“If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you fall down, how will you do in the jungle of the Jordan?” Jeremiah 12:5 (RSV)
Some scripture verses challenge me to aim higher and Jeremiah 12:5 certainly does.
With enough training and hard work I could run in races against humans and at least cross the finish line. But to race on foot against horses? Nope. Impossible. A horse’s stamina and speed is so beyond my natural abilities I’d give up in a few yards. Racing on foot successfully against horses could only happen supernaturally. But that’s what our Savior calls us to do.
In the first verse of Jeremiah 12, the prophet asks His Maker a question that bothers him:
You are always righteous, Lord, when I bring a case before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all the faithless live at ease? (NIV)
The Almighty’s answer is unexpected, as He deals with His prophet’s troubled heart. Jeremiah is challenged to deepen into a far greater believer, one who can “compete with horses.” Jeremiah saw the evil in his society and it offended him. But he had not faced the tougher stress of physical persecution yet.
I can accomplish some good deeds in this life. But what I can build through my own efforts is a pale ghost compared to what God wants to do supernaturally through me. I need to give Him the reins and let Him lead me in directions of His choosing. The Holy Spirit is stirring up a “holy dissatisfaction” in my heart. Recently, an author reminded me the Christian life is supposed to be one of sacrifice.
I don’t “do” sacrifice. Most people would say I’m a good Christian, but I suspect I’ll be ashamed standing before Christ on judgement day. I’m generous and serve others, but it’s always on my own terms. My time and money is given freely, but in very controlled quantities.
I love warm food, soft beds, a reliable income and daily entertainment. The idea of sacrificing all to follow Jesus? Traveling down a rougher road? Enduring pain, heartbreak, imprisonment and the loss of all my earthly comforts to go where He leads me? Right now, that’s foreign to my present lifestyle
Personal sacrifice shouldn’t be a new idea to me, because it’s a very old one. But if my Christianity costs me nothing, am I truly following Jesus? The one who was called “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief?” (Isa 53:3 ASV)
Doesn’t feel like it.
At this moment, I love me first, Jesus second and other people third. My heart’s affections are all scrambled. This dog image says it all. The brown dog avoids being bitten by shying away from his more aggressive companion. But in any contest where the outcome is critical, the brown dog has already lost.
One of my more recent prayers has been to ask Jesus for courage. To help me write truthfully on whatever topic the Holy Spirit places on my heart. We live in a vicious cyber-culture, intimating and cruel. Part of me wants to keep flying “under the radar.”
The other part wants to please my Lord. To get out of the boat and walk toward Him on stormy seas. To start leaping off cliffs and see where I land. To have the Holy Spirit stretch my life like a rubber band and do the impossible with it.
I need a change of heart. To be delivered from spiritual laziness and my fear of man. Actually I think I need surgery. Fortunately, I know the name of the greatest “heart surgeon” ever. He’s worked on me before.
This year I’m praying for my divine heart surgeon to do four things:
1. That I would fall more deeply in love with the Lord.
2. That I would be set free of my fear of what people might say or think about me. A Christian who fears God alone is pretty unstoppable—and much more loving.
3. That I would hear His voice much more clearly
4. That my heart would delight to obey.
Only when God works through us can we bring forth amazing, life-changing. eternal fruit. So what about you? What’s the Holy Spirit stirring up in your heart?
The image of the runner and the coach is from Morguefile.com.
All other images are from Pixabay.com..
The book which led to this post is “The Final Quest” by Rick Joyner. I’m not an end-times junkie, but this book stirred me up. The author spent most of the book being convicted of sin and as the reader I was convicted too.