Jesus Got Me Thinking

I had an interesting moment with Jesus a few days ago and I can’t quit thinking about it. It followed these three related entries I’d posted right in a row on Twitter:

(1) “I don’t care if it sounds like the opportunity of a lifetime, if they say, ‘But we need your answer right now,’ it probably needs to be NO.” (2)¬†“One of the opportunities I most regret taking was a snap decision over the offerer’s insistence on an answer NOW. No time for prayer? Uh, NO.” (3)¬†“Gah. If I can save you the pain in the neck that decision has continued to be to me for a solid 10 years, please let me.”

I meant every word. Still do. ¬†Good grief, it’s been a pain. ¬†A lot of people hopped on board in response to those tweets and my misery found some good company and, in turn, a few good laughs. Man, I love when that happens.

A few hours later while I was on a walk in the woods, a deep and specific conviction of the Holy Spirit welled up in me unexpectedly. It was a conviction of gratitude: the leading of the Holy Spirit for me to, right then and there and henceforth, give no small thanks to God over the very situation that had been such a pain. If I had to wrap English language around a conviction of the Holy Spirit, it would go something like this:

“You really ought to thank Me for that.”

Sometimes the conviction of the Holy Spirit comes so unexpectedly in an area that we are taken aback. I know. I know. You’re wanting to quote me 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I get it. And I know it by heart. But we can read those words, quote those words and believe those words to be absolute truth, absolutely appropriate and even restorative and yet have a treacherously hard time applying them to situations that have nearly perforated our stomach lining. Circumstances get infinitely harder to be grateful within than the one I’m talking about in this article. Still, call me superficial but I can’t say I’ve thrown my back out with cartwheels for a thorn in the flesh that got stuck in my skull from diving headlong into an instant yes. It’s been a gift that just keeps on giving.

But that’s just it. I think God wanted me to stand there in those piney woods¬†and consider what a gift that situation had been to me. Of course, for the sake of humility. Nothing’s wasted if it works humility¬†because nothing will get us into deeper¬†trouble or set us up for a steeper fall than pride. We have no greater obstacle to our divine callings than our egos. But that pain in the neck also offered me a second gift. It taught me a lesson I’m pretty sure I won’t soon¬†forget.¬†It seeded¬†a hyper-phobia of snap decisions made under human pressures. These days I can’t shake the word “no” out of the word “now” to save my life.

Pain is the superglue that makes a lesson stick. That’s nothing new. The most basic one-word synonym for “disciple” is “learner.” Maybe you need to know today what I’ve needed to know so many days: learning, for a follower of Christ, is still a mark of discipleship even if you learned some lessons the hard way.

Or the excruciating way.

Or the embarrassing way.

Or the exasperating way.

Or the explosive, expensive or excessively long way.

If it attached you to the Teacher,¬†if it marked you with Him and caused you at all to imitate Him,¬†that’s the beating heart of discipleship.

Here’s the thing. The lesson wasn’t to try hard to dodge controversy. That’s not character. That’s cowardice. Those early followers of Jesus were nothing if not controversial and not just to the world but also to the religious establishment. The lesson was the idiocy of doing anything like that without taking the time to seek the will of God. It sure seemed like something that would be His will. And the folks needed an answer right then. And goodness knows everybody around me was all excited about it.

“Therefore do not be foolish,” Ephesians 5:17 says, “but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Because that’s the game changer. If we know – I do mean KNOW – we are doing the will of God, if the step we are taking is – to the best of our prayerful understanding – in obedience to Christ, the fallout falls into His very capable lap. We walk¬†in the shadow of the Almighty wherever Jesus leads us. We may still get hit. We may still be hated. For Christ’s sake, we could lose our earthly lives. Jesus did the will of His Father from first breath to last and was hit, hated and crucified. But He was resolute. He knew nothing He could lose would compare to what He’d gain. What we’d all gain. Nothing could stop Him. No demon. No disciple. No dread of death.

