It is a hard calling to follow Jesus. Not one of us is doing it perfectly.
‘Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack…” he said’.
Remember this story in Mark 10:21? A rich young man is eager to assure Jesus he has kept all the commandments since he was a boy. But Jesus sees he is lacking one thing.
Sometimes I think we are eager to point out that ‘one thing’ that is lacking in the ‘Christianity’ of others. Our judgments move so quickly, we miss the heart of Jesus. Before Jesus spoke the words ‘one thing you lack...’, the scripture says ‘Jesus looked at him and loved him‘.
He loved him.
He did not shame him.
He loved him.
He did not shout out in ‘righteous’ anger.
He loved him.
He did not tell him he was an embarrassment or a ‘bad’ Christian.
He did not compare his perfect faith with the man’s lack of faith.
Before he opened his mouth: Jesus looked at him and loved him.
We are encouraged to restore each other in the spirit of
gentleness (Gal 6:1). We are told to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15).
The young man struggled with following Jesus perfectly. He was lacking one thing. I am lacking many!! Jesus is not ashamed of me while I wrestle.
He looks at me and loves me.
He calls me to look at others and love them in the areas they struggle too.
We are wildly imperfect in our loving others. I am so thankful we are wildly loved by a perfect God.
God sent his son, so I could be his daughter. I have no problem accepting that I am God’s child. This knowledge has wrapped me up in safety and peace my whole life. I belong to God.
I was reading over The Lord’s Prayer this week. It begins with, Our Father. For the first time I realized, I never began my prayers by acknowledging God was my Father. Always, my prayers have begun with Dear Lord or Dear God. Never did I pray, Dear Father. I felt God challenging me to pray this way for the first time.
That shouldn’t be hard God, no biggie!
But it was.
I couldn’t do it. It didn’t seem right to me. It almost felt disrespectful. He is my Holy God; He is the maker of all things. I felt like I couldn’t begin my prayer with such an earthy name as Father. I have an amazing earthly Father. I didn’t need to extend the term upwards to heaven. I was all good in the Daddy department.
God really went after me over this issue. This week in bible study, it referenced Romans 8:15:
‘…the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry,
This is what was happening. God’s spirit was relentlessly after me to testify that I should be crying out, ‘Abba, Father’.
Abba is a very personal Hebrew term for Father. It literally means Daddy or Papa. This is what Jesus cries out as he falls to the ground in prayer in the book of Mark:
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you.’
Then we go to Galatians, and again:
‘Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ”Abba, Father”.
Why was I pressing down the spirit that wanted to call out Abba? Why was it so hard for me to call God my Daddy, my Papa?
God wants extreme intimacy with us. By calling him my Daddy, we must acknowledge God wants more of our trust.
God was casting his net a little further into my heart. He was showing me that there are parts of myself I haven’t trusted him with. I struggle a lot with this.
It is hard not to view intimacy through the eyes of my experiences here on earth. If I let someone in just a little too far, it can result in a lot of hurtful disappointment. But God isn’t someone…He is God.
God does not fail us. He finds us.
Wherever we wander, He is always our Father. If my child was lost, or struggling; I would pour every resource I had into finding them and restoring them. But my resources are limited.
God, with his unlimited resources, is pursuing me. He finds me over and over again. He is never failing.
He will never grow tired of pulling me in closer. He will never grow too old to bend down and look me in the eye. He will never be weak and unable to carry me on his shoulders. He will never be too busy to lift up my chin and ask me what is wrong.
He will never lack wisdom to point me in the way I should go. And every time, He will go with me. Every time, He will hold my hand. He will never look away when I am attacked; He will go before me and fight. He will always win.
He will never be too poor to feed me. His love will never dry up and leave me aching for acceptance. He will never lose his voice; He will sing and shout and whisper words of love to me. He will never be sick and unable to run the race with me.
He will never be ashamed of me. I am his workmanship.
He will never leave me without shelter. He bled on two pieces of wood so he could build his dwelling in me. He will never go blind, unable to see that I have tripped and scraped up a part of my heart. He sees me.
My Daddy sees me. Every time.
My Daddy answers me. In His time.
My Daddy holds me. All the time.
My Father loves me. From Heaven, to the cross, and back again.