The time I said “screw you” to God

kai-oberhauser-252546

Jesus wants us to enter discipleship with our eyes wide open. He splashes water on the face of the overzealous one; he startles awake the one who is stuck in the past; and today he drives home the point about our need for intentionality when we choose to follow him. Read on….

Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:61,62

Some equivocate about their discipleship. One foot in – the other out. Jesus calls us to a unity of purpose, an undivided heart and loyalty. Just before Jesus had these three encounters with would-be followers, the scripture records: “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51 Other translations read, “he resolutely set his face to go to Jerusalem.” He turned his face, his body, his steps toward the fate that awaited him there. He would not turn aside from his commitment to obedience and living out his life’s prayer, “Thy will be done.”

Someone who knows about farming told me the way to make the best use of your farmland and to use every possible acre to grow your desired crop was to make your rows straight and square. He said the way to do this was to start on one end of your field, pick a spot on the opposite end and then keep staring at that spot as you start moving toward it with your plough or your tractor. Keep your eye fixed on the one spot, because if you get distracted and look away, you will end up with a crooked row.

I never thought my self an equivocator. I came to Christ at seventeen and remember a spirit of gratitude that my love for him and, more importantly, his for me held my rows straight. I watched my fellow Christian girlfriends throw the Lord over for a guy and I prayed God would not let me abandon my faith because of my desire for a boyfriend. (I must admit there was some judgement on my part going on.)

My rows remained relatively straight as I went to wedding after wedding, watched my girlfriends get married and start families. These women were still my friends, but they were busy with their new lifestyle and there wasn’t a lot of room for a single. So I made new friends and watched them marry. Same story unfolded. It was getting harder and harder to make new friends.

That’s when he came along. Handsome, fun, came from a great family, and was attracted to me. My rows began to go a little crooked. 

It began innocently enough, I agreed to go out with him so I could “share the Lord with him.” One date led to the next and within three months I told God to screw it. I had always wanted an intimate relationship with a man, God had never given me one, so I would get it on my own. Sure, he wasn’t a believer, and in my gut I knew I was settling for less than I truly wanted, but at least he was real, I could talk to him and hug him. So, take that God!

Ah but God wasn’t willing to let me go so easily.

The very weekend I told my boyfriend about my decision to let our relationship move to the next level of intimacy, I found him in the corner of the bar where we had gone with friends making out with another woman!

I stormed out of the bar and was more angry with God than with him. “Damn you, God. You won’t give me what I want and won’t let me get it on my own.” 

My row had a big crooked curve in it now.

It took years for me to process my anger toward God. The humiliating and confusing experience I had when I found my boyfriend in that compromising position has been redeemed by God’s grace. In retrospect, I feel God was spreading a net to catch me as I attempted spiritual suicide. And I am grateful for the rescue. 

The farmer’s straight rows and God’s dramatic intervention in my romantic life demonstrate how serious Jesus is about intentional discipleship. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. Keep moving toward him, do not be distracted from our destination and our end. If we get distracted, or look back, we will lose our way, get off track. Our rows will be crooked and our harvest less plentiful.

The second sentence of my rule provides hope for such a life: “This mentored life is possible because God’s good and just love has been given to you in Jesus Christ.”

It is God’s gift to us, we receive and learn to live it, trusting God’s faithfulness, his forgiveness, his love and his power to teach us well.

With you on the journey,

Debby

Advertisements

A sure way to get where you are headed!

annie-spratt-223429We all need a “Rule” to live by that supports our intentional life in the Lord; a guidepost that points us toward our destination, a map that would help us return to the path when we veer off course. I wrote one once and the first sentence of this rule reads, ”In order to learn to live and love like Jesus I must apprentice my life to the mentorship of Jesus.”

Will you join me in exploring this sentence, not just reading it? Let’s unpack it and see what help it holds our our journey toward God’s heart of love.

To learn – suggests we don’t know how to do it. There will be practice required. Like any new skill mistakes are inevitable. Remember learning to downhill ski? Plenty of bruises from that endeavor!

To live and love like Jesus – this is our goal, the end of our life, the target we aim for. Jesus is the model and the example of humanity perfected. The more we become like him, the closer we are to becoming who God created us to be. We need to learn to express the character of Jesus’ life and the quality of his love through our own unique and distinct personality and temperament.

Apprentice my life – An apprentice is one who, because she desires to learn a trade or skill, attaches herself to one who is a master at the trade so that she can acquire the needed skill and knowledge. We know what we want to know and we know we aren’t able to get what we want or need on our own. To be an apprentice requires a humble submission and an admission of two things: our desire and our lack.

Mentorship of Jesus – Jesus is the experienced and trusted expert at life and he has agreed to train us and advise us. He’s the source and the final authority. We submit to his life giving, and death defying instructions.

It’s like enlisting the the military and going through boot camp or like being a contestant on the biggest loser. We trust and submit to the experts in order to help us accomplish what we long for, but can’t bring about ourselves.

The opening sentence of the Mentored Life requires a response; a decision must be made, a commitment must be undertaken, a direction determined.

Are you willing to submit to Jesus’ mentorship and follow him and his teaching? Does this opening sentence to the Rule I wrote resonate with your heart?

In my next post we’ll talk about potential responses! Please stay in touch.

With you on the journey,

Debby