"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone
would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and
follow me.'" (Matt 16:24 NIV)
During the Newsboys concert we attended last week, the lead singer asked a question, one he didn't have an answer for, and one that's been haunting me ever since: "In the sixties and the seventies, thousands of people in the Los Angeles area accepted Jesus as their Saviour. Why has Los Angeles not changed? Crime and violence are still rampant; in fact they are on the increase. Where are those Christians who accepted Jesus as their Saviour? Why have they not done something to reverse the evil in their city?"
It wasn't until I read Mark 9:31-34 that the answer came to me:
"'The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.' But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it. They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, 'What were you arguing about on the road?' But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest." (Mark 9:31-34 NIV)
Jesus' disciples had been following Him for at least two years. They had personally witnessed His healing power, His power to provide food to the multitudes, even His control over natural elements. Some of the things He shared with them however, just didn't make sense. Their biggest concern was not about Jesus' kingdom, but about "who was the greatest" among them.
As I read this, I suddenly understood the answer the my question: One can accept Jesus as his or her Saviour, but as long as that person does not accept Jesus as Lord and Master, he or she will remain unchanged and useless. This is why Jesus' disciples could not always understand Him. This is why they ran away when Jesus was arrested. They were following the "Messiah" but had not let the "Messiah" become their Lord and Master of their life. Only after Jesus' resurrection did they hand control of their lives over to Jesus. Only then did they become bold witnesses for God's Kingdom!
A "Roadmate" is a neat computerized device that will tell you where to turn and how to reach your destination. One of the reasons why it is so accurate is that it relies on the feedback of satellites. One can never get lost with such a handy gadget. However if you leave it off and decide to drive your own way, you may not necessarily reach your final destination. The "Roadmaster" is completely useless to you when it is turned off.
Yesterday I went to a fantastic workshop in Oakville about Differentiated teaching. A lot of hands-on activities were shared, and it was clear that these suggestions, if used, would enhance student learning. However, if I were to neatly store the information away in a folder and never look at it again, I would waste some great advice. The workshop would have been useless to me, and I would remain limited in my usefulness in the classroom.
The same is true if we decide to go our own way, ignoring the promptings of the Holy Spirit. As long as we do not let Jesus be the Master of our lives, we will be useless Christians. It isn't easy to hand over the reins, but once we begin to experience His guidance, once we begin to draw closer to God, to have a relationship with Him, it becomes less tempting to keep control of our lives. At least with Him in the driver's seat, we will reach our destiny and we will make a difference in this world.
"Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34 NIV). This command is humanly impossible. We are too selfish, too self-absorbed, too unforgiving. However, if we let God be our guide in all areas of our lives (yes, I KNOW it isn't easy to let go!) We will automatically and unconditionally love others. Remember: "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:8-9 NIV)
So what are you waiting for? Plug in that "Roadmate" and let Him be in charge! Not only will you find purpose in your life, but you will also reach your ultimate destination!
Have you accepted Jesus as your Master and Lord?