If someone was trying to kill me, I’d be tempted to lose focus on other people. Just sayin.’
Not Jesus. I don’t know how kosher it is to say how much I admire Him, but I do. I love Him as Savior, but every time I read the gospels I also grow in admiration, respect, and awe for how He conducted Himself in our midst.
Today, I read John 12 several times and listened to it once on the CD in my car. The time of Jesus’ death is drawing near, and He’s surrounded by people plotting His destruction. He STILL does not allow THEM to set His agenda. He STILL keeps His eye on the work His Father assigned to Him. He still spends more time focusing on those who listen and obey than on those who oppose Him.
We need to model that in these times.
God is endlessly creative, but our enemy is not. He repeats the same old tactics from age to age.
Distract, disrupt, divide. Distract, disrupt, divide. You can see the number of times He tried it on Jesus.
Distract Him from His work by trying to engage Him in meaningless debates or in fretting about the opposition. Disrupt beautiful moments of devotion like Mary anointing Him with oil. Try to divide Him from His Father in the temptation or from His followers.
Jesus doesn’t bite. He calmly calls the enemy out each time either with a word of scripture, a question, or a flat statement regarding their motives, and then He returns to the work or restates His purpose here.
This time of year, leading up to Easter, I find it beneficial to read John chapter 7 to the end. Jesus is fascinating in these chapters and states clearly that He knows many of His listeners oppose Him and even plot His death.
But, He preaches. He states the truth clearly. He sets the agenda for conversations. He ministers. He leads. He loves those who draw near.
How desperately we need this mindset (soul-set, really) in these times! How weary we all are of chicken-little Christians squawking non-stop about the demise of the faith, the size and scope of the enemy, and the multitude of those who oppose God’s work in the world through us!
Somedays, it’s as if the church sent out twelve spies into our times and the ten who were daunted bound and gagged the two who spoke words of confidence and faith.
Our times are full of sadness, strife, contention, and rebellion. There are many who choose deception over truth.
STILL, God will prevail and those who follow Him must pay more attention to Him than to the enemy. We must not be distracted from the work by engaging in the agenda the opposition sets. We must be more focused on those who draw near to Christ, than on those hurling stones or planning our demise.
We must not fret. (We would all benefit – and sleep better – if we memorized Psalm 37.)
Jesus was surrounded by opposition. He knew full well that even those close to Him would soon fall away. In their foolishness, the plotters even considered killing off Lazarus after Jesus raised Him from the dead! Jesus knew what had happened to his cousin, John, and He knew God’s way for Him lead through death.
STILL, He paid more attention to His Father and to those who responded to His message than to those trying to stand in His way.
As a church, we spin ourselves into a frenzy, wasting precious energy focused on the enemy’s agenda and on addressing the opposition. It’s too often a fool’s errand as Jesus explained when He characterized this generation in Matthew 17:16-19
“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
The wise person walks through this world the way Jesus did. We know where we came from and we know where we’re going. Most importantly, we know whose we are. As Jesus paid attention to His Father, so we pay attention to Him.
We speak the truth. We act in love. We do the work of our Father and we trust Him with our lives, our future, the perpetuation of His church. Don’t take the bait, loved ones.
I don’t know about you, but I desperately need a “reset of the soul.” I’ve done a lot of spinning lately, and I’ve taken my eyes off Jesus because my ears have been full of the opposition.
I’m going to spend the weeks leading up to Easter reading John 7 to the end, and then rereading it. I’m going to ask Jesus to reset my soul. I’m going to re-invite Him to set my agenda and let the cries of the angry mob fade away, so His words have room to work on my heart and mind.
Anyone want to come along?
If you’re weary and discouraged, you’ll find encouragement (and maybe a kick in the spiritual pants) along with biblical truth and humor in Running from a Crazy Man (and other adventures traveling with Jesus). It’s only $1.99 on Kindle right now and just $7.95 in paperback. Let me encourage you and help you catch your breath. I’ve been there myself. I know what you need.
— Lori Roeleveld (@lorisroeleveld) March 23, 2017