Following Jesus can be a treacherous path of trying to change the world, as we see it, and running straight into the truth that we are, indeed, the one with the problem. We need deliverance from:
… our belief that it is up to us to change people.
… our judgmental and legalistic ways.
Think about this:
In the beginning of Luke 19 – the story of the tax-collector Zacchaeus.
(Raise your hand if you just started to sing “Zaccheaus was a wee little man, a wee little man, a wee little man was he!”)
Jesus is in Jericho and a crowd has gathered. The crooked tax collector Zaccheaus was there. He can’t see over the crowd so he climbs up a tree to see Jesus. In the middle of that crowd – which likely would have included more than a fair share of holy or influential or important or preferred or religious people – Jesus heads right for that tree and calls out to that guy – the one who is a social and religious outcast, ridiculously perched up in the branches – to come on down because Jesus wants to go to that guy’s house for supper.
Huh? How do I explain that to my religious friends?
I mean, honestly.
Jesus always picks the wrong guy.
Of course, everyone in the crowd gets quite indignant, muttering among themselves about how Jesus is now the guest of a sinner. Not only did the guy betray his religion, Zacchaeus has betrayed his people, his nation, colluding with the powers that be for his own gain and oppressing the very people who were supposed to be his people.
Or how about the story of the town harlot of Samaria? The infamous, Woman at the Well”? (John 4:1-42) The longest conversation recorded of Jesus and one person was with this woman who had 5 husbands, and was with a guy she wasn’t married too when Jesus approached her.
There is our Jesus, sitting by a well…in forbidden Samaria.
Does anyone else see the humor in this story?
The town slut, (or Ho, Hussy, Loose, Sinner, etc. (as she would be called today) approaches Him.
Isn’t she hopeless and an embarrassment? And openly living in sin, (deep breath)!
Plus, Jesus, as a Jew, was not even supposed to be in Samaria, let alone talk to a woman, for heaven’s sake!!
We hate that woman! Don’t we? We can’t be seen talking to her.
Isn’t that breaking the rules?
Imagine if Jesus was in our world right now in the flesh, and he heads right over to someone who cooperated with and benefitted from oppression of innocent people, someone who had traded integrity for political power, someone we distrust, someone who we feel is dangerous, someone who stole from people in a socially acceptable and governmentally blessed way, someone who took the very religious or national identity that we cherished and basically stomped all over it for his own gain.
I can think of a few already, but I won’t mention names.
Ugh. We hate that guy.
Don’t we? I mean aren’t we supposed to keep ourselves clean by dissing those who are not living up to our standards as we interpret them?
Would we be murmuring and complaining and wondering about this Teacher who apparently had missed the important parts of the very Law he claims to teach.
Never mind He really came to fulfill the law Himself.
We don’t hang around with people like that, Jesus. (Insert whine)
Don’t you know? Good people wouldn’t be caught dead with a man like that.
Just like we don’t hang around with women who are caught in the act of adultery, or fornication, and….
we don’t hang around with Samaritans,
we don’t hang around with powerless children,
we don’t hang around with women who have a bad reputation,
we don’t hang around with beggars or the poor or the oppressed or the criminal or the possessed or the socially marginalized or the ones who aren’t allowed to come to church with the good religious people, never!
Get it together, Jesus.
And, hey, news flash, we certainly don’t go to the personal home of a corrupt politician for a bite to eat or the apartment of the town prostitute for a cup of tea.
But Jesus does it anyway.
Jesus seems not to care about our who-is-in and who-is-out line in the sand. He doesn’t seem to care about what we think about all the wrong folks hanging around with him.
Jesus came to fulfill the Law but while also revealing the Love behind the Law, and the inadequacy of it, he came to replace the real love of a real God for their people.
Jesus came because God so loved the world. After all, as Jesus tells Nicodemus in the book of John, it was because God so loved the world that Jesus came to us.
Jesus came, not to condemn the world but to save the world.
…including the guy we would rather see condemned, to be honest.
How can we miss this?
Now take note of this fact: because of an encounter with Jesus, Zaccheaus turns around gives half of everything away. He is so moved by Jesus, he vows to pay back anyone he has cheated four times the amount he stole.
The Samaritan woman?
Oh, she just became the first woman evangelist telling the whole town about Jesus.
Wild, reckless love for a man who was like no one they ever met.
They both were not just fulfilling the letter of the Law, they were repenting into the heart of Love Himself.
Looks like the presence of Jesus transforms everyone…even those of us who think we have it all together.
The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
Zaccheaus was lost, Jesus sought him out, and in this moment of repentance – which was so much more than just money or position – he’s reoriented to the Kingdom of God. The woman at the well discovered that her bucket could only be filled with Jesus, not a multitude of lost men.
Now that is something to get excited about!
Think of the word “today” in that passage. Jesus says “Today I must stay at your house” and then later “Today salvation has come to this house.”
