In my elementary years, when it is was time for the rambunctious class to put together a notebook with correctly labeled dividers, or to create something artsy out of paper following a list of instructions, I was bound to be the last one finished … and I never did it right. It wasn’t out of rebellion or laziness, I simply couldn’t follow directions.
I would normally scoot next to a near-by girl that I thought was cute, but more important, a girl with organizational skills who would pity me and help me get it going.
While others learned how to follow directions, I learned to develop my people skills in order to get a task done.
I realized early on that if directions are too complicated, I will get confused and derail from the ordinary path of completion.
I believe God knew that there are many people like me who are unable to follow difficult directions, and so that is why He made it so simple to find life.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
Just believe in Jesus! It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Sincerely, God’s directions to life are simple, but they are not easy.
In Matthew 19, a rich man asked Jesus what he needed to do to have eternal life, and Jesus explained exactly that.
Jesus tells him to follow all of the commandments, sell his possessions, and follow Him. The rich man walks away sad, not because of the commandments to follow, but because he had many possessions.
God knows our inability to follow His instructions completely, and that we could never achieve His approval on our own. What the rich man failed to realize is that there is nothing he could do to get to heaven. It is all that Jesus has done. The only thing that stopped the rich man from following Jesus is the high values he placed before Jesus.
Well, if you are anything like me, your bank account is not overflowing, so money may not be the issue in your life. Yet we all have “possessions” in our lives that creep their way to the top of our priority list and begin to consume our thoughts, love, and life. It may be our jobs, our entitlements, power, complacency, addictions, unhealthy hobbies; it could even be our children that take our focus off of Christ and His plan. Sometimes, we allow our children to prod us a certain direction other than letting God give us direction.
We begin to make decisions based upon the things we accumulate, or the things that demand our attention. These things take control. God does not want us to be controlled by our values, but be controlled by His will for us.
God directs us to place Him first, and let everything else fall into place.
In order to surrender to Jesus, we must trust Him. The rich man could not let go of his possessions because that is where he placed his security. The rich man rested on his money.
So often, we rest on the things that give us security and when those things fall apart, so do we.
God will never fall apart, so if we put our trust in Him, we shouldn’t either.
God does not want to take the ground out from underneath us; He wants to strengthen the ground we stand on.
Let us not complicate what God wants from us. It is simple, it is straight-forward, it is glorifying to Him, and it is absolutely necessary for us.
This is God’s goal for our lives: to let Jesus live through us.
This is very literal. Jesus rose from the dead, beat death for good, and is alive and well today. Through this, God has given us access to become more like Him, and walk with the Holy Spirit’s guidance in our lives with power.
God grants us His power, so our fleshly power must decrease to let Him increase. This doesn’t mean that we should become physically weak, but to set aside any fleshly desires that intend to have authority over us.
All of these great wonders and gifts from God stem from one thing, and that is trusting Jesus. The directions are simple, but it will take sacrifice on our part. In order to find life, we must lose it, for the sake of Jesus.
Let us be faithful to our calling, steadfast in our relationship with Jesus, good stewards of what God has given us, and be ready to surrender anything to the will of God. There is no need to walk away sad like the rich man, but let us value God most. Let us take up our cross, and follow Jesus.
Stay encouraged, and God bless.