He renews my life;Â
He leads me along the right paths for His nameâ€™s sake. Â Â Psalm 23:3 (HCSB)
Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. Â Â Â Â Â Â 1 Peter 3:18 (NLT)
My husband and I watched a young child jump off the school bus today into, what we thought, were her grandfather’s arms. As we drove past the two, it was a bit more apparent that the man was probably her father. His hair was gray and he walked stoop-shouldered and with a shuffle that was in contrast with a face that appeared much younger. The cares of this world and the man’s life experiences had left their marks on him.
I often refer to â€œburdensâ€ here in these devotions and the word has a right sound to its effect on my life. Cares and worries have weight that will bend my life like a reed in a hurricane. But God promised He wouldn’t let a â€œbruised reedâ€ like me break, didn’t He? (Isaiah 42:1-4) I’m reminded about lugging my suitcases through airports, especially when I traveled outside the U.S. and had to go through Customs. No matter how frugally I packed, the suitcases were heavy and cumbersome.
Worry, fear, grief and despair are like that. They not only beat me down emotionally but physically with high blood pressure, ulcers, headaches, and depression. And sin. When I choose to walk my way and disobey my Lord, then I take on a bag of guilt and separation from the One who made it possible for me to have a relationship with Him. Father wants to have a relationship with His child.
The path to this â€œright relationshipâ€ (righteousness) is a winding, sometimes rocky path up the hill to the Cross. There is the â€œdrop offâ€ for all that luggage that I am carrying. The burdens that I drag around with me.
Jesus wasn’t about â€œHow many ‘anybodies’ can I attract around me?â€. He wasn’t about numbers â€“ He was about disciples! It is heresy, my friends, to think that if we have pews full that we have successfully fulfilled Jesus’ Commission (Matthew 28). Jesus said it’s about â€œmaking disciplesâ€. Jesus has extravagant, everlasting love for us but He also has expectations about our relationship. He expects:
Commitment. What is my commitment? An hour per week? An hour per day? How would my marriage be working if I gave it an hour per week? How much would my children know about me if we spent only an hour per week together as they were growing up?
Growth. Growth comes with commitment. As I turn my thoughts and time to Jesus, the seeds that are sown grow. I am in Jesus’ school. It is not a stagnant place. He wants me to move on to the â€œnext levelâ€ but He moves me on because I use what He has given me. Growth will not happen if I just â€œburyâ€ His gifts or ignore them (Matthew 25:14-30).
Sacrifice. Jesus is God. Jesus shows me how to be a servant. He said that â€œwhoever wants to be GREAT must be a servantâ€ (Mark 10:42-45). My life is not about what I can get but instead what I can give.
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Â Â 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NLT)
Jesus shows me The Way through this life that is about joy, peace, kindness, patience, faithfulness, purity, loveliness, and right-ness in Him. Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life (John 14:6).
Come to Me by Jessie Rogers (1997)