Tag Archives: Jesus

Update to Pride and Insecurity Go Together

A fellow blogger inquired about this post.  I’m so sorry I failed to update. Truth is, I’m working on other projects and blogging is at the bottom of my To-Do list.  But I was so blessed to know someone read and wanted to know how I’m doing.  Thanks!

Here is the original and below is what I can report…

imagesI seek prestige.

Before you congratulate me or question why, let me add, “That’s my besetting sin.”

Yeah, I thought you’d hold off on the congrats but I do hope you are forming some questions.

James MacDonald defines prestige as a subcategory under pride.  The following quote is taken from page 81 of Downpour.

Prestige.  “More ‘atta-boys’ for me, please.”  “Tell me again how much you appreciate me and what I’ve done for you.”  “I want prizes and bonuses and thank-you notes and public acknowledgments.”  Prestige is a consuming need for recognition.  It’s the feeling that others are always watching and the insatiable thirst for others to pat you on the back.  It’s the insistence that nothing you do be overlooked or unrewarded by those in a position to do so.  It’s dropping names of prestigious associations; it’s letting others know of your accomplishments; it’s the constant concern that everyone know who you are. 

 

The saddest part of my sin is that its root comes from an incredibly addictive insecurity problem.  I’m often this little four-year-old girl begging for her father’s affirmations that never came.  I want people to tell me I did a good job.  I want people to think I’m special.  I need to know someone knows I’m here and I did something good.

How horrible that insecurity and pride are such close sin cousins.

If you can relate, you’ll want to read on.  God’s grace covers this sin.  His grace offers power to overcome it.  God’s grace heals and matures the broken little girl’s spirit.  I’ve spent years fighting those inner thoughts and trying to control my tongue.  I’ve had moments of victory.  I remember more agonies of defeat.

Today, God spoke a prayer into my heart.  I know that if He spoke it, then this alone will be my weapon and salvation.  Here’s the plan:

Stop each thought instantly with this prayer, “Father, glorify your name through others, not me.”  The others being anyone in my presence when I’m seeking prestige.  I’m excited.  Actually, I can’t wait for the test run.  Just think I’ll get to see God glorify another in my presence just because I asked in obedience to His plan.  Wow!

It reminds me of the time in 1996 when the Spirit taught me how to overcome jealousy.  I was to pray the words of John the Baptist in John 3:30, “He (Jesus) must become greater; I must become less.”  My translation became,  “Here is what I want you to do for me BUT do it for others first.”  The others were always the people that stirred my jealous heart.  My journal records some ‘awe’ moments throughout the years.

Now, here I go again.  When I’m tempted to name-drop, list my accomplishments, or draw attention to myself, I have the power of His spoken Word to lead me to victory.

I’ll try to remember to post a praise or two in coming weeks.

What I’ve learned…

All believers can overcome jealousy, insecurity, and pride using my new  favorite words in the arsenal of God’s kingdom: Believe and Yield. First believe in the accomplished work of the Gospel. The complete Gospel says: Jesus walked a sinless life to show us that “yes it can be done.” Jesus’s death on the cross absorbed ALL the wrath for our sins. His burial and resurrection give us victory over death and assures a new life in Him. He now sits on the Throne interceding for us and assuring our victory.

That is amazing but there’s more…He gave us His righteousness, therefore we are no longer guilty of sin but we actually hold the identity of Christ. He poured out His Spirit to fill us with all the power, strength, love, grace, mercy, compassion, and whatever is needed to live the victorious life until we are forever united in Glory. Now that’s the Gospel. If we believe only the parts that say our sins are forgiven and He’s coming back for us THEN we are not believing the parts that we need to live each day. He insures our sanctification. We must believe He saves us from the penalty of sin but we must also believe He gives us victory over sin each and every day.

In the blog, I used the term: besetting sin. But once I began to live out what I wrote and believe the complete gospel, I began to see I should never ever have a besetting sin. In God’s opinion, the only one that matters, I don’t!!! I only have Jesus’ record and it is perfect as He is perfect. So once I begin to believe this truth then jealousy, pride, and insecurities die as I yield to the God that lives in me.

Oh how good He is. Oh how He loves me and you.

Now how is that lived out practically,  Get up each day and declare with all the faith of a mustard seed, “God loves me as He loves His Son.  Jesus paid it all.  It’s done.  He lives in me to complete His Kingdom work.  He receives all the glory when I yield to Him.  So therefore, may the God-in-me love others, may the God-in-me serve, may the God-in-me move mountains.  I believe your promises.  I put my faith in your Gospel.  I yield to Your presence.  Your will be done this day. Amen”

Pride and Insecurity go Together

imagesI seek prestige.