There is a key word in this segment of Matthew 16 that stands out to me on the page every time I read it:

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Of course, there’s always somebody close by who will try to talk you out of doing God’s will and with good reasoning and excellent rationale.

22¬†And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, ‚ÄúFar be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.‚ÄĚ 23¬†But he turned and said to Peter, ‚ÄúGet behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.‚ÄĚ

 

The “learner” part of the disciple Peter might have suffered a few developmental delays but the lesson took. Here’s one way we know. From Acts 4…

17¬†But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us (rulers, elders, scribes) warn them (Peter and¬†John)¬†to speak no more to anyone in this name.‚ÄĚ 18¬†So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19¬†But Peter and John answered them, ‚ÄúWhether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20¬†for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.‚ÄĚ

We’re not Jesus. Ours is¬†finite understanding. We can’t always discern the exact will of God in every detail of a drastic decision. We’re not Peter, who, in his own words was an eyewitness of Christ’s majesty and heard “the voice” of “the Majestic Glory.” ¬†(2 Peter 1:16-17) But we are Christ’s followers now, called to pore over the Scriptures, to seek the beautiful face of God and the saving will of God. And, then, to the best of our understanding and with the fullness of our God-given ability, to DO the will of God.

Gravity holds the soles of our feet to a spinning blue globe. Because all authority has been given to Christ, we can exercise the audacity¬†¬†to “go therefore into all nations.” With the wide waistline of this globe, why would Jesus¬†send us to the same places with the same gifts to do the same things the same way? Part of¬†His perfection is His pure practicality.¬†He calls this one there, that one here, this one to do that, that one to do this.¬†Mind you, audacity out from under authority is lunacy. But Jesus sent the promised Holy Spirit for the purpose of leading us from the inside out. He makes His will known if we’ll seek Him with all our hearts.

I’m going to be straight with you here after thirty years of ministry and a heap of observation. If you make your secret goal to sidestep controversy and to keep everybody liking you and nobody misunderstanding you, you’re going to lock yourself into such a jail¬†cell¬†of stale air that you will suffocate every last breath out of your calling. Your soul was made for more than three square inches of breathing space. If you’re trying to avoid a label, good luck with that. Social media has sentenced us to label hell. And, since there’s not much changing that, this is the one label we Jesus-followers can try to avoid: disobedient.

Whatever your calling is, it takes guts. Jesus didn’t call us to follow Him to the chaise lounge. We’ve got a globe to cover. Not a couch.

If you’re a follower of Christ, you’re here on this planet to do one thing: the will of God in the spread of the gospel. So am I. We must take the time to seek how. Then, with some hint of clarity, we must do it. Come what may. Whatever others say.

And there we’ll find protection in the secret place of the Most High. There we’ll have confidence even should it get¬†brutal or controversial. There we’ll have comfort when it hurts. There we’ll have fellowship, entering into Christ’s own experience until we make it safely into His arms. There we’ll have the¬†pleasure of God. And nothing is like it. A lifetime of man’s approval can’t compare with a single moment of God’s.

So, you see, that was the missing factor in that ten-year pain in the neck. That was the frustration. I forfeited the confidence and comfort and companionship that would have come with¬†knowing I’d followed¬†Jesus – the best I knew how – where He wanted me to go.¬†Those things would have carried me. Given me peace. Been worth any criticism. Every inconvenience. Or the thousandth explanation. I know that because they’ve carried me other times. They’re carrying me now into entirely new territories that would have terrified me before.

And they’ll carry you because they’re bound up in the heart of Jesus and He, Himself, carries us. Let’s be terrified of this: of missing Jesus. Of missing His will. Of putting the soles of our feet on a safe tidy path undisturbed by His valiant¬†footprints.

