9. More Right Than Jesus

16 12 2010

(I have been reflecting on the book “The Bait of Satan” by John Bevere. Here are some thoughts on chapter 9).

What do you really believe in? You can tell because it is something you would change your schedule for; it is something no one could change your mind about; a belief feels as if it is actually running through ones veins. That belief might be something good; something powerful. That belief might be something negative; something destructive. Whatever it is, a belief isn’t the “mere acknowledgment of a certain fact,” (101) and yet that is how many of us live out our belief in Jesus. We acknowledge Jesus; but if this is all it took the “demons would be in good standing” (102) because they believe in Christ and tremble.

The author argues that the main ingredient of true belief is obedience — complete influence — and that is going to become really important somewhere down the line because along the way, our “belief” is going to be tested. We are going to run into something that puts our belief to the fire, and then what?

Jesus offended people here and there. I find that to be an interesting thought, “offended by Jesus. Hmmm.” The problem I have with that is, in order to be offended by Jesus, I would have to be believe I was right and He was wrong. I can’t imagine a scenario where that would be true…in person; but when Jesus isn’t physically here, I do it all the time. If I am honest, yes, I live like I am right. When I am tested, it isn’t that I blatantly stop believing in Jesus; I just stop believing what He says and start acting out my belief in myself. So what does that say about my walk with Christ?

The religious leaders way back when Jesus walked the earth thought they believed in God, but when Jesus spoke God’s truth to them in a fresh way, they were taken aback and ultimately shaken and offended. The disciples stood by, watching, and thought they would point this out to Jesus. They whispered,

“Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” (Matthew 15:12

Maybe they expected to hear Jesus say, “Oh my. Thanks for pointing that out. I should have been more careful with what I said. I will apologize and try to be more careful next time.” Instead, Jesus told the disciples that His words would sort out the true believers from those who were just giving lip-service. Jesus’ words weren’t wrong; the wrong part was in how the Pharisees received them; they took offense. They believed they were right and Jesus was wrong.

There are a number of places where people took offense with Jesus, in fact some of his actual followers, and “the Bible does not record that Jesus reacted to any of the men who left Him” (105). I find that so interesting. Jesus says something and He can tell it was not received well and there is no record of Him saying, “Hey, let’s do coffee and take another run at that.” He just lets it land and he lets the person wrestle with it. There were things Jesus did that bothered people in his hometown, bugged his family, and concerned his closest friends! But Jesus was not to be controlled by people; He was well aware of the mixed-up motives of people’s hearts and He called it.

Wouldn’t it be SCARY to be with someone who could cut through all our pretense? What would it be like to be with Jesus who could say the one thing that would identify my heart’s position just like that?! Would I be offended instead of receptive? Would I counter instead of accept? I do like to argue…

Do I believe Jesus? If I do, then I would be more driven to not just acknowledge Him, to have people acknowledge my knowledge. Belief is nothing at all if it doesn’t govern me; and can you imagine if it did govern every Christ follower. If  we just took 1 Corinthians 13 and nothing else…can you imagine?

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

As it is, truthfully, I wrestle with belief. I never wrestle with acknowledging the truth about Jesus; it is just living like He is more right than me that is hard.

— Teresa Klassen

 

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