Before you congratulate me or question why, let me add, “That’s my besetting sin.”

Yeah, I thought you’d hold off on the congrats but I do hope you are forming some questions.

James MacDonald defines prestige as a subcategory under pride.  The following quote is taken from page 81 of Downpour.

Prestige.  “More ‘atta-boys’ for me, please.”  “Tell me again how much you appreciate me and what I’ve done for you.”  “I want prizes and bonuses and thank-you notes and public acknowledgments.”  Prestige is a consuming need for recognition.  It’s the feeling that others are always watching and the insatiable thirst for others to pat you on the back.  It’s the insistence that nothing you do be overlooked or unrewarded by those in a position to do so.  It’s dropping names of prestigious associations; it’s letting others know of your accomplishments; it’s the constant concern that everyone know who you are. 

 

The saddest part of my sin is that its root comes from an incredibly addictive insecurity problem.  I’m often this little four-year-old girl begging for her father’s affirmations that never came.  I want people to tell me I did a good job.  I want people to think I’m special.  I need to know someone knows I’m here and I did something good.

How horrible that insecurity and pride are such close sin cousins.

If you can relate, you’ll want to read on.  God’s grace covers this sin.  His grace offers power to overcome it.  God’s grace heals and matures the broken little girl’s spirit.  I’ve spent years fighting those inner thoughts and trying to control my tongue.  I’ve had moments of victory.  I remember more agonies of defeat.

Today, God spoke a prayer into my heart.  I know that if He spoke it, then this alone will be my weapon and salvation.  Here’s the plan:

Stop each thought instantly with this prayer, “Father, glorify your name through others, not me.”  The others being anyone in my presence when I’m seeking prestige.  I’m excited.  Actually, I can’t wait for the test run.  Just think I’ll get to see God glorify another in my presence just because I asked in obedience to His plan.  Wow!

It reminds me of the time in 1996 when the Spirit taught me how to overcome jealousy.  I was to pray the words of John the Baptist in John 3:30, “He (Jesus) must become greater; I must become less.”  My translation became,  “Here is what I want you to do for me BUT do it for others first.”  The others were always the people that stirred my jealous heart.  My journal records some ‘awe’ moments throughout the years.

Now, here I go again.  When I’m tempted to name-drop, list my accomplishments, or draw attention to myself, I have the power of His spoken Word to lead me to victory.

I’ll try to remember to post a praise or two in coming weeks.

Do You Remember 1983?

imagesTake a moment and recall where you were, what you were doing, and what major events happened 30 years ago, in the year 1983.

Here’s what I remember.  I was 25, married, and living in Clarksburg, WV.  I had a two-year-old daughter and by the end of the year my son was on the way.  We moved from a small cabin on 88 acres deep in the mountains to a Cape Cod home on 5 acres just a few miles outside of town.

I played the piano in the same small church Mike’s childhood church.   Mike worked at the family business.  I taught preschool at Salem Methodist Church and took graduate classes at Salem College.  I think we drove a Subaru and a Camaro Z-28.  I can’t remember where we vacationed, if we did.

Sad to admit, but there is absolutely no recall of any major event happening in my state, nation, or the world.  Honestly, I can’t even tell you who was president.  My memories are centered on my immediate family.  If it didn’t touch my personal life, then it wasn’t worth remembering.

I’m now adjusting my opinion of the Hebrew people alive the night Jesus was born and still alive when He was crucified.  The year of his birth shook the nation of Judah.  Zachariah had delivered a stunning prophecy about his son John and a coming Messiah.  People talk when an older barren woman has a baby. People also talk when a young girl is pregnant out-of-wedlock.

Months later there were the shepherds running through town shouting about angels in the sky, a new star over a manger, and a baby that caused their knees to bow in reverence.

I wonder how long it took for life to return to normal and the shepherds became a distant memory. Doesn’t matter because about two years later a violent attack destroyed their security and should’ve stirred their memories.

It started with a parade.  You know, the streets were a buzz when a caravan of wise men from the East rode into town.  It wasn’t long before the horrors of Roman soldiers, swords, and blood filled the streets of Bethlehem.  I can’t imagine anyone could forget the screams of children and mommies as dads pleaded for the lives of their young boys.

