Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Judas Within Us

In the Bible there is a story of a man named Judas, who was a follower of Jesus Christ. Near the end of Jesus' ministry, Judas was not happy with the way Jesus was handling things, and so he decided to help the religious leaders capture Jesus so that Jesus could be put on trial for heresy. For 30 pieces of silver Judas gave up Jesus' whereabouts so that Jesus could be taken into custody. When the guards came to arrest Jesus, Jesus saw Judas there. Let's pick up the story in the gospel of Luke 22:47-48, "While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48but Jesus asked him, 'Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?'" Not only did Judas betray Jesus, but he did it with a kiss; a sign of affection. An "in your face" betrayal.
If you are like me, you have a tendency to judge Judas for this act of betrayal. And yet, in judging Judas, we forget that we have the same tendencies as well. Meaning that you and I betray Jesus all the time. This idea might flabbergast you, but it is true.
So let's ask ourselves the question: How do we betray Jesus? There is a book called "My Heart, Christ's Home," where our bodies and lives are likened to a house. As a house has many rooms, so does our lives. If Christ is going to take up residence in our house (our lives), then we have to prepare it so that Jesus will feel comfortable. But as we try to "clean it up," we find that it is difficult to do. So ultimately we need to let Jesus do the cleaning up. So, the story goes, that Jesus proceeds to clean up our house.
One day we are going to go out, and Jesus asks if He can go with us. We think for a moment, and then realize that Jesus wouldn't be comfortable going where we are going and doing what we are doing, so we say "no." As we leave the house, we realize that our lives are not what Christ would desire of us. There are many things that we do that Christ would not approve of. There are many times in our lives when we don't lift Christ up, or tell others about Christ. In this way, and many others, we let Christ down and betray Him.
The truth is, we have sin in our lives. We let our sinful desires guide us many times. We struggle to make the "right" decisions. In doing this, we let Christ down, and we can let others down. We all have a "Judas" within us. A thinking and acting that Jesus is holding us back. If we want to get rid of this Judas, then we must give Jesus total control over our minds and actions. Only then can we hope to fully live for Jesus; fully live the life we are called to live.
The choice is yours and mine. Do we sell Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver? Or, do we walk with Jesus in the spiritual battles of life? I hope my life shows my desire to walk with Jesus. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Good Servant

When you think of a servant, you probably think of someone who lacks position, title, or freedom. A servant is often described as someone who is lowly. One who cares for the needs of others. Someone who does the job others don't want to do.
In the Bible, Jesus challenged people to be a servant. But Jesus didn't just talk about it, he did it Himself. In fact, the picture here shows a wonderful story of Jesus being a servant. The story is of Jesus meeting with His disciples on what He knows to be His last night on earth with them. After they have a meal together, Jesus grabs a towel and a basin, and begins to wash their feet. This surprised them, because washing people's feet was the job of the servant of the house. However, since there was no servant where they were at, Jesus chose to do the job. In John 13:12-17 we read: "...'Do you understand what I have done for you?' he asked them. 13"You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."
Jesus shows us that it is actually a good thing to be a servant. Why? Because when we serve others, we take away any distinction of class or order, position or power. We learn that we were created to serve one another; to give of ourselves freely. A good servant is not one who is lowly, but one who lovingly and willingly gives of themselves to others. This is Jesus' call to us; this is what makes our life meaningful and gives us purpose.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How to keep your life exciting

There are many things in life that are exciting. A roller coaster ride. Being in love. Winning a game. Watching your favorite show. If this is so, why are so many people struggling with enjoying their lives? Why do so many people get bored so easily? How can we keep our lives exciting?
I believe people get bored easily because they allow their lives to be mundane. They do the same things each day, every day. They have their habits (when they get up, how they get ready, what they eat, etc...). They go to their jobs, do their work, and then go home. So many people live very predictable lives. The older we get, the more we tend to slow down and plan less. Now this isn't true for everyone, but I believe it is true in many ways for those who feel boredom.
How can we keep our lives exciting? I think we can do many things. First, we can learn how be content with what we have. Philippians 4:12, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation..." When we are content with our life, even the simplest of activities can be exciting; even cleaning up the dog hair. For me, just being with my kids is exciting; we don't have to do anything special. Second, we should be more proactive in our planning. We don't have to plan something to do every day, but at least once or twice a week would be helpful. If you do this, you have something to look forward to. Maybe it is a lunch with a friend, or a trip to the movies with your spouse, or an outing with your kids. Putting these events regularly in your schedule will bring enjoyment and excitement.
There are many more opportunities. Maybe you can share them with me by clicking on the comments button, and then others can read them as well. Tell me what you think.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Living for an audience of One

If you were to stop and think about it, you would realize that much of life is our trying to please others. As we grow up we try to please our parents, teachers, and coaches. As we get older we continue with this pattern, but then there are our friends who influence us as well. It is difficult to go through life not trying to please others, and not allowing yourself to be influenced.
The truth is, there is only One whom we should try and please, and One whose influence should impact our lives. GOD. The best way to live our lives is to try and please God. If we are doing this, then overall we should be able to live in a way that others should approve of as well. There are a couple of Bible verses that have helped guide me in this:
Hebrews 12:1-2, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." This verse reminds me that there are too many people (witnesses) who surround me and influence me. Often this influence is not helpful. If I stay focused on Jesus, then I can know what God has for me, and I can feel good about the life I live. I AM LIVING FOR AN AUDIENCE OF ONE.
Along with this verse, we are challenged by Colossians 3:17, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." If I live according to this verse, then my focus will be on living for God. I believe by doing this, I will be much better able to discover my purpose and be fulfilled in the life I live.
Tell me what you think.