One More Thing To Do?
Application–helping others know what God wants them to do in light of the Truth they have just heard from the Bible–is an important part of preaching and teaching. God wants us to be “doers” of His Word, not just hearers (James 1:22-25).
And yet the Bible is clear that being with Jesus is more important than doing for Jesus (Luke 10:38-42), that knowing Jesus is eternal life (John 17:3), and that those who only do for Jesus but don’t know Him intimately will not enter heaven (Matthew 7:21-23). (For more on the importance of knowing God, please click HERE)
In regards to application, i.e. to living out our faith in Jesus, I want to share a few thoughts:
For many of us, the application of a Bible passage simply sounds like one more thing to do in our busy schedules, one more brick in our backpacks of all the things we should be doing but aren’t doing. We feel like the mythological Sisyphus trying to push the boulder up the hill only to see it roll back down to the bottom every time.
I know. Believe me. I already wrestle, on a daily and weekly basis, with how I can add more to my current schedule, one more Christian task to do.
As I have said before, there isn’t “more time” to be found, but instead a replacing of the time that we already have.
It is an ongoing part of our relationship with Jesus that we submit to Him our time and ask and beg Him to change/edit how we spend HIS time, to replace those activities that only have earthly and temporary value (or that don’t even have THOSE!) with activities that have heavenly and eternal value. I think many of us would be shocked at how much time we would have to do what Jesus invites us to do if only we would willingly give up some of our current activities…
I don’t know much about what heaven will be like (I just know it will be AMAZING!). What I do know is that there won’t be t.v., there won’t be Hulu/Netflix, there won’t be the NFL, there won’t be video games, there probably won’t even be physically working out in rooms filled with mirrors so we can feel better about our external appearance, there won’t be many (or ANY!) of the activities that consume so much of our time on earth. But if we can’t live without those activities on earth, will we be able to live without them for eternity? Let’s ask Jesus to help us willingly sacrifice those things that we will only have on earth so that we can learn to more fully rely on Him Who is all that we need both on earth and in heaven forever.
This will feel TERRIBLE in the short run, this will feel like coming off an addiction for a while, you WILL want to claw your eyes out as you stop doing what you have done for recreation and start doing what Jesus has created you for, this will bring out our inner two year old that throws tantrums and says (or at least thinks), “But I WANT to do ‘x,’ it’s MY life and haven’t I done enough for You already and You can’t make me and I’m just gonna DO IT, gonna do WHAT I WANT, I have freedom in Christ, now leave me ALONE!” Yes you do have freedom in Christ (even freedom to throw a tantrum!). But true freedom isn’t desiring to do whatever we want but wanting to do whatever Jesus desires.
Like Bilbo in the Lord of the Rings, we sometimes can only see the addiction in our hearts when our “ring,” our “precious” is taken away (or when we start to willingly give it away). But the LORD is saying to us what Gandalf said sternly and lovingly to Bilbo when Bilbo did not want to give up his precious ring and accused Gandalf of being selfish, of wanting the ring for himself, “BILBO BAGGINS! DO NOT take me for some cheap conjurer of tricks. I am NOT trying to rob you! I am trying…to help you.” And Bilbo wept in Gandalf’s arms as Gandalf embraced his small, distracted but dearly loved friend. God is not trying to rob us of what we want to do but to give us what we were made to do…
(please click HERE for this fantastic scene)
But please hang in there when you feel like that—and if you keep following Jesus, you WILL feel like that eventually. Keep asking Jesus to help you learn to submit everything to Him, to grow in you a love for Him & others that doesn’t drip like a rag twisted & squeezed but that can’t help but overflow like a faucet turned on full blast with the drain plugged. Continue to bow before King Jesus each day asking HIM to flow through you, so that it is no longer you who live but that it is Christ Jesus living in and through you, doing far more than you could ever ask or imagine. KEEP TRAINING, my friends—ask the Holy Spirit to help you put more effort into growing closer to Jesus (and following Him!) than you put into working out, winning your fantasy football league, graduating from school or succeeding in your career. KEEP TRAINING, and keep asking Jesus to remind you that it is NOT your training that saves you for heaven but that the training is what Jesus does in you on your way to heaven because He has already saved you through the Cross and your Holy Spirit-powered confession of faith in Christ…