I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
by Yodit Kifle Smith
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.
How many of you remember how stubborn you were as a child? You know, when we couldn’t understand why we couldn’t get our way and we would be upset at our parents and throw a tantrum?
We may not be throwing the kinds of tantrums we did as a child, but if we are honest, we throw little fits with God when we don’t get what we think we deserve. We’ve made ourselves believe that what we want for ourselves is what God wants for us, so if we aren’t aware, we end up living our Christian lives relying on a God we created in our liking, rather than God of the Bible.
In the Gospels we see the account of Jesus’ ministry on Earth. With every word He spoke, every conversation He had and every miracle He performed, He sought to reveal His identity as the Son of God and God Himself who came to save sinners (John 5). Yet, He faced opposition because those whom He came to had their own idea of who their Messiah would be. And Jesus didn’t fit their description. They completely missed the message of the very Scripture they knew in and out as Jews, which bore witness to Jesus and His identity (John 5:39).
Then there were those who saw all the miracles He was performing (healing and feeding people) and only wanted those benefits but didn’t want the message of repentance of sins and salvation that He was proclaiming because of what it would cost them (John 6:26-27).
How about the story of the rich young ruler? He came to Jesus wanting to find out what he must do to inherit eternal life and he thought keeping all of the commandments could get him what he wanted. But Jesus knew the man’s heart and what he was blind to—the idol of his possessions. So, when Jesus tells him to go sell all he has and follow Him, the Bible tells us that the young man went away sad because he possessed so much. He didn’t want to give that up. He thought following Jesus on his own terms could work. (Mark 10:17-27)
We read these accounts and think surely not me-I don’t do this. But the reality is we aren’t immune to this. In a day in age where Jesus is being taught to be a genie in a bottle, a co-pilot, and a moralistic teacher that wants to help you chase your dreams, it’s not surprising to see people see Jesus as those things and expect those things from Him. And the way we are taught Jesus is what our relationship will be based on.
Sisters, we must be careful. Jesus of the scriptures in not a genie in a bottle that is working to make your dreams come true. He isn’t a co-pilot that let’s you steer your own destiny. He isn’t a moralistic teacher that helps you become a better person. He isn’t a God who is looking at your works to determine your favor.
Jesus is Lord and He is our Savior. He demands complete surrender and worship-but not on our own terms. More importantly, He demands that we get Him right or we will get Him completely wrong and live our life thinking we have a genuine relationship with Him.
Whether our lives go the way we want them or not, may we continue to be diligent in growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18) and in turn see and experience the beauty of complete surrender and worship to Him.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
John 5 (whole chapter)
2 Peter 3:18
Questions to Reflect on: