This morning, during my study time, I read a prayer that Jesus wrote. No, it wasn’t what is known as “The Lord’s Prayer”; it was a prayer that He prayed shortly before being arrested. You can read it in John 17:1-26. What strikes me as interesting, and what stands out in my mind in this prayer, is Jesus’ concern for His followers—for us if we have chosen to follow Him.
This week, three seemingly unrelated events happened in my life, two within online discussions, and one in a morning worship I attend at work.
The first event that I will highlight is an online friend wrote a discussion where she related the challenges and struggles of wanting to get an extra job or move into something better for her and not feeling as though it was a good move because it would take too much time away from her son. Many people (including myself) offered encouragement to her as she was facing this dilemma.
The second event (which happened earlier than the first) was another discussion, where another online friend wrote and said that she has believed in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all of her life, but was beginning to realize that she wasn’t acknowledging them as the supreme guide/ruler of her life. This realization was brought to light as she was beginning to have more conversations with her son about the subject of faith.
The third event, which spanned the course of the week, was a mini topical study on conversion, using the story of Nicodemus’ nighttime meeting with Jesus (John 3:1-21) to frame the discussion. Before this morning study, there seems to be a disconnect in my mind with Nicodemus’ questions and comments, and Jesus’ responses. Nicodemus begins by complimenting Jesus, and Jesus counters by saying that Nicodemus has no idea what he is talking about. Nicodemus counters with a question that is asking how then can someone learn (be born again), because what Jesus is talking about seems physically impossible. Jesus’ reply is that the Holy Spirit, prompting people to look to Him (Jesus), is the only way for people to be truly changed into people who are saved. Any other ‘way’ is a counterfeit path that doesn’t lead to God.
Nicodemus is confused because he is one of the most intellectually intelligent around, and Jesus is simply baffling him by talking on a completely different level. Jesus does allude to something that Nicodemus would be completely familiar with—a story from long ago, while Israel was property-less and was wandering around in the desert (Numbers 21:4-9). A swarm of snakes came in and attacked the camp, and God told Moses to construct a snake on a pole out of bronze and those who looked at it would be saved. Just as the people 1500 or so years before had looked up to a cross to be saved from snakebites, so would Jesus be lifted up on a cross allowing people to be saved from their sins. Jesus gives possibly the first prediction about His death here, to someone who would be very intellectually able to grasp the concept, but also to someone whose heart needed to be touched by the Holy Spirit.
So how do these events relate to each other, and to all of us, as we press ahead with Bible Study and growing our relationship with Jesus? First, thanks to Nicodemus’ conversation with Jesus, we must recognize that the change in our life and our heart it is nothing that we can do on our own—or really at all. The best we can hope to do is to place ourselves in situations where the Holy Spirit is able to touch our heart and our life. (Two great places that allow this are during personal and/or family worships / Bible studies, and by attending a solid Bible-believing-and-following church.)
Secondly, thanks to my friend who is concerned that she hasn’t given Jesus as key of a position in her life, we must realize that we must make a conscious effort to seek (meaning to look to, learn from, and obey) Jesus with our hearts. We cannot make the change, as noted above, but we can begin to place ourselves in humble submission to Jesus (really the whole Godhead) and actively place ourselves in situations where the Holy Spirit will be more able to get at our hearts. (Getting adequate rest and balancing the stresses of live is one option that allows the Holy Spirit more access.)
Thirdly, thanks to my friend who is worried about money and it taking time away from her family and spiritual areas, we learn from Jesus that money is the biggest temptation we have when it comes to allowing the Holy Spirit access to our hearts (stronger than even Satan himself). This doesn’t mean that having money is wrong, but focusing on money ahead of more important things is a backward and unsatisfying approach to life. I also shared with her that a parent who is present in a child’s life is more important than an absent one who sends money. How does this relate to our discussion? We must spend regular time seeking God for the Holy Spirit to be able to work in our hearts. How regular we choose to do this will dictate how important this is in our life: Will we merely be once a week church-goers, or once or more a day God seekers?
How does this relate to what I studied this morning?
God, our Father, wants to be a good parent, and unfortunately, if He were to arrive unannounced, we would probably faint and die because of our current condition. So the best option He had was to instead transform His Son (our spiritual Brother) Jesus into a human and allow Jesus to show us—well really make a way for us—to be made right before the Father.
God, our true Father, and Jesus, our spiritual Brother, worked together as a team (like they always do) to bridge the gap between where we are, and where He wants us to be. God send His Holy Spirit to reveal to us—to those who are seeking after Him—His Truth and His Way, the only Way back to Him.
Do you feel as though God is narrow-minded or unfair for only giving us one path back to Him? If so, visit http://www.reflectivebiblestudy.com/speakerinfo/ and listen to the file called “How Good is Good Enough?” I discuss this idea in much greater detail than I would ever be able to in this newsletter.
Have a great weekend rest, and take or make time to place yourself in an environment that the Holy Spirit can use to touch your heart.
P.S. Did I miss something, or would you like to respond on this topic? Join the conversation below!