I don’t often share my devotional time on the internet. But seeing as I’m using this as my journal for the time being, I thought I would write down a few thoughts.
Today I am reading John 7. Jesus had just fed the 5,000, walked on water to escape from being crowned king, preached that he was the bread of life, lost a large following due to his claims to deity. Now he is laying low while the jews seek to kill him. Talk about a whirlwind of a week, eh? His brothers appear to not believe in him at this time and taunt him. His response to his brothers?
John 7:7 “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.”
What strikes me is that Jesus is not going around pointing to people and condemning them to hell, like so many think… He is going around, pointing to people and healing them, protecting them, feeding them, saving them. We are already condemned by our sin. And all of us sin.
What’s crazy to me is that Jesus works so much in secret. He was born in secret. Why no one stood up at the feast of booths that year and told the crowd he actually was born in Bethlehem is beyond me. (I feel like Jesus would say, “it wasn’t my time, or something infuriating to the reader as that). He began his ministry quietly. After healing some, he told them to remain quiet. Do you think he was embarrassed? I don’t. But I am challenged to continue believing in him when I know that he works quietly… most of the time. Does it feel like He’s not working on your behalf today? Take heart. Do you feel abandoned by him? Remind your soul that he is always at work.
He kept his holiness a secret; seen only by the eyes of faith.
My artist friend was doodling yesterday and wrote the words from the prophet Micah 6:8
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God
It struck me yesterday… that this is my calling. To act justly in my own life, to LOVE mercy and kindness, and to walk humbly. I am not called to hold others to my standards. I cannot control anyone else. When Jesus said to “make disciples”… It is not to convince others not to sin. This is so freeing isn’t it? My calling is so different from that. I want to live so transparent that anyone can see Ive been changed from the inside out. Not what I do, but who I am. My calling is to live in the light that I found, that others may see how absolutely beautiful Jesus is.
When Jesus walked on this earth, many did not recognize him at the feast when he snuck in. And when he spoke, everyone listened. Some believed his words, others despised him.
There’s so much I am still learning. But I chose belief. Jesus’ words are radical. “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water…'”
This winter has been long, and yet, I see spring breaking through. I don’t know what it will look like when people hate me like they hated Jesus. I can tell you the truth, I am seeking to love people. To let the true authority be the judge of our hearts. I will speak honestly of the ever growing understanding I get from searching God’s word. I believe it to be from God to us: every word, whether it makes sense to me or not. Because, at the end of the day… I remember Isaiah 55 – one of my ultimate favorite words in black and white:
Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make you with an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my words be that go from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace.”
Yes, Jesus did a lot in secret. He is always purposeful. Never rushed. So rest my soul. Believe he who has begun a good work in me. Be patient with yourself and with others and he will change us… winter into spring.