Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Master, Show us Your way


How often do we ask this question with our lips and with our hearts? Do we actually believe we know the way of Jesus in all its entirety? Are we so arrogant that we can recline on doctrines and creeds and plant our flag and claim to have arrived? Once we realize Jesus is the only way to the Father, and once we have been made His follower by His grace, do we refuse to ask Him to continue to show us the way? The way of Jesus is the only way.

But His way has been so maligned and so misrepresented that we may not even desire His way anymore. In fact, His way may seem all wrong when compared with what we have been taught. And we just might reject His way if it does not make sense to anything we understood and thought thus far. His way might just seem like an illusion when compared with the delightful pragmatism that parades as His way today. And when you have mastered your way and called it His, then His way becomes an inconvenience, and annoyance, and even a burden.

And we dare not ask the Master to show us His way.

But be advised, when His way makes sense in a senseless culture than be assured that is not His way. It may be organized, it may be religious, it may be structured, but if it fits in nicely with a fallen culture then it cannot be His way. And His way and no other leads to eternal life with Him. Your way, however popular and buttressed by your religious peers, will only lead to destruction. I know, it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, but it signifies everything.

But to the average believer he no longer diligently seeks the way of Jesus because he already knows it. Church doctrine has made it readily available and easily accessible. The redundant way of a western life must suffice for His way. You see, we already have heaven shored up and even if we are not walking in His way who really cares? Heaven awaits us and there is much to be gained on this earth along the way, our way. Who has a passion to follow Him today? Who is willing to be a laughing stock and a fool for Jesus anymore? Let’s face it, who even seeks Him anymore?

And we dare not ask the Master to show us His way.

And yet the church rolls are filled with names and baptisms and the television offers a continual drone of religious programs supported by offerings seeking some kind of blessing in return. This is not His way, but so what? Millions sit with dry eyes on Sunday mornings while their loved ones are one hour closer to hell. Millions sit and are blessed while their teenagers stray further and further from Christ. Millions come and go every Sunday with no more passion than shopping at the market. And by their actions they are saying, “Don’t show me the way, I know it.” This is a great spiritual tragedy that has unfolded right before our eyes and in almost every neighborhood with religious activity that has almost nothing to do with Him and His way. And the sirens of this world have shipwrecked many while convincing them they are still on His way.

The day rapidly approaches when the goats will suddenly realize they have lost everything, and many goats may be surprised to learn of their true identity. The hirelings will not warn their listeners, they being apprehensive of even a small exodus. There are salaries and debts to pay and goat money is as good as is sheep’s. God is not waiting for the evangelical church to crumble. It already has. What is left is a lifeless religious construct which wanders contented in a hedonistic culture which has made room for a powerless spiritual practice.

And we dare not ask the Master to show us His way.

And like playing badminton the church argues back and forth about almost every issue. But where are the all night prayer gatherings seeking Him and His way? We know infinitely more than we practice, and we think we know infinitely more than we actually do. It continues to be the dance of hedonistic marionettes whose religion centers more around a building than it does around Christ. A broad brush, you say? Than go ahead and seek Him diligently for a few months. Go ahead and fast and pray with a sacrifice that carves out a deep impression from your normal routine. Go ahead and read the New Testament through in a couple of days. Go ahead and rise a few hours early for a month to spend time alone with Him.

Or you may continue as you are, after all you are no worse and no better than the greater part of the congregation. No one is perfect and what am I asking anyway? Sell all? Fast for forty days? Empty your savings and give it to missions? Let us walk before we run, however would any of us be more than willing to do those things? We have long since rejected anything close to passion, to say nothing of fanaticism. His way is very familiar, and His way this coming week will look like all the rest. Work, eat, television, shopping, pets, and a weekly religious observance, only to start all over again on Monday.

And we dare not ask the Master to show us His way.

Is the life we live now preparing for the life in eternity? Or perhaps we are living in eternity this very moment only we cannot see it. And if we should be living in an eternal reality, what does that look like in a human life? The words “What would Jesus do?” have become a small phenomenon, but actually what would Jesus do and how would Jesus live? That is a very dangerous question and if asked with any level of sincerity it must be accompanied with a vulnerable anticipation of the answer. If we do not plan to hear and obey then the question is basically asked of ourselves.

