|"Blessed are those who put their trust in Him..."|
I am reading a wonderful little book right now by Janet Davis, entitled My Own Worst Enemy. Janet is a spiritual mentor who focuses primarily on women's issues and growth in their relationship with the Lord. Her books are very insightful and easy to read - always very rich in application to our lives.
One of the issues that she explores is the difference between following Jesus out of a sense of duty versus following Jesus out of a passionate, all consuming love for Him - the difference between night and day! We are so often taught to follow him methodically, ritualistically, out of a sense of duty, as if "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength" is a recipe we are following - 3 cups of heart, 1/2 cup of soul and a pinch of strength equals the exact right ingredients needed to bake up a nice warm batch of love of God! It is dry and boring and something we will gladly postpone until whenever we get around to it.
Contrast that with so many pictures we see in the Word of God describing an extravagant display of unabashed, passionate love of God. Consider Mary breaking the alabaster jar to anoint Jesus with the precious oil she had saved drop by drop over her lifetime.
Mary doesn't tiptoe into the center of the Pharisees and ask if she might be able to put a drop of two of ointment on Jesus - but only if it's OK with them! No - she runs to the Savior, weeping and making a scene which would embarrass most of us with her uninhibited display of love for Jesus. She makes a royal mess of it all by breaking a beautiful, expensive jar and pouring the contents all over the head of this One she adores. There is oil everywhere, broken pieces mixed in with her tears, because, of course, she cannot stop crying at the feet of Jesus. She seems to be lost in the moment. She doesn't even realize everyone is staring at her. The religious leaders in the room are disdaining her reckless abandonment to the moment. She is in love with her God. She doesn't care who's watching. She is out of her mind with love for this One she has found that is worth it all. She is sold out to Him. He owns her. She belongs to Him. Let everything else be lost. She has found the Pearl of Great Price. The Living, Breathing God of her desire.
Have you ever had such a moment of sold out love for God? I did. I remember the exact moment I was "born again" an overused term that often fails to capture the miracle of birth that takes place in a new believer's life.
I had gone to visit a little church in the new neighborhood I was living in and "just happened" to be there at the end of a time of revival, when the Spirit was flowing unhindred by religious ritual. I responded to an invitation to come to the altar for prayer. I was one of many people who went to the altar that day. The strange thing was, I had been raised in a denomination that never did this kind of thing, so it was brand new to me. Not one to put myself on display, I did not plan on doing anything but praying quietly at the altar. But, as I knelt to pray that day, the Spirit of the Lord fell on me with such power that I crumbled weeping uncontrollaby to the floor of the sanctuary. In that moment, I know I had met my Saviour. I could not stop crying. The reality of my sin and my need for a Savior overwhelmed me. I lost track of everyone around me and stayed at the altar long past the time that was "appropriate". I finally looked up to see the Pastor kneeling beside me, calling to me, trying to bring me "back" from the edge I had apparently fallen over. I have no idea how long I was weeping at that altar. I didn't even care. I had met my Savior and I didn't even want to come back.
From that day on, I have tried to follow Jesus. I haven't always succeeded. I am not a follower of His because I do it so well. I am because He is faithful. He holds onto me. He sustains me. He loves me. With all my heart, I hope you find Him as I did. Fall in love with Jesus. You will never be the same...