The time is now.
We’d rather another day, another house, another time, another kind of sinner. Don’t bother us with the now.
But today is the day for the wrong guy…or the wrong woman.
It’s perhaps telling, where we see ourselves in that story.
Are we the crowd, resentful and muttering because we think THAT PERSON shouldn’t be included because they aren’t righteous enough or holy enough or good enough or acceptable enough or just enough?
Do we have a long list of people we’d probably be pretty mad to see Jesus hanging out with in our world? Do we begrudge seeing Jesus head right to a certain house with a certain person?
Horror of horrors.
We have our sort of people we want to keep out.
Sure, we’re okay with this kind of sinner being included –but not that kind.
But over and over, Jesus picks the wrong person in our eyes.
He even picks you, and me!
Or perhaps we see ourselves more in the one who everyone else wants to keep out.
“Today, today, today, I’m coming to your house.”
And all we can do is receive Jesus with such joy and relief.
And our own sin – everything that damages us and damages our relationship with God and damages our relationships with one another – is over!
We stop putting God into a box of our own self righteous rules and let Him do what He came to do..
…love on all of us and see lives transformed.
So we turn everything in our lives upside down and inside out to be with Jesus, to be Him extended to everyone…not just those we think won’t contaminate us.
…to cooperate in making all things right, today.
If you would like to find deeper meaning for your life and God’s perfect plan, Life Purpose Coaching is the way to go. Hop on over to my web site by clicking on Life Coaching at the top of the page to check out the testimonies of countless others who have experienced life changing freedom through this awesome experience. Contact me for a free short consult to make a decision today. This is your day of change. Find out how to break out of old patterns!!!
Many years ago I heard a message about how the angels of God are there to do our bidding. God didn’t leave us powerless.
Are they not all ministering spirits send forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation? (Heirs of Salvation)…Hebrews 11:14
So, I started to put some things together in my head. If the angels are there to serve us, God’s own people, through salvation in Jesus, then what is stopping me from calling on their services when I need them?
Can you answer that question?
I began to formulate scriptures to encourage my faith to activate this benefit to those of us who are heirs to the Kingdom of God. We are all heirs, but not everyone believes that or accepts it. But if you are an heir to eternity with God then you are a candidate!!
God has revealed to us through the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 2:10
And He who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:27
For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest, nor is anything secret except to come to light. Mark 4:22
When you pray the word of God, you activate your faith, for you know you are praying according to His perfect will and you are hearing yourself say it…it is a release of your faith. His word will always accomplish what He wants to accomplish and will never return to Him without performing what your faith is releasing.
So, what prevents us from using this knowledge when we have lost something we need to find. Even if it’s just our keys? He cares about every tiny detail of our life. He WANTS to be involved and to be asked. We have not because we ask not He tells us in His word.
These scriptures can also be used to reveal hidden things in a relationship or a person’s life that needs to be uncovered.
And it works! As a matter of fact it works so well that I would recommend you NOT pray these scriptures unless you are prepared for what you might find out. I have shared this truth with some who just thought they wanted to see truth, but when it was revealed to them, they ignored it because they wanted their way and not Gods way.
The choice is yours.
My husband and I use this prayer all the time…even to find our keys that we just had with us. I can even reveal that at times I KNOW I looked in a certain place a dozen times…then I stopped and prayed, felt this nudge to look again, and there the thing would be that I was looking for.
I have witnessed rings found in snow drifts, that would have been impossible, toxic relationships stopped when hidden things came out that were not seen before, contact lens that were dropped suddenly start sparkling and clearly seen, and lost money reappear.
My purse was stolen in Wal-Mart one day, right out of the cart when I turned my back. We raced through the store and locked the doors and the employees checked every bag leaving the store, to no avail. The Police were summoned and came to me to take a report. While I waited I prayed this prayer of finding things. While talking to the Officer he told me that I might as well forget about finding it and cancel all my cards…I did cancel the cards, but believed it would come back to me.
I asked the officer if he believed in angels. He said that he did, as a matter of fact. I then told him that I believed the angels would bring the purse back to me. He smiled and said, would you promise me you will call me at the station, (here’s my name), and let me know if this happens. I said I most certainly would.
I kept praying the prayer to keep my faith out there.
One week later I got a call from the store. They had found my purse hanging in the purse section as if for sale. It had everything in it with nothing missing.
Coincidence? I think not!
I called the officer that day. When I told him my purse was found inside the store, hanging out in plain sight, with nothing missing, he started laughing and called out to all his buddies to tell them the story.
This prayer is so effective I have shared it with everyone I know and have had wonderful stories returned to me of finding priceless treasures long ago lost. It is so fun to rejoice with them.
And to see their faith elevated.
And the angels smile.
