by Jenny Harrison
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
Matthew 16:24 (NIV)
I love my church! More specifically, I love the people in my church because in reality the people are the church. My particular church family is not large in numbers, but our small town assembly makes up for size with their huge hearts, generosity, and love for The Lord.
Recently, one of my precious brothers in Christ led the opening prayer before our service. In that prayer, he encouraged us not to be fans but followers of Christ. Weeks later his words still resonate within my heart. Several times a day I have asked myself, “Do my actions and attitude cry out fan or follower?”
As I write this post, snuggled in a blanket on my living room couch, I find myself checking the score of a particular college football game. One of the teams has been an underdog for years but has amazingly moved to the top. Today they are playing in a New Year’s Bowl game.
They have been hailed the best of the best, but now they are straggling behind and have been for most of the game. I can only imagine the disparaging post-game comments. Fans can be a fickle bunch! They can love you one minute and disregard you the next.
Unfortunately, I must confess, that on occasion, I am that fickle fan concerning my relationship with my Savior.
This is not my intention. I know how much I love my Lord, but just the other day when feeling overwhelmed, I cried out to God in frustration, questioning His plan for my life. As soon as it happened, I felt convicted and as fair-weathered as the previously mentioned sports fans.
It’s easy to pick up our cross and follow Jesus when times are good or when we are surrounded by like-minded Christians. Or is it? Read Thomas’ response when his fellow disciples reported seeing Jesus:
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:24-29 (NIV)
Some would say that by admitting our human frailties that I am “making excuses” thus justifying our fleshly and sinful nature.
I beg to differ. It is my humble opinion that by recognizing our human fallacies rather than choosing to ignore them, we are better equipped to clothe ourselves in the armor of Christ and take up His cross, thus allowing us to be true followers.
Lord, You know my heart and my desire to follow you. But even in my best efforts I become distracted by the noise and opinions of the world. It is then, I become an unpredictable and doubting child. Father God please convict my heart when I begin to wander from you. I am weak my Lord. I need you each day. Each hour. Each minute. Each second. In Your most Heavenly name I pray. Amen.
Copyright © 2014, Jenny Harrison, all rights reserved, Breath of Life Women’s Ministries. Image taken from Pinterest. Photography courtesy of Michelle Welch. All rights reserved. Scripture from The Holy Bible, New International Version and the Message.