I’ve been going through some times of testing. The following is a lesson my mentor, Jerry, has been encouraging and reminding me of.
I have been thinking about what comes out of me in those unguarded moments when things surprise, jar, disrupt, disappointment me. Thoughts that enter my head, words that come out of my mouth; attitudes, anger, judgments, complaining, name calling, gossip. It is easy to meander and mutter through the day unaware of how damaging this is to my life and its effect on those around me.
Obviously, there are various sins in this mix.
Imagine Jesus coming home from a long day in His carpenter’s shop, and He’s muttering out loud, “I’m sick of my team. They are slack. They come late, leave early. And all they do is complain. And the mayor, I do all this work for the mayor and he never pays his bills on time. What a pain. When do I get a break? And then there all these new taxes. How can I ever make ends meet!”
Of course, you can’t imagine Jesus talking like this, and He doesn’t want you and me talking like this either.
The angel told Joseph, “You shall call His name, Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). He not only saves us from sin; He wants to save us from doing it!
In Matthew 22, we read how both the Pharisees and Sadducees spent days, maybe weeks, thinking up questions to entrap Jesus. So does Jesus panic? Not for a second. In all His unguarded moments, Jesus never sinned. His suffering had the goal of setting you and me free from the habits that drain and damage our lives. I think it takes a long time to realize that what makes life sad, painful, miserable is sin. Jesus has not only come to take away condemnation; He also wants to retrain us to live with Him in freedom.
Jesus invites us to bring our unguarded words and attitudes to Him for His cleansing. Any bitterness. Resentment. Complaining. Judging. Jesus said to me, “I give you My joy, My peace, My righteousness, My relationship with Father, My faith.”
Jesus invites us to come to Him for His blood to wash away the hurt of our sins and to receive His love and blessings. Life is not about pursuing our passions but pursuing His sacrifices. Too many of us are looking for a purpose in life, but God did not create us to fulfill a purpose He created us to have a relationship—with Him.
One of the tools Jerry uses for evaluating how I am doing when taking one of God’s tests is to ask myself, “If I walk in the Light as He is in the Light, I have real fellowship with all those around me, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanse me from my sins” (1 John 1:7).
Testings, trials, are a way God build us up; there a pathway to discovering the passions of Jesus.
If I am critical or avoiding certain people, what does that say about my love, my walking in the Light? Because He loves me; He corrects me many times a day; and I always feel His help as love.
I hope you are experiencing His love in changing you.
PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for other 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.