Mary, Joseph, and Jesus fled to Egypt and the nation of Judah and the town of Bethlehem forgot them.  There’s a mystery here.  If the people had remembered the miracles of Jesus’ birth linked to the horrendous reaction of His enemies, they could have silenced his critics in John 7:41-44.

Jesus never talked about the past.  I don’t recall a time that Jesus ever returned to Bethlehem.  I can’t find a passage where he defended His incarnation and proved his birth was the fulfillment of prophecy.

The people in that little town knew firsthand that life and death came with Jesus.  I ponder these things.  Were the parents, grandparents, and siblings of murdered babies at the foot of the cross remembering a miraculous star, some jubilant shepherds, and the awe-inspiring worship of a baby boy?

Maybe 30 years was simply too long.  The pain had healed.  Life went on.  No one remembered.  But how sad, the birth of the Messiah Savior of the world, forgotten, for a time.

Google stirred my memories of 1983.  Ronald Reagan dealt with a social security crisis, the US and USSR played Russian roulette with nuclear bomb testings, the worlds’ largest robbery of 25,000,000 pounds was taken from Heathrow, London.  There were floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes that stole lives.  Over 200 marines were killed in a Beirut bombing while Israelis died in bus bombings.

imagesTwo things entered the US that year.  Two things that forever changed our society and we’ve never been able to forget:  Crack cocaine and Microsoft Word.

It took the crucifixion to sear forever in our hearts and minds the story of the Gospel.  Jesus left His heavenly home to be born in a manger, to show us the Father through teaching and miracles, to pay our sin debt on the cross, and to rise to life on the third day, so He can sit at the Father’s side interceding for us so that we never forget the only event in all of history that matters.

He Sees Jesus in Me

imagesWhen God the Father looks at a believer, He sees His Son, Jesus.”

I’ve said that truth countless times.  My head knows the doctrine of justification.  Sadly because I’ve never defined it, I exhibit no power in those powerful words.

Until now!

After reading, “Because He Loves Me” by Elyse Fitspatrick, I can define what the Father sees when He looks at me, His beloved daughter.

Read slowly; don’t miss this.  Imagine each statement as you look at your reflection before a Holy God.

Jesus’ perfect record has become ours.  Because God has accredited or imputed Jesus’ perfect obedience to you, when God looks upon you, he sees you as a person who

  • Always does the things that are pleasing to him
  • Is so focused on accomplishing his will and work that doing so is your daily food
  • Doesn’t seek your own will but seeks his will instead
  • Doesn’t seek to receive glory (praise, respect, worship) from others
  • Has always kept all his commandments;
  • Lives in such a way that your life brings holiness to others
  • Loves others and lays down your life on a consistent basis
  • Lives in such a way that the people around you know that you love your heavenly Father more than anything else
  • Seeks to obey every command so that righteousness will be fulfilled.

 …In God’s opinion (the only one that matters!) that’s your record today.

Page 74  “Because He Loves Me”

Anyone saying, “wow, wow, wow” with me right now?  If not, then you’ve missed the astonishment of these truths.

If you’re like me, you will need to lean in a bit closer to that reflection and probe for any evidence of these virtues.  If we can’t see Jesus and others can’t see Jesus in us, then maybe, there is a pride issue.

I have to remind myself over and over that his righteousness is now mine and that the way my heart harasses me is more a function of my pride and self-sufficiency than a sincere desire for godliness.  If godliness before him is what I was really after, then one look at the cross and empty tomb would suffice. 

 But I can see that I’m frequently more concerned about whether I approve of myself than the fact that he approves of me.  I sinfully long to be able to look at my life and feel good about my personal accomplishments and it is that desire that spawns crushing guilt.

 The only way to silence my heart and find solace is to continually remind myself of my new identity in Christ and to be satisfied with that alone. 

Page 75 “Because He Loves Me”

 

The Gospel is our life, our hope.  We must daily review Bethlehem, Golgotha, Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives.  Until we are convinced that because of His great love, He came as a baby, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, was buried then rose from the grave, and is now seated in Glory.  He loves that much.

“I believe He won’t stop loving me until He stops loving His own Son.” 

How can we not passionately love and obey such a God?

Best Friend Forever

best-friends-day-2

It’s one of those days: the kind where nothing goes right, nothing feels right, and nothing fixes the problems.

On these days I like to stay in bed.  I know that sounds ridiculous but actually staying in bed is better hiding under the bed.  Yep, I have those days too but I don’t like to talk about them.

I’d be under the bed today if it weren’t for my BFF.  He called and though he didn’t say much; he never does.  He just always says and does the right thing at the right time.

