Throughout The Journey sermon series I have been wondering what I could possibly share concerning the journey that I am on with Christ. Oftentimes when I meet other followers of Christ, I wonder what their “ah-ha” moment was that truly put them on course to a deeper relationship with The Lord. What is the moment that made their journey to date, stand out? For me it is as plain as my husband’s eating habits (sorry, Dave). And it all centers around my life verse:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
We all begin a journey with Jesus once we accept His ultimate gift of salvation. For some, it comes after a time of trial and tribulation. It could have been at the lowest point of their lives where Christ intervened and saved them literally and figuratively. For others, it might have been at a young age where they felt the internal tugging of a loving Savior beckoning them to accept Him. That was much the story for me. I grew up in a traditional Baptist church. I knew the stories, attended the services and accepted The Lord at the age of 9. My journey began, but it didn’t really resonate with me the importance of it.
Fast forward about seventeen or eighteen years when my “ah-ha” moment truly ignited. Like most people, I pretty much felt I had everything about life and how it should be for me figured out. It was going to be A, B and C exactly and there was nothing to alter it. I didn’t take into account whatsoever the possibility of things not being the way I imagined. As humans, we want what we want when we want it. No ifs, ands or buts. But as believers of Christ, children of the Most High King, we are assured that His plans for our lives are far greater than anything we planned before. The moment we accept His precious gift that He left on the cross we are saying, “Not my will, but Yours.” We are putting our trust in His plans.
But it isn’t always easy. We are prone to want to know results and outcomes before we give them a chance to happen. We get comfortable with our jobs, homes and lives. Change becomes too hard. Sometimes, change becomes downright unwanted. We turn from God or ignore Him thinking there is no way He can truly mean for us to go down a path we didn’t choose. It could be something simpler like leaving an extra ten dollar bill in the offering bucket or giving up free time on the couch to attend a Bible study. Or it could be more difficult like changing jobs, moving to a different city or kicking an old habit that is hindering us from fully serving God. Whatever God might be calling us to do He just wants to know one thing…will you trust Me?
Something that helped me when Christ tried to make me realize that He had better plans for my life than I did was knowing that He too struggled with the path God the Father mapped out for Him. Jesus came to Earth to give us eternal life with Him. That was His most precious gift to us. He knew what He would have to do in order for that eternity to happen. But, He also knew it would be painful. He knew it would be uncomfortable. He knew people would criticize, mock and hurt Him. He even asked God the Father if it could be taken from Him. But in the end He knew, without a doubt, that the path He was on was far better than any other. He knew it was best, that it was right:
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
As you see, it says He went away a second time. Christ prayed this same prayer to God three times. Not once, not twice, but three different times. A few verses earlier He tells His disciples that, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (Matt 26:38) He knew what was about to happen to Him. He knew what He must do. But He admitted to being overwhelmed with sorrow. He admitted to being human.
Christ is far greater than we are, but even He had a hard time with the path He was chosen to travel. Yet He did it anyway and, more importantly, He overcame. He conquered death. He conquered sin. And He now sits next to God the Father in Heaven preparing a place for those who follow Him, for us, to one day dwell with Him. Wow…what a testimony. If Jesus Christ can go on a journey of unwarranted torture, suffering and death why can’t we trust God to walk the path He chooses? That extra money and Bible study is looking a little easier now, isn’t it?
For me and my walk, I had to finally give up something I wanted so badly to happen on its own. I had to stop trying to make things work my way so that He could step in and make things work the right way. God plucked me off the path I was so determined to stay on when I finally did and gently placed me on the right one. It was full of unknowns, but I trusted Him to lead the way. He did not lead me wrong. He showed me that He knew the plans He had for me. He was giving me hope. He wouldn’t harm me. And most importantly He stayed beside me along the entire way.
My prayer for each of you during this series is that you will evaluate your own personal journey with Christ more thoroughly. Are you allowing Him to walk alongside you on the path He knows is best for you? Or are you still clinging to the path you created to travel? What is holding you to that path? Is it familiarity? Is it fear of the unknown? As I’ve told the students of Awaken before, you never know what amazing things God has in store for you if you just let go and let Him. He has plans for you. He doesn’t want you to hurt. He wants you to trust what He knows is best.
As you focus your thoughts on Me, be aware that I am fully attentive to you. I see you with a steady eye, because My attention span is infinite. I know and understand you completely. My thoughts embrace you in everlasting love. I also know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Give yourself fully to this adventure with Me…
– Jesus Calling Devotional