Thursday, June 19, 2014

Deadly Liberation

More than a few times, the Lord's decisions, prohibitions and/or expectations have given me a desire to turn away from Him. Unlike people who can cleverly manipulate Scripture to justify (or even condone) sinful choices, I just can't convince myself to refashion God to suit my own preferences. Nor  can I edit doctrines out of the Bible simply because I dislike them. So when I've  had  difficulties accepting His ways, I've known that I'd either have to chuck Him altogether, or I'd need to humble myself and come back into obedience. I see no middle ground.

Rebellion against the Lord, I must admit, holds a certain appeal to me. Am I the only Christian brave enough, honest enough or maybe stupid enough to say that sometimes I just don't want to follow Jesus? Well, if no other Christian struggles with the desire to walk away from Him with fists clenched in defiance, I'll still confess my times of wanting to do so. If such transparency disappoints people, so be it. I have times that I want life on my terms so badly that I really wouldn't mind liberating myself from God's authority.

My moments of wanting emancipation from the Lord never last very long, nor do they come frequently. Even when those feelings reach their most powerful point, I know that I can't live without Him. My mind automatically defaults to an incident recorded in the Gospel of John  after Jesus had preached a particularly offensive  message:

66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." ~~John  6:66-69 (ESV)

Jesus is the Truth, and apart from Him eternity offers only the damnation of hell. I came to Him, all those years ago, fully aware that I needed salvation....salvation that He alone could give because He paid for my sin by shedding His blood on the  cross. If I spurn His sacrifice, just so I can play around with sinful pleasures during my brief stay on earth, I'd forfeit both eternity with Him and the joy of knowing Him now.

And sin, though momentarily enjoyable, would never satisfy me. Jesus does. He doesn't satisfy my sinful desires, true enough, but He abundantly satisfies my longing for Him. I know my clumsy words fail to explain the wonders of a proper relationship with Him, but I can say that I've missed Him terribly during those times of attempted rebellion. Trying to leave Him only showed me how much He means to me, and how hollow and miserable life is without Him.

The Lord refuses to release me from His loving hand, faithfully reminding me that He has the words of eternal life. Where would I go if I left Him? Thanks to His grace and power, I'll never experience the answer to that question.

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