And He’s pursuing you, even right now in this moment.
When we let His love penetrate our hearts and His pursuit grab a hold of our lives, someday we might just change the world ❤
Until Next Time,