He tells me what’s wrong with me without making me feel like pond scum.

He warns me of the approaching landmines and guides my steps.

When I’ve made a fool of myself; he holds me tight until I feel his tender kisses.

When the world is collapsing around me; he anchors me.  He assures me he’ll never leave me.  His presence shatters my fears.  His love tenderly pulls me from the fetal position into a warrior pose.

When we’re together, I’m complete. His laughter makes my heart sing.  His tears make my heart ache.

I am amazed by his love, astounded by his faithfulness.  Having him is having everything.

He steadies my pendulum.

I can scream in his face, curse his name, reject his love, ignore his voice, avoid his presence, and spew my hatred over all his goodness.  Yet when I come to my senses, see my life without him, he is waiting for me.  He renews me without shame or guilt.

He’s my reality when nothing makes sense.  He’s the only reason to get up each day:  My first love, my best friend, my Supreme Satisfaction.

By the way, my BFF walked on water to pull me out of my pit.

Just saying his name, Jesus, brings tears of joy.

I can now get dressed.  Jesus.  Anyone have a tissue?

You Deserve Better

MB900411745I had an epiphany this morning.  While doing my Jonah homework, the author Priscilla Shirer, walked us through the stories of Jonah, David, and the prodigal son.  They each had an ‘aha’ moment.  Jonah was in the belly of a huge fish, David was mourning the death of his infant son, and the prodigal was dining on the slop of pigs when their epiphanies shook them to the consciousness of their sin.

As I reflected on my own journey fleeing God, I shivered at the memories of my storms, deceits, and vile living. Then I was jolted to worship when I realized how gracious my God had been to me.  Years ago, He turned me from my wicked ways in an instant of revelation far different than the three examples I had just read.

One morning in my college apartment, I stared at my image in the mirror and heard these words spoken into my heart,  “You deserve better.”

Can you believe it?  The girl who was starved for true love, who craved affection and attention, and who never felt good enough heard she, of all people, deserved better.

It wasn’t just for her, she deserved it.

Not until this very morning did I realize how much grace was poured into my soul that day.  It has taken decades to come full circle to that revelation but I now know it ha always been true.

I was then and I still am, a child of the Most High God.  He saw me as a princess adorned in pure His white wedding gown.  I wore His crown.  I carried His sword.  I had already inherited all the glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

It was all mine, and yes, I deserved it.  Not because of anything I had done.  The salvation of Jesus is assured to those who receive His grace through the remission of sin.  His Word says, when I believed Him and I repented when I was ten-years-old, I became a new creation.  Not only was I eternally saved but I had and still have claim to all the promises of that inheritance.

Yes, that is far better than what I was living.  As far as the beat of my heart, through the unlimited vastness of the universe, to the heart of the Lamb who sits on the Throne, better!

Is God Cruel?

Have you ever wondered why God blinded the hearts of those Jesus walked among?  It sounds unfair.  It sounds like God was cruel.  He blinded their hearts and yet held them responsible for seeing who He was.

Don’t think of ‘blinded’ as complete unseeingness.  Yes, I made up that word.  There was enough sight to recognize Him if they were willing.

His disciples recognized Him, “…This makes us believe that you came from God.”

Peter said, “You are the Christ.”

The woman at the well announced, “Come see a man who told me everything I ever did, could this be the Messiah?”  The whole community then said of Him, “…we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

John the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

Mary and Martha, “Yes, Lord, I  believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”

The thief on the cross, “Remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.”

Only Peter, James, and John were given a glimpse of the real Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.  To the chosen generation, He revealed enough of His glory for them to know Him but shrouded all of His glory in the confines of His humanity.

I now believe the better translation for blinded would be shrouded.  He shrouded their eyes so they would not see the fullness of His glory.

God was among them.

Take that in for a few moments.  The God Isaiah saw sitting on the Throne, high and lifted up.  The robe of His train fills the temple.  Mighty creatures, hosts of angels, exalting His glory, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.”  The thresholds shake at the magnitude of the praise for who He is.

The one who spoke the universe into existence.

The one who split the Red Sea and held it at bay.

The one who shook the mountain, spoke with thunder, and wrote on stone.

The one who stopped the sun and moved it backward.

The burning bush, the cloud by day and fire by night.

Why did He shroud their eyes and deaden their hearts?

If he had not, there would be no one to shout, “Crucify Him!”

First of all, every human on earth would have died in his or her sins in the presence of the Holy, Holy, Holy Yahweh.  But in that instant before death, when they recognized Him, without doubt, every living creature on earth would have bowed in submission.