Anyway, I’ve got a new outlook on that old pain in the neck. Maybe it’s not so bad after all. Maybe God used it to save me from a dozen other missteps. In fact, maybe – God help me – just maybe, for the very first time, I’m the least tad thankful for it.

Be brave out there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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195 Responses to “Jesus Got Me Thinking”

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Comments:

  1. 151
    Debbie Johnson says:

    Debbie, Orlando
    Hebrews 12:14-15 (NIV)
    “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”

  2. 152
    Susan Peaslee says:

    Susan Peaslee, Somerville, ME

    Psalm 71:23 “My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing

    unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.” KJV

  3. 153
    Gerry Warkentine says:

    Gerry Warkentine,

    “Christ’s love has the first and last word in everything we do.”
    2 Cortinthians 5:14

  4. 154
    Cindy Stai says:

    Cindy, Lancaster Ohio
    Genesis 1:1 (ESV)
    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

  5. 155
    Charlotte Nix says:

    Charlotte Nix, Jacksonville, Florida. “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 KJ

  6. 156
    Linda Ballard says:

    Linda from Waxahachie, TX wrote: “Incline your ear and come to Me. Hear and your soul shall live; and I will make an ever lasting covenant with you–The sure mercies of David.” Isaiah 55:3 NKJV

  7. 157
    Janeth O'Dell says:

    Janeth O’Dell, Neoga, IL, “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:21 (NIV)

  8. 158
    Lori Ledoux says:

    Beaumont, Texas

    Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. John 14:1 NAB

  9. 159
    Cindi Latson says:

    Cindi, Madison, MS
    “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12. (ESV)

  10. 160
    Sandy Juergens says:

    Sandy, Brookshire, Texas[Col 3:16-17 NASB] 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

  11. 161
    Pamma Rippe says:

    Abingdon, VA
    “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.”
    Philippians 2:3. HCSB

  12. 162
    Letha Miller says:

    Letha Cullman, AL. If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1ESV

  13. 163
    Elizabeth Miller says:

    Elizabeth Miller, Cullman,Alabama.
    Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

  14. 164
    Cindy Dowden says:

    La Grande, Oregon
    Ephesians 6:13 NKJV
    Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

  15. 165
    Lori says:

    Lori, Toledo

    “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:27 (ESV)

  16. 166
    Paula Faulkner says:

    Fort Madison, IA
    “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do
    and does not do it sins.”
    James 4:17 NIV

  17. 167
    MaryJo Thomas says:

    MaryJo ~ Plainfield, IN

    Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

  18. 168
    Stacey says:

    Houston, TX – Rejoice in your confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Romans 12:12 NLT

  19. 169
    Kari Ellis says:

    Kari Ellis, Bloomington, MN: “for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds” 2 Corinthians 10:4 NRSV

  20. 170
    Lori Boone says:

    Lori Boone, Renton WA
    The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

  21. 171
    Vicki saul Des Arc, Arkansas says:

    He who answers before listening that is his folly and his shame.
    Proverbs 18:13 ESV

  22. 172
    Jana Dominguez-Peuker says:

    Jana Troy, KS

    “Listen to my teaching and you will be wise.” Proverbs 8:33

  23. 173
    Deanne A., Des Moines, IA says:

    And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. James 5:15 NIV

  24. 174
    Christy Richardson says:

    Christy, Portageville MO
    “I am the vine;you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”. John 15:5. NIV

  25. 175
    Lisa Jensen says:

    Lisa Jensen, Lyman, WY
    Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)
    Kind words are like honey‚ÄĒ sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

  26. 176
    Deborah Maish says:

    Just reading this today… that was my 59 birthday on September 24th!!! A perfect gift from the LORD. He has always been my teacher, every step of the journey. But this morning to read the wonderful deep truths of being a follower. Thank you again Beth for always sharing your JESUS heart with us. LOVE… GRACE… and JOY for your journey.

