Monday, October 25, 2021

The Admiration of Jesus

Often, it is our weakest moments that reveal to us our greatest obstacles. In a time when our spirit is too tired for pretention or for pretending, we often say something that reveals what the heart of the problem really is - our heart. Such was the case last week when, in a moment of extreme fatigue, I talked about pressing through all the way to Jesus when what I really want to do is just stop right here and fall into His arms. And what I said was this: 

That somehow, I think Jesus is more impressed with me if I push through even my greatest fatigue to get to Him. Somehow, He is more impressed when I keep coming, long after I was ready to surrender. 

And ain't that the truth? Don't most of us believe that Jesus will be more impressed with us if we push through bigger obstacles to get to Him? Don't we think, too often, that He will think us more faithful, more righteous, more...whatever...when we push aside our surrender and keep pressing on through to Him? 

Ironically, what this really says about us, is that we are not a people of faith. What it says about us is that what we most want from His admiration, not His love. 

Ouch. Sons of Thunder, anyone?

This is exactly what James and John were into, and it's something that we read in our Gospels and think they are so silly for. Who in their right mind would really stand in front of Jesus and start arguing about who is greater? And yet, here we are, a people trying to convince God how greater we are. A people who believe we have to do things to impress Jesus. A people who want Jesus to be impressed with us.

Never mind that He already called us. Never mind that we already get to bear witness to His ministry. Never mind that we are front and center for His miracles. Never mind that Jesus loves us so much that He already has a nickname of affection for us (i.e. "sons of thunder"). Never mind that Jesus Himself left God's side and came down to earth to live in a fleshly body right alongside of us so that we would know the depths of His love for us. 

Nah. We still want Him to be impressed with us. We want to impress Him. We want to live as a testimony to our own righteousness, our own faithfulness, our own piousness. Our own whatever. 

It's less noble, for sure. And it shows us to be not all of the things that we're desperately trying to show ourselves as. Our unwillingness to surrender at the very moment when our soul is crying out for exactly that shows us to be unfaithful, more than pushing through the crowds would ever show our faith. It shows that we don't trust Jesus to catch us, that we don't trust that He is coming to us, that we don't trust that He's pushing just as much through the crowds as we are; it shows that we think we have to come the whole way when He has come so far already...and keeps coming for us. 

It's just silly, is all. That's all I wanted really to say. That we're just such a silly people, wanting His admiration. When we already have His love. 

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