Thursday, December 8, 2011

“Drawing my life from Jesus…?”

It seems as though our lives are plagued with this constant roller coaster flow of trials and blessings, heart aches and joys.  We can feel we are standing on top of the world one day only to plummet to the bottom of the ravine the next.  So when things are good or I am experiencing spiritual highs, I tend to want to soak up a large reserve of the spiritual closeness and power to hold in store so I can make it through when the next valley comes.  The thing is, God has been showing me that even in my best times of worship, or my greatest times of Biblical revelation, the blessing the Spirit pours out upon me is only intended to fill me up "in that moment" and is not intended to carry me over for days to come.  Like manna God fed the Israelites with while in the wilderness; it only lasted for a day, so it had to be gathered fresh and new each morning.  Yes, unlike manna Jesus is the bread that if we eat of, we will never hunger again. (John 6:35)  But we must feed on him continually, not just once a week, or once a month at special worship services.  We tend to have a "spiritual retirement mentality."  We want to get our needs met, build up storage, and retire. (Sit back and spiritually relax for a while.)  Like the rich fool in the parable in Luke 12:18-19 who said to himself, “This is what I'll do, I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and goods.  And I'll say to myself, you have plenty of good things laid up for many years.  Take life easy; eat drink and be merry."  It is right and good to rest in God’s grace and goodness, and we need times of spiritual rest and rejuvenation; but we are never to retire from our spiritual fervor or stop eating the bread of life, even for a short season.

We see the same idea found in John 4 where Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at the well.  In the course of the conversation, Jesus tells her, “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.”   Her reply to him was, "Give me this water so I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."   Jesus truly is the “spring of living water” that wells up within to bring eternal life so that we will never thirst again.  But Jesus did not tell this woman that she would not have to draw from that spring of water.  He just said it would not be necessary for her to ever be thirsty again.  Although Jesus offered her the gift of eternal life, she, like us, would still need to draw life from Jesus, the source of life, every moment of every day.  Not just once in awhile, or at a special meeting, or even once a day during private devotion time.  We must continually draw our life from him, moment-to-moment.  

In John Eldridge's new book, “Beautiful Outlaw” he makes the following statement. "Jesus has no intention of letting you become whole apart from his moment-to-moment presence and life within you."  Go back and read that statement two or three more times and let it soak in....  Jesus has no intention to let us find healing or fulfillment from any other source besides himself.   We must draw our life from him, and him alone, moment-to-moment.  The question then that is purposed before our hearts is this, “Am I truly drawing my life from Jesus and Him alone, or am I drawing life from some other source other than Him?  Am I attempting to find fulfillment, security, joy, or healing from places other than Jesus?” 

The gospels recount the story of a young man that is often dubbed the “rich young ruler,” who is doing just that.  He comes running up to Jesus, kneels before him and asks, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  To which Jesus replies, “You know the commandments: Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor you father and mother.”  The young man confident in his religious service replies, “Teacher, all these I have kept since I was a boy.”  Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said, “Go and sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven.  Then come and follow me.”  At that the man’s face fell.  He went away sad because he had great wealth. (Mark 10:17-21)  Jesus didn’t tell this young man to sell his belongings because there was something wrong or evil about having money or being wealthy.  Nor did Jesus ask him to give his money to the poor because that is the only “Godly” use of money.  Jesus requirement for this young man to sell all that he had and give it away, was to “expose” his soul's “true” source of life and security.   The problem this young man had, and the thing he lacked, was not in his actions, but was in his heart.  This young entrepreneur was drawing his life from his wealth and the social position it afforded him.  He was also no doubt drawing his security and his joy from them as well.  He went away sad because if this man were to do as Jesus had asked, he would be giving up his source of life, and that was something he obviously was not yet prepared to do.  His religion had always caused him to live a good life, but to solely draw his life from Jesus, and abandon all other sources of life to go and follow Jesus, was just too much.

What about us?  Are we drawing our life from our possession or social standing?  Are we drawing our life from our careers or even our benevolence?   Is our security and joy tied to money, whether we have any or not.  Is our esteem based in our intellect, or the approval of man?

A loved one of mine was struggling with finding time amongst the hecticness of life to draw from Jesus as she felt she should.  She understood the importance of it and her heart truly desires to do so, but didn’t feel like she was able to find the time.  I have good news for her, and for you.  If we have truly been born again and thus have “the spring of water that well up to eternal life” within us; then drawing our life from Jesus is not as complicated as we might think, or as mystical as “religion” would make it.  Yes, just as Jesus told the aforementioned “rich young ruler,” we must turn our trust away from the earthly things, and turn our trust toward Jesus.  But having done that, we have the “spring of life” within us and can draw from that life at any moment of our day, no matter what we are doing.  --- When you're fixing your car or mowing your lawn, speak to him - "Jesus, I draw my life and my joy from you."  --- When you are preparing dinner or washing the dishes, whisper to him - "Jesus, I draw my life and my healing from you."  --- When you are arguing with your spouse or correcting your children, cry out to him - "Jesus, I draw my life and my wisdom from you." 

Drawing our life from Jesus is not a posture or a work; it does not need to be done at a special building or at a special time.  It is an attitude of the heart, mind, and soul.  It is total dependence upon Jesus for every breath, ever need, every longing.  So what are you waiting for?  Draw from Him!  Cry out to Him!  He has been waiting for you!

"Jesus,  I abandon all I have ever trusted in before!  Jesus, I now draw my life from you… and you alone!"

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