August 10, 2022
Jesus had a way of exasperating people.
He still does. It takes only a glance through one of the gospels. Before you know it, you find yourself squirming.
The way Jesus does things – the demands he makes, the example he offers, the way he deals with the status quo in people’s hearts – all of it backs you into an uncomfortable corner.
What he says about sacrifice, favoritism, bigotry, stewardship, and giving presses your back hard against the bricks.
Suddenly, unexpectedly, he’s got you thinking – thinking about things you never would have troubled yourself with before you picked up his Word.
In short, you’re irritated.
The demands of Jesus always seem to bring crisis into people’s lives.
He commanded Peter to lower his net, even though he knew Peter had been fishing all night with nary a mackerel to show for it.
He told the rich young ruler to sell all his possessions.
He insisted John baptize him when doing so would violate John’s understanding of Messiah.
He demanded that the religious lawyer – who was far more interested in debate and discussion – do what he understood rather than simply talking about it.
Uncomfortable corners. Pinned against a spiritual wall.
But the thing I love most about the Lord Jesus is that he won’t allow us to stay pinned against the wall. He doesn’t want us to remain in our corners.
Ah, but the only way he permits us to peel ourselves off those spiritual walls – the only way he allows us to tiptoe out of those uncomfortable corners – is the way of faith: to follow him.
Jesus will not liberate us from the quandary he’s put us in except to have us follow him and his example. Jesus doesn’t assume we will follow him – it’s too precious a thing to leave to us alone. No, he commands that we follow him.
Is he asking something uncomfortable of you today? To clean up a bad habit? To back off your prejudices? To eat some of your pride? To reach deep in your pocket and give to a person in need? To make amends with an irritating friend?
Welcome to the corner! You’re in wonderful company! Everyone clashes with the Lord Jesus sooner or later, whether they love him or hate him. He exasperates. He engineers crises. He compels. He forces you to make a choice.
Wait long enough in that corner and you’ll meet up with him. But I’m not staying. I’m going to follow him out.
The Glorious Pursuit
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
When Jesus narrows your choices to an uncomfortable few – or one – it’s because he knows any other direction you might go would be to your loss…and his.
Are you feeling “trapped” by the convicting guidance of his Word? Talk to him about it now. He wants to hear about your fears, your guilt, your anger – most of all, if it involves disobedience, he wants to hear genuine contrition and see true repentance.
Take his hand and let him lead you toward life abundant. Sometimes passionate faith depends more on the faith part than the passion.
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