"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,
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” // John 3:16
Hi everyone! Happy November!
Today I want to talk about the one single thing that is central to, not only the Christian faith, but to our very existence. It’s the one thing we’ve probably heard over and over again, but it’s something that I pray we never get tired of hearing about. Something that never gets so familiar that it loses its effectiveness to bring us to our knees in thanksgiving and worship to our great God. Today, I want to talk about the Gospel.
Romans 3:23-24 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”When we talk or reflect on the Gospel, this is where we need to start. We have all fallen short of the glory to God. Every single one of us. Pride, lust, disobedience, lifestyle choices. We’ve all sinned, and one sin is not worse than the other. Before God, they all separate us from Him. And for all people for all time, there is only one remedy to them all.
You see, God is holy. He’s perfect in justice. We all say that we love His justice side because when we’ve been wronged or treated unfairly, we want Him to execute His justice on our behalf. But at the same time, because He is a God of justice, He has to execute justice against sin and rebellion against Him. That’s why later in Romans 6:23, Paul tells us that “the wages of sin is death.” The truth of it all is that I was deserving of death because of my sin. And so were you.
Romans 6:23 goes on to say, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”We were all deserving of death, wrath, and an eternity separated from God. This reality is as frightening as it gets. We were all marked with sin, and the payment was death, because God is just. BUT. God is not all justice. God is also perfect in love. He loves you. He loves you so much that He didn’t want you to be separated from His perfect love and presence. He created you and wanted you as His child. So He made a way for that to happen. How could a God, perfect in both love and justice, both punish sin but also adopt us as His own children, securing our eternity with Him forever?
One. Simple. Way.
This is where the Gospel story gets amazing. The fact that we were lost and dead in our sin is the bad news. But God did not want to leave us there. So He sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ to this earth to live a life no one else could ever live. A perfect one. Jesus was fully God and fully human. It was the only way He could live a perfect life, only then to do the unthinkable.
After 33 years on this earth, not doing a single thing wrong, without thinking a single sinful thought, He willingly went to the cross–a horrendous way criminals would be killed in His day–to be put to death. The death you and I deserved. On the cross, God placed all the wrath and judgement His perfect justice demanded on Jesus. Why? So that we wouldn’t have to experience the judgement and wrath for our sin. Ultimately, so we wouldn’t have to experience the death we deserved because of our sin.
Guys, Jesus took our place. Jesus died so that we wouldn’t have to spend an eternity separated from God in our sin. Jesus didn’t do a single thing wrong. He didn’t do anything to deserve this death. But He willingly went to the cross so we could live. Then, three days later, Jesus rose from the dead, proving that everything He said and did was true. His payment for sin was sufficient. He conquered death, and anyone who believes in Him will overcome death too. Because for a believer death is not the end. It’s just the start to an amazing new life with God He purchased for us with His Son’s blood and resurrection.
Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”As if this couldn’t get any more amazing, it does. We don’t have to do a single thing to earn this salvation. All we have to do is believe in our heart that Jesus died and rose again for the forgiveness of our sins. Confessing to God that we were deserving of wrath for our sin, but that we believe Jesus paid our debt in full. When you accept Jesus into your heart, you become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and your eternity is secured in Christ forever. Nothing can separate you from God. Not sickness, not sin, not even death (Romans 8:38-39). You are now a child of God and more than a conqueror through Him (1 John 3:1, Romans 8:37).
If you’ve never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, I want to invite you to do that. The Bible is true. When you accept Jesus, your life will change for the better. All the amazing promises that God provides in the Bible will become yours. Your eternity will be sealed, and you’ll start an amazing relationship with the One who created you and knows everything about you, and loves you anyways. We’ll never be perfect, so God doesn’t want us to wait until we’re all cleaned up and pretty to come to Him. He wants us to come to Him right now, right where we are. He’s waiting with opens arms … for you. He loves you. He wants you. All you have to do is say yes.
If you want to say yes to Jesus today, all you have to do is pray this prayer, believing it from your heart: God, I am a sinner. Forgive me for all the sin I’ve done in my life, and all the sin I’ll do in the future. Thank You for sending Jesus to pay the debt for my sin that I couldn’t owe. I believe Jesus Christ died and rose again for the forgiveness of my sin, and that He was raised from the dead, conquering death forever. I accept Jesus’ payment for my sin and accept Him as my Savior. Please come into my life and help me live for You. I love You. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
If you just prayed this prayer, congratulations!! Heaven is rejoicing because you are now a child of God, and your inheritance in God’s Kingdom is sealed. You have made the best decision by choosing to follow Christ. Let me be the first one to welcome you into the family of God! You’ll want to tell someone, get a Bible, and connect with a local Bible-believing church next. They’ll help you grow in your knowledge of God and the Christian life. Make sure to tell them you just received Christ, too. They’ll certainly celebrate with you!
That’s it. That’s the Gospel. So simple, so powerful. If you know someone who needs to hear of Jesus, please share this with them and pray that their eyes would be opened to the Gospel. And I pray that as Christians, our eyes would ever be open to the amazing news of the Gospel. It is certainly the best news of all time.
When we receive Jesus and chase after Him, you never know, someday we might just change the world. ❤
Until next time,
P.S.! If you’ve received Jesus today because of this blog, please let me know! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or you can send me an email!