There is one thing that I have realized is a guarantee with my walk with God, and that thing is “trouble”. As long as I am in this world I will constantly be faced with trouble. That is the primary reason why we are all here on this earth. We go through trouble in various contexts, most times not even realizing that trouble is what we are faced with.
Christ is a tough person to live up to. His high standards and expectations don’t make him the most likeable of characters. He expects so much of us, yet we find it hard to put our hands on the tangibility of what we get back in return.
In the process of understanding the message of Christ I’ve had to narrow things down to make them as real in my life as possible. Back home in schools we were taught to cram, so that we could reproduce exactly what we had seen in the textbook. In university though, I realized the importance of “understanding” over cramming. It allows me to present things to myself in my own words, ensuring that I can truly relate with what I hear.
I see the meaning of life as a very simple subject. There’s a guy that created the world. Land, water, and the rest of the stuff we call nature; including man. Boredom comes to mind right now doesn’t it? What on earth could our ancestors have done to while away time?
As time went on we found a few things to do with our time. This bland uninteresting world was made just a little bit more attractive. I mean, what would life be like without the internet, television, and God knows we couldn’t live without mobile phones.
The meaning of life was lost. A new meaning was defined involving going to school, getting a degree, a job and starting a family. Everyone has a desire to be rich, famous or to obtain a sense of achievement in whatever form it might be.
All of a sudden we discovered that we like it here. We cry when people die, and we celebrate birthdays with the happiness that comes with knowing we have been on this earth for 1 more year. O Joy!
We have entirely missed our purpose here. We were only supposed to be passing through but we made this place a home. We made it so attractive that if God could grant us one wish, it would be to live forever in comfort and happiness, “here on earth”.
So we go back in time in order to understand the present. God sends his son to earth, and Jesus rejects everything on earth. He proves to God that he has absolutely no interest in the things of the world. Rather than love this life and want to be here forever, he hated it and couldn’t wait to go back to his father.
He brought the kingdom of God to earth by obeying the will of his Father. He did it as a man; a human being born of flesh and blood. Dealing with the exact same things that every other person has to deal with.
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
The love that Jesus had for God also had to be tested, that is why he was led by “the spirit”. He was tested and he overcame the testing not as God; but as a man. If he was God there would be no need for the Holy Spirit to lead him to be tested by the devil. God needed to see that Jesus would be offered the whole world……yet still choose “him”.
53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?
54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
Jesus could have saved his life; but he chose not to. He understood that saving his life would mean that he had rejected God. His death would mean that he is going back to the father; staying alive would mean that he would be here on earth. That is why it is so strange that “we” don’t want to die, yet we all want to go to heaven.
35 FOR WHOEVER WANTS TO SAVE HIS LIFE WILL LOSE IT, BUT WHOEVER LOSES HIS LIFE FOR ME AND FOR THE GOSPEL WILL SAVE IT.
We tell God that we love the world more than him every day. We save our lives in so many ways; sometimes it’s as simple as refusing to apologize after an argument just to “save face”. We don’t understand that the reason why we are here is to separate those who love God and those who don’t, and the love for God cannot be separated from obedience to his will.
We are like children placed in a candy store and all left with the instruction: “Don’t touch any of the sweets, and I’ll give you something much better if you do what I say”. Like most kids this seems like an empty promise; what if we don’t like the gift that comes with being obedient? We would rather take the risk of enjoying what we can now and suffering the consequences afterwards.
It’s a perfect plan if you think about it. God could easily have made us dolls and programmed us all to serve him. Instead he gave us all a will, and he allowed us to make our “dollhouse” into a 5 star hotel. Our advances in technology and enteratainment have not made life easier, quite the contrary, they have made the things in this life a lot harder to let go of.
That is why Jesus says that heaven is for the poor. Because a poor man is not likely to have anything in this world to hold him back from the “promise” of something better. Nothing to lose and all to gain. But the moment we have something to lose; there is no way we can claim to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, body and mind. Because as soon as he tells you to let go of your mobile phone; you will tell him that you can’t live your life without it.
Jesus did it. He came to show that it is possible for a human being to not love the world. He came to this world to prove to God that this world could be overcome; and he taught everyone the path that they needed to follow in order to overcome it.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. IN THIS WORLD YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In this world we will have trouble. We will have trouble because everything around us is holding us back from achieving the most important goal of our lives.
But don’t worry about it. Jesus has overcome the world and that is what makes him so important.
All he came to prove is that if he can do it …….we can do it too.