#JesusChallenge: Day 3
This challenge to focus on Jesus has been about reminding myself, with God’s help, of why I believe. The reason why is not a thing but a person. As Christians we are called to do seek justice, love others, and try to be a transformative influence for good wherever we go. But we often get caught up in being Christian, going to church, being nice and following a few rules. However, if we lose sight of Jesus. The reason why we believe what we believe and do what we do. It can become mechanical. A lifeless tick list of dos and don’ts. This falls short of the fullness we are called to live and experience.
Why are we Christians? Why do we go to church often? Why do we commit our time, finances and energy being part of the community of those who follow Jesus? If we are honest most who profess a faith in Jesus often forget why. This means many of us, need to be reintroduced to Jesus. The man-God who walked the earth, healed many, raised the dead and himself was raised from the dead. We need to be reacquainted with his power, with the reality that he is ALIVE and has told us that WHOEVER believes will do event greater things than these (John 14:12)!
Today I am challenged by this truth! How would my own life and ministry change if I lived with this reality in the forefront of my thinking? He is alive and he wants to partner with us to bring about his kingdom. Wow! If we believe that than all things are possible for those who believe indeed. The problem is, we often water this truth down. We would never deny it, but we come up with all sorts of rational explanations as to why it’s different for us. But if Jesus is alive today, and if he has a plan and a hope for you and I, than life looks different.
In John 15 we read this:
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
Ok, so it is clear that we need to remain in Jesus. But what does that even mean? You know what? I don’t know… any attempts from me will probably result in the production of a legalistic list of things I need to do. But one thing is also clear, the secret is in Jesus. Staying close to him seems to be the key. What would that look like for you and I? How, when, and where do we feel closest to Jesus? The answers to these questions may give us clues as to what remaining in Jesus means for you and I.
I seem to meet God when I meet people, through conversations and fellowship over the dinner table. For you it may be by going for a walk and admiring nature, or reading a book. Whatever it is… we need to “go do it”! The promise is that if we remain, if we get our nourishment from Jesus, than we will be fruitful. So not doing it means we miss out on fullness!
Maybe like me at times you have felt fruitless. Maybe your life consists of meetings, and forms and an ever increasing to do list. What I am learning is that we need to make time. We need to create room for Jesus in our lives. To return to that place when God seemed so real you could almost touch him. I am learning that Jesus’ promise is available to me (and you!). That fruitfulness will come when I make room. All our endeavours come to nothing (at least in the sense of true fulfilment) away from him…
“Jesus help us to return to that place (physical or otherwise) where you seemed so real that everything was made new. Help us to live a life that is based on the fact that you are alive! Help us to move away from a Christianity of things we have to do, to a faith based on a personal relationship with you Jesus, not only with the institution that bears your name . Help us to remain in you when things are good or bad. Forgive us when we water you message down to being nice and feeling good. Help us to follow you with a cross on our backs. Amen.”