For 50 plus years I have been a Christian, a disciple of Jesus. For me that is much more than stating my agreement with a religious doctrine or being part of a church. It is not just about my culture or the holidays I celebrate. “Christian,” to me, is about trusting the words of a Man about knowing God. That faith, a response to the Spirit of God, allows a divine life to enter me, making me spiritually alive. I am, through faith and by grace, a child of God. That gives me reason to live differently – to love, to know real joy, to forgive, to hope for an eternal home. The ‘wisdom’ that forms me is found in Jesus Christ.
John tells us a story about the powerful Word of Jesus. A royal official found Jesus and begged him to come to heal his dying child. Jesus appears to brush him off, challenging him with words that seem so insensitive. In the 4th chapter of the Gospel we read this: “Jesus put him off: “Unless you people are dazzled by a miracle, you refuse to believe.” But the court official wouldn’t be put off. “Come down! It’s life or death for my son.” The man was asked to think about his faith. Was he just looking for a moment of magic or was he ready to completely trust? Did he only want momentary relief from the pain in his life or was he ready to make real change?
So, what happened? “Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. While he was still on the way, his servants met him with the news that his boy was living. When he inquired as to the time when his son got better, they said to him, “The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.” Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he and all his household believed.” (John 4:50-53, NIV)
That man’s faith is evident in one simple phrase: The man took Jesus at his word.
- Is your faith integral to your life or does ‘faith’ exist apart from your day to day decisions in life?
- Do you actually believe Jesus is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ deeply and profoundly so that His words shape who you are and what you do?
To answer those questions, we must not just think about the words we sing in church on Sunday or the thoughts that come our way in some inspired moment. We should look at our responses to difficulties, the priorities in our time management, the allocation of our resources. A disciple follows the Master. He does what he sees his Lord doing, learns the patterns and values of the One Who leads.
After He had taught the amazingly revolutionary truths in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, 7) Jesus closed this way. As you read this word from the Word, I invite you to engage in reflection. “Do I take Jesus at His word?” And, then choose the Way of the Lord – for life here and eternal.
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” (Matthew 7:21-24, NLT)
Abba, I am pulled from Your wisdom and ways
by the glitter of my world, by a ‘wisdom’ shaped around Self.
Help me to hear, to listen, to understand –
And then to do what You say.
Spirit of God, gift me with vision that sees past today.
May Your promise of a home in Heaven never be far from my mind.
Lead me on, a faithful disciple.
This I pray so that You will be evident in my life,
shining brightly in me and through me,
not just in the big moments, but in the ordinary interactions of the day.
In the Name of my Savior and Master, Jesus, I pray. Amen