But Jesus is not just the way shower; He IS the way. And so His footsteps are the sacred pragmatism which if followed will be remarkable within a culture of utter darkness. But if we are not observably remarkable we cannot, we must not claim to be walking in the way of Jesus. We have created an ecclesiastical infrastructure which serves our wants and needs just fine. We prefer a vacuous expression which costs nothing, sacrifices nothing, and requires no real labor. And posted above is a neon sign saying, “This is His way!”

And we dare not ask the Master to show us His way.


Anonymous said...

How so true. We have become arrogant and think we've arrived. In this present day, we really have veered off the path.

I was doing some ancestry research recently that put my questions in some perspective. Our colonial ancestors, some of whom came with the clothing on their backs, arrived without shelter; french colonists arriving in Quebec were in service to their King of France and had to work as indentured servants for three years to richer families. The tragedies, loss of children due to disease, lack of necessities, warmth in cold weather, hard labor. One story touched me about a 14 year-old orphan who had to marry a widower more than twice his age and take care of his older children. In France, the King's military gathered prostitutes, homeless girls, the impoverished to become wives for the men in the New World. These girls had to endure 3, 4 month sea-crossings through storms, and the accounts of many of these ship crossings had the voyagers believing they would die at any moment.

Some women worked so hard, endured, yet only lived to 30 or 40 years of age. I expect the same stories of the first American settlers as well. The harsh reality is that these people really had a faith in the Lord that most of us don't have to exercise. I don't think they were as afraid of dying - they accepted ill fate and trudged through, probably clinging to the eternal hope of heaven as their real home. And so it was with the atrocities of slaves, who had become new christians; they accepted the Lord Jesus IN their storm, even where there was little hope of freedom.

Today, we, as descendants, can't even fathom what these hardships were like. We are pampered and soft and demand to live long healthy lives, pursue our best life, sports, entertainment, investing goals for retirement, travel, living like the nobles and Kings. Majority of people in the US today can say they live above and beyond the expectations of their ancestors. If our ancestors could see how we live today, to a much higher standard, like those who had rule over them, they'd be rather shocked.

I don't have any gripes about our improved way of life, but I see how it dilutes our dependence on God and encourages us to spend all our treasures on this life. The christian role models encourage christians to "vote" for the man who will keep them prosperous, instead of encouraging them to shake off our lifestyle excess and ask ourselves, what is our purpose as a Church in these times? I don't know how to be a disciple in this culture of excess. No one seems to be thirsty for God. If there are those that are thirsty out there, it's those that have nothing to lose. Where can we find them? It would seem that Jesus might say to today's disciples in the West, shake off the dust from your feet and try the next place.

I ask myself, would I be willing to go to that next place? Leave my comfortable surroundings and live in a poorer place?

mrs k said...

Just keep sending me to my arthritic knees, brother. One of these days I may be unable to get up.

No levity intended.

Cherie c. said...

I don't have a lot by the standards of today, but I have a roof over my head, food on the table, and clothes. But by no means am I rich, except if you were to put me up next to one who has nothing.

But I thirst for God, and His Word. I spend most of my time trying to reduce my work so I can be a better keeper of the home, and serve the Lord. I do not work because I want to, I work because I have to. But the Lord is slowly helping me reduce that.

I must look at my ability to work as a blessing. I can help those who have nothing.

I have no desire to have it all, no desire for shopping, and travel and the excesses of today that my husband likes. He vacations, I stay home. I most happy when I am in the Word, reading Pastor's blog and fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ as I wait upon the Lord's return.

Although the sun shines bright in the sky, thank you Lord, the days are growing darker. We must seek His Way, the only Way every day. Cling to it, hold tight with all our might.

I am grateful that the Lord works in us when we allow Him. I have been able to cut an hour off my bed time (I stay up much too late). My goal, Lord willing is to cut another hour and a half. My goal is to meet the Lord at my favorite part of the day. Early morning. I crave to spend some time with my God. It takes must persistence because old habits die hard.

Thank you Master for Your Way, the Only Way. And God Bless Pastor Rick Lord, he is hurting a bit these days. Lifting you all up in prayer.

Cherie c.