What does it mean today – what does it look like to be a follower of Jesus?
Does it mean that you have walked the isle, prayed the prayer (that David Platt points out is not even in the Bible), and committed to doing your best to live “right”?
Or does it mean that you have been transformed? Gone beyond trying to live a “right” life and that every day you wake up with a heart to serve others, your family, and most importantly Him?
Lately, I have seemed to notice how the disciples struggled throughout their time with Jesus - with who he was. And yet so many of us today think we know. Honestly? How is that, that WE think we know HIM who lived 2000 years ago, and yet his closest friends were clueless?
That is like my great-great-great grandkids thinking they know me better than say Kristen or Jennifer – 2 ladies who have spent lots of time with me, have seen me on good days and bad. Really? Is that possible?
Or have we missed it somehow, in just taking things at face value and being too busy to really delve into what it all means?
I mean, these men walked with him every day. They left everything to be with him. They put their lives, families and everything they owned on the line to follow this “man” and yet time and again they struggled with their belief. So why don’t we? Do we not care enough to chew on it all enough to get the real nourishment from it? Do we just want to check blocks and get on with the real part of our day? Or do we even just leave it all up to that “great” pastor who leads us every Sunday morning?
I think we are missing it.
They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
Wow! Those amazing men we read about, study – they had hard hearts? After watching Jesus feed 5000 men (not including all their families) and yet they did not understand???
When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.
Again – how do you doubt who this man is after watching him die on the cross exactly the way the prophesies foretold. You walked with this man for countless hours, days, weeks, even years and yet you still doubted??
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand, put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe”.
Again, I am amazed at how Jesus handled these weak minded disciples. (I say this admitting they are not as weak as I am – but weak all the same). I almost wonder, if he was not upset about their unbelief because at least it meant that it mattered, that they were not just swallowing whatever he fed them. He knew they had to be thinking about it all in order to come to a point of unbelief.
Does that make sense?
I mean, in order for me to realize I do not believe something I need to think about what I heard and process it against what I believe in general. Then I decide to believe or not.
So we are called to live a “changed” life as believers. But how many of us are really doing that? I mean, most of us are mostly moral people and would not do terrible things to begin with. So how did becoming a Christian change you in a “radical” way?
I think I know the answer for me. I know it has changed my heart. It has changed how I look at life, how I approach it with the end in mind and live accordingly. Does it look that way every day? Heck no! But I take heart in that Jesus was not angry with his weak minded disciples, he did not rebuke Thomas. In fact, he called him to himself to show him. It was a gentle, loving man that wanted to help Thomas believe the truth.
I hope that Jesus would feel the same way with me on my bad days, would bring me in closer to reassure me that he is who he is, regardless of what I believe in my heart at that moment. Our hearts can fail us. Satan feeds lies into our hearts and our minds. And yet, we need to know what we believe and why we believe it. It requires us to think on such things, to chew on them like a cow her cud, over and over. Or we will never really believe any of it, and we will never really be changed in such a way that God can use us to do radical things for his Glory.
It’s all about how we live our lives, if we look for ways to be his hands to those who do not know him. Do we look for ways to reach out to the lost, to hug them, to love them, to serve them, or do we turn away in our discomfort and walk away thinking someone else will do it? What heritage are we passing to our children as we walk through life? One of walking aimlessly along – saying we believe but not showing it in any facet of our lives? Or are we teaching them to walk along and wonder, reflect, think deeply about who we are and who they are? Are we teaching them to reach out to those in need? Are we living it?