Monday, March 28, 2005

Now for Sami’s Ramblings about Jesus:

I spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at Camp Loucon in Leitchfield, KY spending time alone with the Lord. It was one of those times that was so blessed, but at the same time very eye-opening. This scripture kept coming to mind as I read, meditated and prayed:

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14

It is so easy to walk down a road that destroys us. It is like each little decision we make is one small step in a certain direction. And it is only after we have traveled a fair amount of distance that we realize the cumulative effect of those decisions, that we see the direction our lives are taking. When we make decisions and choices that are life-giving, the result is that our lives are replenished and produce good things. When we make decisions and choices that are life-destroying (no matter how small they seem at the time), the result is that we wake up one day and realize there isn’t a lot of Life left in our lives.

Now there are several directions I can go with this, particularly in speaking to college students who are surrounded by so many temptations. But I want to be completely honest and say that this is something that I struggle with daily. Because anything that takes us away from God’s will for our lives is a destructive choice; anything can rob us of the Abundant Life Jesus wants to give us if it comes before His will for us. And anytime we choose something over God, it is sin. Yes, I am guilty of letting things get in the way of what He wants for me and from me. This weekend was a real wake-up call for me, and it caused me to think long and hard about the choices I am making. I am having to think clearly about what I am saying “yes” to and what I am saying “no” to, and why. And I am having to acknowledge the sin in my life of making decisions that are in direct conflict with God’s will for me because I made them wanting to please someone else or because I wanted to prove my worth.

I want to invite you to take this moment to think clearly about your life: Is it filled with Life? Or is it filled with a kind of claustrophobic weariness, emptiness, and dread? Do you feel you have the Abundant Life Jesus died to give you? If not, why not? What choices have you been making lately and why? Could it be that like me you thought you were making choices to please God when in fact you were making them for other reasons?

So here is the good news. At any moment we can begin to make God choices for ourselves that will put us back on God’s road for our lives. We can have Abundant Life. And Jesus Himself will be there to help us find it. As we DAILY seek His face, we begin to understand what those Life-Giving choices look like. Without this daily time with Him, it is IMPOSSIBLE, no matter our intentions, to figure out which decisions are on His path and which are not. But He is oh so patient with us. He loves us so much. He wants us to have everything He died to give us: peace, joy, abundant life free from guilt and bondage and the power of sin. And it doesn’t matter how many times we fail: Every day He his mercy is new. Everyday He is ready to pick us back up and put us on the right road with Him, helping us to make wise choices to keep us there.

So how are we supposed to know which choices are good and which are bad? Well, if we were all really honest, we could pretty well say what is the truth of our choices. We know what is right and what is wrong. For those of us who have asked Jesus into our lives to be our Lord and Savior, He has given us His Holy Spirit, and the Spirit will prick our consciences with specific direction. It will sound off internal alarms when we make bad choices, and It will give us peace about the good choices. If we are stubborn and keep making bad choices, the Holy Spirit becomes like a sharp rock that hangs out in our tennis shoes; we will not be able to ignore the Spirit’s leading in our minds. And the moment we give in to the Holy Spirit we will have a sense of release and well-being.

There is so much love in Jesus’ heart for you. He loves you so much, and it hurts Him to see you hurting. It breaks His heart when you are suffering and when you feel like you are dying inside, and He wants to help. My prayer for you and for me is that we will have the courage to let Him help us. That we will have the courage to follow His direction. That we will have the strength to say “no” to everything else so that we can say “yes” to the Abundant Life He died to give us.

You are so precious. Thanks for sharing this journey with me.

Jesus loves you and so do I,


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