Strength for the Week – August 18th – August 25th

Strength for the Week

STRENGTH FOR THE WEEK: Flood Church’s Weekly Devotional

Series 1: The Voice of God

A Probing Voice


“Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” Jesus said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him.” (John 1:38-39)

What do YOU want?
It is a common mistake to assume that those who come to Jesus all want the same thing. This is a mistake Jesus himself does not make. He knows our hearts. He knows our capacity for conflicting interests and contradicting both ourselves and each other. He even knows our capacity for self-ignorance, expressed in our tendency to commit to things and people without first knowing why we are doing so. Why are you going out with that person? Why did you get married? Why did you have children? Why did you join that group? Why do you support that team? Why did you study this subject? Why did you wear this blouse instead of the other one? Why did you order this meal? Why do you continue working in this job?
Jesus knows that even though we may look decided in our commitments, we are not always decided in our reasons for those commitments, though it is the reasons that are more important. You see, while our actions reveal who we are, it is our reasons that define who we are. Sadly, we allow our relationships, environment, culture, and fears to rush us into making commitments for which we have not yet clarified our reasons. In extreme cases, we can find ourselves fulfilling commitments for years before we discover that we either do not know why we are doing it or that we are doing it for reasons we find wanting. To now know one’s reason for the life one has chosen to live is to go on a journey without not where the road leads, or where it comes from, or whether it is indeed a road.
Nowhere is the need for clarifying and articulating motives more important than in our relationship with Jesus. Here, the danger not only lies in the possibility of following Jesus without knowing why or for the wrong reasons, but also in the possibility of following Jesus for many good reasons that are different from his own reasons for having us follow him. When Jesus walked the earth, he was followed by many people to different places for different periods of time. Most people had, and still have, a good reason for following Jesus: some wanted healing from illness, some wanted food, some wanted to hear him speak, some wanted him to bless their children, some wanted him to resolve their conflicts, some wanted him to answer their questions, some wanted him to approve their actions against others, some wanted him to forgive their sin, some wanted him to start a riot, some wanted him to overthrow the government, some wanted him to do a miracle. The problem with our good reasons for following Jesus is that they can get us in the habit of wanting good things from Jesus without necessarily wanting HIM. The tragedy of this is that while it is possible to be reconciled with God without the good things we often want from Jesus, it is impossible to be reconciled with God without Jesus himself. To escape this error, you must take Jesus’ question seriously: “What do you want?”
Would your answer reveal a desire for something that can only be satisfied by an invitation from Jesus to “Come and see”? Or would your answer reveal a desire for something that can easily be satisfied by Jesus saying, “Take it and go”. Given your capacity for conflicting interests, you must consider Jesus question more frequently now as you follow him than you did before you started.
Keep the Faith

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