So, here is the prayer I put together. Now, this is not a formula, or a religion. It is simply a Word prayer I put together of the above scriptures I shared with you. It is a help to get you started in exercising your faith in this area. You can use it anyway you wish or write your own to pray or just use your memory of the scriptures.
I personally have used this prayer for years. Here it is:
Father, I know there is nothing hidden, except to be revealed and there is nothing kept secret except it be make known. So, I ask you now, in the name of Jesus, that Your Holy Spirit would search diligently, explore and examine every area, and bring every hidden thing into the light (insert here the name of the person or thing). I ask that You would release the ministering spirits (angels) who are there to do the bidding of the heirs of salvation, of which I am one, to go forth, find, and bring that hidden ____________back to me. (or bring every hidden thing to light with this person). I trust that wherever it is you will cause me to either remember, or have it materialize to my sight. I trust You to bring it to me today. Amen!!
“How do I break this pattern in my life,” he asked.
“You have to step out of your comfort zone, that familiar, cozy place of dysfunction, and be willing to purposely change; make new decisions.” I coached.
With his head down, looking up at me, and a smile on his face, “Surely that should be easy, but I am afraid I will fail, ” he said.
“Do you want to stay on this merry-go-round of failed relationships?”, I questioned.
“Of course I don’t, but then again maybe, just maybe, I use these failed relationships as an excuse to stay where I am because I really don’t want to change“, he confessed.
“Wow, did I just say that?”, he continued.
And on it goes. Do we really want to change or are we just making excuses to stay in that old comfortable place rather than venture into the virtual unknown with God?
Change is hard. I think we can agree on that.
I, personally, would rather try sleeping on a bed of nails than to change. Even when I know it is what I am being asked to do by Jesus.
It is not an easy process and many times we fall flat on our face at our first attempts to make a change.
When you’re in the process of changing, sometimes you will fall back into old patterns and sometimes you’re going to lose your way and wonder why you’re trying in the first place.
So, here’s my reminder for you:
Old stuff will come up. What matters is you recognize them as old patterns.
Patterns that, if not broken, you will live in the rest of your life.
Before, you let these patterns run you – and you let them run you blindly–but now it takes a quality decision to focus on your goal for change.
Now that you see them, trust God to help you make the change. Ask Him to remind you when you start to fall back.
Stuff will continue to come up. Old patterns die hard. But seriously do you want to live in the same spot the rest of your life?
Then we choose differently.
Trust the King who made you to guide you and show you how to surrender that part of yourself that even you don’t understand and help you to change your choices.
I believe in you.
Most of us can agree that at some point in the day, we come up against a battle. The battle between what we know we truly want to do (what is from our soul) and what our weakness desires to do (from our fears/ego).
It can be something simple that brings about this “everyday struggle”. An everyday struggle can be the choice to eat that delish and healthy steamed veggies and fish dish vs. eating the processed junk food. Or something perhaps more severe.
Perhaps your everyday struggle, is choosing that hit of the drug again versus going to that twelve step meeting. Or choosing between shining or hiding your truth out of fear.
Once we begin to perceive our struggles as opportunities for Jesus’ guidance, the struggles become opportunities to strengthen your faith even deeper in that particular area.
We all have an everyday struggle that we face. Paul said in Romans 7:15:
“I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong…I often find that I have the desire to do good, but not the power.”
This resonated with me so much. How many times have you had the desire to do good but felt you didn’t have the power to do it?
Verse 23 goes on to say, “But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”
On a day to day basis we come up against those fears of “do I have the power to do this?” I discovered through my own journey, that when I comfort those fears with truth, the fears diminish and truth and courage rise.
What is that truth? Love is more powerful than fear, always!
When a struggle or obstacle arises in our minds where the warfare takes place, I ask Jesus to: give me the strength to deal with this obstacle and struggle through His power and not my own. I ask Him to give me the words, the energy, the actions to do this with confidence and love and peace. Sometimes I am instantly filled with that power, and the revelation that I can lean into Him and He will be my strength and my guide in this journey of change.
If you stop fighting it, another plus emerges. You begin to learn who you really are. A divine daughter and son of the King of Kings and He is the one who propels you to great heights in the Spirit.
In accepting and remembering who we truly are, we allow our smallness to diminish and our greatness in Him to really come forth.
Then, you can step out in faith and in truth not in fear and insecurity. Love does that.
You need not do anything to prove your worth, you simply are worthy. How amazing is that?
In remembering these truths, you are filled with energy, confidence, purpose, and the strength to move through the struggle and the obstacle. You are filled with all the power you need to continue to be willing to choose what is good for you.
All struggles are opportunities for you to practice remembering who you really are and how to step back from the wheel and turn it over to Him. When you remember this truth, you are unstoppable, miracles flow, and everything becomes a beautiful journey with deeper growth and joy.
Today, remind yourself of who you already are. Strong, brave, powerful, divine.