You know those Aha moments – like when I first realised the line in the song Picnic Time for Teddy Bears was “Watch them, catch them unawares,” rather than “Watch them catch their underwear.” I’ve used the word “encourage” most of my life to mean support but I recently realised it means to imbue with courage or to talk courage into.
I had another such epiphany this morning.
Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “…No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”
I used to think this was some neat little test to find out which spirits or influences were from God and which were from the enemy. Now I realise that it is not a matter of saying “Jesus is Lord,” but rather making it true in my life.
I’ve been meditating recently on the difference between accepting Jesus as Saviour and accepting Him as Lord. The latter is a decision of the will and a commitment of my whole life. It is the act of putting myself, past, present and future – into God’s hands to do with as God pleases. (Adapted from Maxie Dunnam – The Workbook of Abiding in Christ.)
It means giving up the things I regard as mine: My life, my time, my abilities, my body, the money I have earned, the children I have brought up. Do you know how hard that is? in fact, I regard it as humanly impossible. That’s where the power of the Holy Spirit comes in. Nobody can make Jesus Lord of their lives except by the Holy Spirit.
Breathe on me, Breath of God, Fill me with life anew, That I may love what Thou dost love, And do what Thou wouldst do.
Breathe on me, Breath of God, Until my heart is pure, Until with Thee I will one will, To do and to endure.
Breathe on me, Breath of God, Till I am wholly Thine, Until this earthly part of me Glows with Thy fire divine.
Breathe on me, Breath of God, So shall I never die, But live with Thee the perfect life Of Thine eternity. (Hymn by Edward Hatch 1878)
Jesus sent the disciples out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them, “Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.” (Luke 9:3 NIV)
He wanted them to travel light.
I picture Jesus taking me on a long hike. “What shall I bring?” I say.
“Nothing. Just trust me,” He says.
That’s just scary. No hiking stick, no spare clothes, no food. What about a water bottle?
I used to lead a Girl Guide company. The Girl Guide motto is Be Prepared. It would be unthinkable to go on a hike without making preparations and being prepared. Trusting Jesus is no easy matter. It is certainly against all we’ve been taught. We feel we need to be in control. I would be inclined to ask Him for a map so I can see where we are compared to where we intend to go. But Jesus won’t give me one. All He asks is my trust and that I will stay close to Him, following where He leads.
In this Covid season we are in at the moment, everybody feels insecure. Matters have been taken out of our hands. Our well-prepared plans have been summarily cancelled and we have no idea what the future holds. With my mind I know God is in control but I still feel unsettled.
Lord Jesus Christ, it’s been a long time since I asked You to come into my life and take over. I am so inclined to try to wrest control back from You. Please forgive me and teach me to trust You and rest in Your love. Amen.
Eugene Rens, who wrote the devotion I read today, compares the Christian walk to Photography. As I attended a get-to-know-your-camera course on Saturday and am starting a Photography on line course tonight, this really resonated with me. Jesus is the Light of the World and photography is all about light.
The first rule of photography is focus. Although my camera has auto focus, from the last batch of photos I took, I deleted about 75% of them because the main object was out of focus. Our calling as Christians is to keep Christ as our focus. He is our main subject. This is going to be my challenge for the week and I invite you to make it yours too.