“Ken, if Plan A doesn’t work, do you have a Plan B?”
“Heck no. All my plans are Numbered.”
Are you frustrated trying to “follow” God? Do you feel that you aren’t trying hard enough? Do you feel that “success” in life is eluding you?
The ways of God are perfect, we don’t have to try too hard.
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt 11:30)
The ways of you are not, you are not the ultimate solution to your problem.
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.” (Prov 14:11-12)
I don’t mean your mundane problems like paying your bills and taxes, or studying for an exam. I’m not even talking about working hard in your job. You should be doing all these things. I’m talking your long-term purpose and direction. I’m talking about the destiny that you can’t control. I’m talking about knowing where to go such that all the things you had been working for and going through has meaning at the end of the day. After reading that verse, do you shudder a little when you hear people say all the time, “trust in your intuition”? Many of things that lead to “grief” appear to be right, or else why would people walk in it? If an enemy wants to poison you, he is not going to be give you a bitter pill to shallow, you’d reject that on first taste. He’s going to mix it in something sweet like candy. How could anything so sweet be bad for me?
But the “way” of God is not a formula either, it’s all about a relationship with Jesus.
In life, we try to solve the equations of our lives. It’s like we are trying to solve 100 equations with 150 variables. There is no perfect solution. There are a range of solutions. All seem permissible, but we have no idea which are better.
Perhaps the reason why continuous satisfaction eludes us is because in real life, the equations are dynamically changing. I believe many of us see glimpses into the future, whether by analysis or intuition. But the tragedy occurs when we feel that the future we see is not quite right. Moreover, what solution that was more perfect in the past is not as perfect when in the future. Things we esteemed in the past were not as important later. They change as your world enlarges (or reduces). Unfortunately, as humans, we cannot grasp this sense of the future dimension because we get too caught up in the present. Sadly, we are creatures that have a touch of God – we have a sense of our past, present and future; but are powerless in our human strength to control the future, and regret mistakes in the past, due to our fallen nature. Hence, we are told to make the most out of the present. But for some people, that advice is cold comfort. Many cannot even enjoy themselves in the present due to big setbacks. Even if one is enjoying the good things of life, there will be a day that we will all end up in the grave anyway. That’s why we are continually in a quiet desperation.
We were meant to be kings, but have lost our crowns. We were meant to be Sons, yet we feel like slaves. We were meant for joy, but have settled for happiness. We were meant for truth, but we settled for comfort; and in the process, we lost both.
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6)
The extent you have walked with Jesus, in Jesus and around Jesus is what leads to transformation and an experience of grace and redemption. This is what we were made for. This is the crown that we lack but have gone about trying to find in the wrong way. It is not “adversaries” that make us better people. It is just that adversaries tend to lead us to knowing Jesus and trusting Him as a Savior.
People have asked me what were the most important realizations I’ve had in my tremendous and tumultuous experience from the Abyss to now – to go from certain death and condemnation to starting strong again. Without going into detail in this post, here it is in 3 points (and its the opposite of me, myself and I):
- Look upon Jesus. Make every effort to see who He really is. Trust me, you’ll never find out everything about Him. If you are bored by this prospect, thinking you already know enough about Jesus. I humbly opine that you have been exposed to bad teaching. Every layer that you peel off, reveals so many more beautiful and transformative dimensions.
- Every new dimension you see changes you and your surroundings – that’s how you know you are seeing the correct Jesus. There have been no instances in the Bible where a person has come face to face with Jesus with an open heart and has not been changed forever.
- As your natural inclinations changes (for instance, many people who were addicted to smoking, drugs and porn simply lose their inclinations), God works with your natural inclinations to get you to where you need to be. A place following with milk and honey and God is glorified in the process.
Let’s meditate on:
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (2 Cor 3:18, NLT)
Many commentators do not add this: at the point where Paul was writing his epistle where/who was Jesus? Jesus was no longer the suffering servant at this point. He was reigning in heaven, seated on the right hand of God, that had completed His work of redemption. The next time He comes back, it will be to judge, not to be judged. As we make efforts to remove the veil to see Him more clearly, we become transformed. We become more and more like Kings and Priests (see my older post here), not a suffering servant. There is nothing wrong becoming more of a servant to your neighbor, but this will come from a position of strength and authority and not of obligation and long-suffering. It’s like the more you spend time with your best friend, the more you become like him in personality. The more you spend time with a King, the more the principalities around you start to respect you too. In the past, there were things that hindered and obstructed you and we struggled to devise plans to get around them in vain. But when the Sabbath rest comes, the path suddenly starts to straighten out (Prov 3:5-6).
Now contrast it to people who tried to make Christianity into a “formula” during the same time period. The Sons of Sceva were itinerant Jewish exorcists who tried to invoke the name of Jesus over evil spirits.
Eventually, one of the evil spirits answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but you, who are you?” Then the man with the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. The attack was so violent that they ran out of the house, naked and wounded. (Acts 19:15-16)
Remember. Jesus is a Person. Don’t make Jesus a formula to be used. Don’t make Jesus an “it” – as if He is a tool in your batman utility belt. You are the “tool”, not Him.
Jesus works. “It” never works.
4 thoughts on ““It” never works – Jesus works.”
Great blog as usual, Ken. Thks for the beautiful article.
It’s amazing that through it all our Lord allows us to lean on Him to become more than what we thought we were.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Ken. They bring comfort to the comfortless.
Thanks Michael, for sharing your insights and encouragement. I like how you put it – ‘more than what we thought we were’.