Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Thought for Tuesday 13 January 2015

“My soul is troubled, and what shall I say?  Father, save Me from this hour?  But for this purpose I came to this hour.  Father, glorify Your Name.”  John 12:27-28a NKJV

Jesus is troubled perhaps because the reality of what He must do is beginning to bear down on Him.  We must always remember Jesus never gleefully went to the Cross!  He was as fully human as you and I, so He was quite capable of grief.  He was also, probably better than you or I, very in tune with the Father’s will.  Though this course He was on would not have been His preferred course (“Father, take this cup from me, yet not as I will but as You will”), Jesus would nevertheless go forward.

Divine Will in human minds is as much a moving target as a rabbit drawing predators away from her young.  We often confuse intense desire with Divine Will, convincing ourselves that because we want it so badly (regardless of what “it” is), The Lord must have “placed it on my heart”. 

Maybe, but we must not dismiss the reality that we have minds of our own.  We have our own ambitions and desires, many (maybe most) of which have nothing to do with The Lord, The Church, or service to our neighbor.  Marriages have broken up because one spouse or the other has confused “lust” (personal desire) with genuine love (sacrificial).  Disastrous decisions of all kinds have come because our own desires have clouded our judgment to the point that we have sought what feels right instead of seeking righteousness.  We seek “happiness”, failing to realize happiness comes as a result of finding and fulfilling true purpose.

What to do?  We cannot outrun our humanness.  We cannot deny that we have desires, and we dare not suggest that what is revealed in the Scriptures for us to know somehow does not apply to us in our particular situation – for The Lord does not show partiality.  Prayer sounds a little too simple for many because maybe most of us are geared toward action.   We know (or we think we know) what needs to be done, so we just do it.  But how often does The Church factor into our decision-making?  I don’t mean just being in church on Sunday.  I mean, the Life of the Church should reflect the Life of Christ.  How often do our decision-making processes take this reality into account when we decide what to do?

Someone once said to me, “You do realize our real lives have nothing to do with the church, don’t you?”  And that, I think, is how most of us “believers” think.  Church is a place we go on Sunday, but we rarely consider church as something we do, something we are in our daily living, in our work, in our relationships, and in our decision-making processes.  And this is probably because we have managed to separate our “personal Lord and Savior” (the wish-granter and excuse-giver) from His Body which is the Church – which necessarily involves much more than any individual.

It is not enough to acknowledge Jesus had an intensely personal relationship with the Father so that He would “just know” what to do because if Jesus was as human as He is Divine, then surely He had human impulses.  We know our human impulses have not always served us well, and these impulses have done little constructive for the Church’s mission. 

Our failure to pray effectively (or at all) does not make us “bad”.  Rather our failure to pray leaves us incomplete.  It denies the very “holiness” to which we are called, and it leaves us open to influences that draw us away from The Lord rather than to His Body the Church.  Seeking Divine Will in all things protects us from vulnerability to less-than-holy things and persons.   “You will seek Me and find Me … when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).



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