Thursday, April 7, 2011
The Good Soil Part II...
Yesterday, I talked about the importance of making sure that we form relationships with people in order to follow Jesus' command to love our neighbor. If we are going to follow in Christ's footsteps then we need to be willing to connect with people even if they don't believe what we believe or agree with us. However, another important part of following in Christ's footsteps is to realize that He didn't allow anyone keep Him from His purpose.
If you are reading this right now, then I am guessing you are alive. If you are alive, then you can assume that you have a purpose. I'll go ahead and make it easy on you and tell you what your purpose is. Your purpose, and my purpose, is to know and love Jesus, and love His people. It's not your career, or your kids, or your talents. God uses those things to fulfill His purpose. But those things are not your purpose. Jesus knew He had a purpose, and He didn't let temptation or distraction keep Him from fulfilling it.
Even when His own mother and brother's showed up at a house Jesus was hanging at and asked Him to come outside, He refused. Instead He looked at the people that were sitting around Him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." Mark 3:31-35
That's pretty intense. Especially because those folks sitting around his feet were...dun dun duuuuun.....sinners! *gasp* We can't be sure what Jesus was saying to the people gathered around Him, but we can be certain that whatever He was saying it was the truth. People love the truth, even when it hurts to hear it. People were attracted to Jesus wherever He went because the message He shared struck something deep in their soul. Many people rejected Jesus and His message, but that didn't stop Him from sharing it. He didn't stay with someone for months trying to convince them to believe in Him. Wherever He went He shared the truth, and for those that got ahold of it, it changed their lives forever.
If we are to be the good soil that surrounds the seeds of truth sown by God, then we will need to constantly be replenished, just like the soil is replenished with nutrients, if we are going to be effective. As fellow believers, we are to pour into each others lives and support each other so that we can stay filled with the Spirit and Word of God. As individuals we are to seek God on our own and stay in a prayerful mindset at all times. Just like any relationship, we need to nurture and grow our relationship with God. We need to spend time with Him. We need to talk to Him. We need to trust, love, believe in, and pursue Him. If we are going to follow Jesus and go out into this hurting world, then we better be filled with His Spirit so that we don't get overwhelmed or find ourselves running on empty. When we run on empty we give our enemy a foothold. We give a foot, he takes a mile. Before we know it, we are depleted, run down, and hiding ourselves from God.
We can look at Jesus' command to love one another and use that as an excuse to stay in relationships with people that are unhealthy. I've done it many times myself. We stay because we convince ourselves that we are able to save someone if only we try hard enough. We stay because we think we are being humble and selfless by sacrificing ourselves for someone else. The truth is that there is only one Savior. His name is Jesus Christ. God is in control of the saving. We are in control of the planting and caretaking of His truth. If someone or something is drawing you away from Jesus as opposed to building you up in your faith, then it's time to bring that situation to God and let Him show you what to do. He will most likely tell you to kick the dust off your feet on the way out. Just a guess. Part of loving your neighbor is knowing when to walk away and knowing when to run (thank you Kenny Rogers).
This may be a little harsh, but to quote the timeless classic, The Real World: "It's time for people to stop being polite, and start getting real."
When it comes to your relationship with God, nothing and no one should come before it. If it does, then it's an idol. And I am pretty sure there are couple of verses floating around the Bible somewhere about how idols are bad. I've done this so many times that I should get the Golden Calf award. No relationship, no matter how amazing or how horrible, can be made more important than your relationship with your Creator. No one will be able to fill that place in your life where God belongs and you won't be able to fill that place for anyone else. You can't fill Jesus' place. Don't make me bust out the "God-shaped hole" cliche. I don't want to do it.
It's all about balance. We need to form relationships with people, but at the same time not allow those relationships keep us from our purpose. We don't leave people just because it gets hard, but also we don't stay just because we have put ourselves on the thrown thinking we're saviors. We want to love, trust, and grow close people, but not idolize them and try and put them in the place where God belongs. This isn't easy. Relationships are complicated. But the great news is that God is enough. He is more than enough for us. He is always willing to replenish, renew, and restore us. He pours in, and we pour out. He wants you. He is calling you. He LOVES YOU!!
Walk with Him and He will show you how to find the balance.
I love you man,