  27. 177
    Heather Olsen says:

    Heather Colorado Springs, CO The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. Psalm 103:19 NIV

  28. 178
    SHERRY HAYES says:

    Sherry – Raleigh, NC

    17. He existed before anything else, and He holds
    all creation together.

    Colossians 1:17

  29. 179
    Erome says:

    Circumcision is circumcision of the heart and by the Holy Spirit, not the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people but from God. This verse in Romans (2:29) is what came to mind when you spoke of fearing disobedience to the Father. Jesus said, “…the world must know that I love my Father and do exactly what He has commanded me.” Jn 14:31. Jesus has been pouring this same lesson into me this past month. It’s been intense – had me praying, digging in the Word and crying out to God. My consolation in the chiseling is that God is treating me as His daughter and I am more than glad to know that His discipline is allowing me to partake in God’s holiness and divine nature (Heb 12:4-11; 2 Pet 1:4)

  30. 180
    Rosario Kowalski says:

    Sorry it has taken so long to send you a huge “Thank You” for providing me with a digital pass for the Wichita seminar. I can’t believe how blessed I was to 1. get picked for the free pass 2. particpate in such an amazing Holy Spirit anointed conference, and 3. continue to feel transformed by that teaching and everything else “Beth Moore”! I pray for you often that God will continue to shield you from those things that would distract you from the incredible calling God has placed on your life and that He would continue to use you to advance His Kingdom…, one ordinary, everyday woman (like me) at a time!

    • 180.1
      LPM-KMac says:

      Oh it was our joy to gift it to you, Rosario! Grateful to God for His work in our lives, and so thankful for your prayers. They are truly priceless to us.

  31. 181
    Rosario Kowalski says:

    Verse 17
    For the wages of sin is death, but the FREE gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (ESV)

  32. 182
    Karen Steggerda says:

    1John 4:12
    “If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is brought to perfection in us. Catholic Bible

  33. 183
    Paula Schumacher says:

    Paula, Dalhart, TX
    “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” I Timothy 6:11 NIV

  34. 184
    Tracy Baker says:

    Tracy, Kountze, Texas

    Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV

  35. 185
    Kathryn Anderson says:

    Kathryn Anderson. Jacksonville Florida Colossians 1:9-12

    For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

  36. 186
    Christine says:

    Christine of media,pa. (Niv) “your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus”Phil 2:5

  37. 187
    Liliana Potenza says:

    Lili Potenza, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, “Jesus said, ‚ÄúIf you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” John 9:41

  38. 188
    Miriam Nikkila says:

    Kearney, NE

    Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 NIV

  39. 189
    Cynthia B says:

    Cynthia Barks, Missouri

    having the eyes of your hearts enlightened that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.
    Ephesians 1:18 ESV

  40. 190
    Michelle Odessa TX says:

    In the time of those kings, God will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. Daniel 2:44

  41. 191
    Mary McGowan says:

    Matthew 5:15 New King James Version (NKJV)

    15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

  42. 192
    Liliana Potenza says:

    Lili Potenza, Ponte Vedra Beach, fl, “If anyone causes one of these little ones‚ÄĒthose who believe in me‚ÄĒto stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42 NIV

  43. 193
    Melody says:

    This post has spoken to my heart! I first read it about a month ago but it came to mind recently yesterday and I searched for it and re-read it.
    “You really oughta thank me for that,” is truth being delivered directly to me.
    I continue to replay a scenario of my life, an unpleasant outcome in my mind and reflect on my failings but have really come to understand how much growth resulted from it. I want to thank Him for it and not be bitter when the memory comes to mind. Rather reframe that I NOW seek Him wholeheartedly in situations due to that past experience. Also I am learning to proceed in obedience, with His assurance, even though controversy awaits me. This is so hard! As you see it’s a lesson I am still learning and probably will never master until the day He comes, but prayerfully at least I want to keep growing in it.
    Thank you for the peace that this entry brought to my heart! God Bless your ministry Living Proof, for I have been blessed by it!

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