God is good and gracious.  He gives us all we need.  Any more of His glory and we would die in these feeble bodies.  The shrouding was for their good.  Only glorified bodies can stand in the presence of the Holy One.

His mercy protected them.  He grace revealed enough to let them choose to believe and receive eternal life in glorified bodies.

So as I ponder the things in His Word that sound unfair or even cruel.  As I consider the things in my life that God allows that seem unfair or bad.

Is He really protecting me?

Can Blessings be Curses?

Blessings can be curses.

It’s true.  My highly structured, efficiently detailed brain serves me well, most of the time.  Then there are the times when it leads to my undoing.  Take for instance, blogging.

In the beginning, I determined I would post a Monday devotional thought, Wednesday prayer tip, and a personal highlight of the week on Friday’s Guess What?    As long as my life had a regular routine, this worked.

I’m living in limbo land now.  This land is void of structure.  It can best be described as ‘hanging off the edge of a cliff by one’s fingernails’.  I’m fighting for a routine but most days I live in going with the flow survival mode.  That’s hard for my brain.

Here’s how I suffer: chaos hits and I don’t write for a week (or longer), causing frustration to stifle all creativity.  I get a great idea but it doesn’t fit the prescribed categories.   I have a cool thing happen I want to put on Friday’s Guess What? but it’s Monday and will be old news by Friday.  I torment myself wondering if anyone will notice I post a devotional thought on Thursday instead of Monday.

How can I break a rule I created?  If I can’t do it right, then I can’t do it at all.  It’s agony being me.

I need a flexible structured plan.  Here’s what I suggest.

  • I’ll add another category, “Any-day Ponderings.”  I’ll have the freedom to post anytime on any-day excerpts from my journal the insights and challenges of what the Spirit is teaching me. Wow!  I have goose bumps considering the possibility of two posts in one day.
  • I’ll rewrite my blog’s ‘About’ page apologizing in advance for broken rules and irregular postings.  This will appease my Class A Personality peers and allow me to post news as it happens or maybe even out of chronological order.  Is such a thing possible?
  • I’ll remove the confining (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) labels from the categories.  So far I’ve had no success with this but I’ll keep trying.
  • I promise to finish the series of lessons left hanging off that cliff.  Maybe then I can stop losing sleep.

My Class A readers are smiling in affirmation of my need to explain myself while all others are scratching their heads wondering what’s the big deal.  Do you think God intended the extremes of so many vastly different personalities?  Or maybe, we should strive for the best traits from each one.  This is how I picture Jesus.  He could stick with the plan and go with the flow, without agonizing over either.

Maybe I’ve been wrong.  I’m not blessed to be Class A nor am I cursed when I struggle in limbo.  Those man-made labels don’t define me they confine me.

I’m a child of the Almighty One being conformed to the image of Jesus.  If I believed this truth, then I’d realize He’s already removed the labels and the curses and declared me Christlike.  Ahh! The freedom that brings.  Bring on the new me with a flexible structured life and proud of it.

Hmmmmm

I wonder how long it will take?

AWEsome Truth

This week’s news reported two women whose jobs are in jeopardy for telling the truth about Christmas.  One, a teacher, refused to lie to her students about an imagery Santa and elf factory on the North Pole.  She taught a valid geography lesson.  Would she be fired if she had taught 2 + 2 is 5 just because some want to believe it is?  Public school teachers are paid to teach the facts.

The other, a news reporter, made an interesting point about how we are training our children to seek beyond their means by asking Santa for what their parents can’t afford.  Later she said in her apology that she hated having taken the magic out of Christmas when she said Santa did not bring the gifts.

She took the lie out of Christmas.  The awe is still there; it’s in the truth.

At our Kids Club Christmas parties this week, neither the biblical cartoon nor my own teaching of the birth of Jesus did justice to the AWE of that night.  But something sparked in one young girl when she said,

“If that were true, it would be, like wow!”

Her eyes were dancing with excitement.  My heart soared.

“But it is true and it’s, like WOW!  It’s the greatest story ever told.”

I have a vivid imagination.  Well let’s just say it, I’m a professional daydreamer.  But as hard as I try, using every fiber of my imagination plus all the fantastic special effects I’ve seen in movies; I still can’t come close to describing what happened the night God became a baby on Earth.

 

How does one paint the image of a mighty angel bursting into an earthly scene from the spiritual realm and only one young girl seeing him?

