It is true that to follow the Lord Jesus in humility is not an easy task. Yes, there is meaningful Spiritual Transformation when we follow the Christ into the places that only He would go, to love the people that only He would love. But since we are dealing with hearts stained by sin – including our very own – there is also pain, things do not go as planned, we do not get the desired results.
But this is true, also: He will never disown me. I will always be His adopted son, no matter what. None of my enemies – my sin, the world, Satan – will have the final word.
Because of Who He is and what He has done, I will never be an orphan.
It is my own rebellion, my sin lurking within my own heart that makes me have this false idea that my identity, that my worth and value comes from the circumstances around me, and not from His Beauty. I believe, then, that His fatherly love for me is in direct response to:
- My fame as a preacher
- My success as a parent
- The beauty of my significant other
- My grades / my business / my material possessions
In many ways, I am very much like the Israelites of old, of which the prophet Jeremiah wrote in chapter two of his book,
12 Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
13 for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
But even when I do build those broken cisterns, when I let myself be guided by my idolatry toward what I can do, He is faithful. He never gets tired of pursuing me. And it is more than just a desire of Him, more than just a goodwill toward me. His Beauty is effective, every time. Years after Jeremiah wrote God’s accusation against His people, the prophet Zechariah wrote this,
11 As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
today I declare that I will restore to you double.
Zechariah, Chapter 9
It is not, then, my own performance. It is not the result of my service to others – my circumstances – what dictates the quality of my relationship with God. It’s not the result of my disciple-making efforts that secures His love for me. It is His covenant. It is His blood. It is His generosity (“I will restore to you double.”)
And because of Him, I am now a prisoner of hope, of His hope.
And because of Him, I will always be His child.
I will never be an orphan, no matter what everyone else says about me.
What about you?
What broken cisterns have you being building, lately? How could you live like a prisoner of hope, this week? Share your experience with others, for mutual encouragement and support.
Remember His grace, Follow Him in Humility, Cultivate Constantly, All in Cultural Diversity.