Purpose in The Following (Guest Post)
A Guest Post by Lance Gower
Jesus says ‘follow me’ and we say yes; where is he going? Has he a destination?
Abraham knew he looked for a city whose builder and maker was God. Hebrews 11:10
The frustrating life of a disillusioned Christian
We have all been there at some stage; felt lost in the empty promises of life. The bubble has burst and all your ideas from your youth lie in tatters around you, or maybe you still are living in a bubble?
Truth is always on our side even when that truth is inconvenient. To be disillusioned is to be freed from an illusion, to be awakened to the truth of real life, not fantasy life.
Every day we seem to hear people taking a verse of scripture and claiming it as their own; they make big claims and grandiose statements, about what they believe God will do for them in the future. When I was young I was excited for people, as I listened to their confident belief in what God had lined up for them, and ‘they had a verse to prove it.’ As time went on, I would watch as one after another they grew discouraged, as the assumed promises crumbled to dust before them.
What was going on? On many occasions, the promise they sought, was the promise they wanted, and found a text to prove it was God. Proof-texting has always been and will always be a dangerous game, as often the ‘text is out of context and becomes a pretext.’ We all want to know the will of the Lord but let’s not grab a text and hold it tight; hold God to ransom over our understanding – it may not be his understanding. Let’s read the Bible thoughtfully, asking questions of what we read.
Who is speaking?
Who are they speaking to?
What was the original intent of what was said?
What then does that mean to me?
God is in no Hurry
God still speaks. He is our shepherd, we are his sheep. We all want to know his purpose, we all yearn for our lives to have meaning, to make a difference. The danger then is to jump to conclusions at what that is or could be, how often we have heard the phrase among believers, ‘what is my ministry?’
A preoccupation with a need to do is often accompanied by a seeking after a significant role to play. God is in no hurry, is the truth that I have known for quite some time. He is in no hurry as he seeks to mould a woman or a man into the image of his beloved Son.
Romans 8:29 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
J B Phillips translated this “chose them to bear the family likeness of his Son”. The character of Jesus being formed in you is not a quick fix, but a process. I love the title of Warren Wiersbe’s book ‘In Praise of Plodders’ slow and steady wins the race. The process of sanctification, for that’s what it is, it sometimes feels like being between a hammer and an anvil, but really it is being in the hands of the potter. The answer to our need for significance, is found in his hands, as we submit to his will and his moulding. His word is a lamp unto our feet and a light onto our path Psalm 119:105, he guides our steps, and sometimes we get a glimpse a bit down the road, but it is grace that sometimes stops us seeing what is around the corner.
Will You Follow Him All The Way Home?
Back to the original question Jesus leads us into eternity with him, this life is just the training ground for the life that is to come. The Puritans had a saying “Life is short, death is sure, but eternity is very long,” our preoccupation with comfort in this life is robbing many of internal comfort found in a future hope. Abraham knew the truth he was just passing through looking for the city of God. Calling is important we need to be sure of our calling, Jesus is calling you to follow him home. It may be tomorrow or 40, 50, 60 or 70, year journey home. If you don’t follow him, who will you follow and where will you end up? Maybe you have not decided to follow Jesus, but the question of purpose haunts you. C. S. Lewis describes the feeling well, in his essay “The weight of Glory” he described the feeling like just on the edge of his reason, just out of reach. He says it’s like “the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have not visited.” It was this very yearning that rocked Lewis out of his atheism, to eventually become a believer in Jesus Christ. Jesus says follow me, just as clear today as he did to a band of Galileans 2000 years ago.
Will you follow him all the way home?
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