I can’t even attempt to put into words how the Spirit, a person of the Triune God, conceived within Mary’s womb Jesus, God in a babe.  How can our feeble minds comprehend all the majesty, power, and glory of God confined in a babe in the womb?

I smile, wondering what that ultrasound would have looked like the very second God passed from Heaven’s throne, split through earth’s atmosphere, and landed inside a womb.  Awe!

Fast-forward nine months to the birth.  (Of course that requires us to leave out more miracles:  the angel appearing to Zachariah who remained mute for nine months, Elizabeth’s baby leaping for joy in her womb the instant Mary and Elizabeth embraced.  Wow!)  But here we are, the night Earth nearly explodes as heaven invades.

A star is formed.  It was never there before and suddenly at the birth of the Christ child, a star is created to mark the event.  How it appeared I can not explain.  I only know that it was powerful enough to cause the wisest of men to leave their homes and give up their wealth.

Close your eyes and try to see yourself outside the city of Bethlehem in the pitch darkness of night with a blanket of stars above your head.  You’re instantly blinded by the brilliance of an angel whose voice is trumpeting the arrival of your Savior.  Before you can comprehend one angel, the sky is suddenly filled with a host of worshiping angels.  Somehow I believe those shepherds were given a glimpse into the glory of heaven’s worship before The Throne.

Yes, God had come to Earth.  Trying to describe the event is nearly impossible but comprehending why He came, well that’s where the awe is overwhelming.

For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

He came because He loved me.  That whole supernatural event was for me…and you.

How could I ever pollute such majesty with the lie of a fat man in a red suit, riding in a reindeer drawn sleigh, to bring gifts that were bought at the mall?  Blasphemous.

If the Christmas story is true, bow down.  If it isn’t bow out.  Anything in between is dishonest.  Rick Atchley

Next week:  Who is really taking Christ out of Christmas?

He Had to do it

The one and only time I heard Billy Graham in person was June 4, 1993 in Pittsburgh, PA.  I remember the sweet spirit surrounding that stadium.  I remember the scores of people making their way to the altar.  I remember only one thing about the message.

His message was based on one obscure verse, John 4:4.  Dr. Graham read these words, “Now he had to go through Samaria.”  From there, he built his message.

Jesus had to be at that well, at that time, for that woman.

That’s all I remember.

It was enough to impact the rest of my life.  Jesus knew where He had to be and He was there.  I want to live like that.  I want to know where God wants me to be and I want to be there.  That’s where wow things happen.

But in order to be obedient, Jesus had to do a few other things:

  • Had to go through a town that no one else wanted to visit.  Jews would walk miles out of their way to avoid the ‘half-breed’ Samaritans.  Jesus knew walking this route would add more ammunition to His enemies.  He went anyway.
  • Had to get tired.  Think about it.  God wanted Him to be so tired that He would require rest.  Not only that, He had to be obedient to the spiritual call while physically drained.  That’s not what I would call an ideal ministry scenario.
  • Had to sit and wait.  Scripture doesn’t tell us how long He waited but we can suppose it was at the hottest time of the day.  There He sat, risking heatstroke, until His divine appointment arrived.
  • Had to get rid of his friends and do this alone.  I’ve often wondered why Jesus sent His disciples away.  Food is John’s reasoning.  I’m guessing it might have something to do with them scaring away the desired encounter.  Think about it.  These Jewish men despised Samaritans.  They also were never allowed to speak to a woman in public.  Jesus’ mission was to break all their sacred traditions.  I can only assume their rejections would have created a wall of resistance to the Spirit’s work.
  • Had to have a conversation with a defiled woman and defile Himself even more by drinking from her water jar.
  • Had to say some tough things to her face.  He had to risk alienating the very one He was sent to give witness.
  • Had to reveal himself as the Messiah.  His first revelation with His hometown friends resulted in them trying to kill him.  He didn’t let a possible second rejection stop Him.

It’s easy to say, “I want to be where God wants me, doing what God wants of me.”  It’s harder to live in that reality.  Why? Because God will always ask us to leave our comfort zone, exhaust our own strength, wait patiently on Him alone, and then boldly tell a ‘hard-to-love’ person about the Lord who changed our lives.

Given any one of these obstacles and most believers quit.  I’m tired of being a quitter.

The secret to living like Jesus is in that one little word ‘had’.  Had is past tense of have and the synonyms include:  must, need, obligate, require.   Try saying it this way:

I must know where God wants me to be.

I need to be doing what God wants me to do.

I’m obligated to my Master and Lord.

I’m required to live out His life in me.

Somehow when put that way, I find it easier to endure the hardships