The girl sets her coffee down. Her Bible down.
A faint voice calls from the distance. Searching.
She opens her Bible. Flipping through to a favorite verse and dwells on it for a bit. Trying to focus.
“Do you hear me?”
Her seat is by the window of the coffee shop. A couple walks by. Holding hands and smiling. The girl’s mind wanders.
“Are you listening?”
It pleads. It beckons.
“Do you see me?”
A girl runs by.
‘Wish I could look like that.’
Her hands slip off the page and her mind slips to her doubts about herself. Her desires to train harder, or look better, or find him…
“Where are your eyes?”
She sits in silence for a while. All the thoughts running through her mind about running… and future… and image… and self-worth… and lies… and condemnation…
“Why are your eyes there? ” The voice calls… wanting…
Ah. She shakes herself and flips her Bible back open. Running to Truth. Frustrated with herself and her wandering mind. ‘Why do I so desire these other things above you, God?
“What are you doing with your life?”
‘I don’t know.’
“Where are you, my child?”
“My child, I WANT you!”
“I WANT you!”
“Why do you not see?”
A voice crying out. A voice pleading that we would hear and listen. And go that way. His way.
Will we listen? Can we even hear Him?
” [The Shepherd] calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:4-5
Can we hear his voice? Who are we following?
Do we see the blood pouring down his brow as His eyes search for ours? As His eyes search to see where ours are- whether we’re looking back at Him – or if we’re in a trance – mesmorized and hypnotized by the “pretty things” in our lives.
Where are our eyes? Where are our hearts?
Jeremiah 5:21 says this to the house of Jacob and Judah:
“Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see. Ears but do not hear. Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence?” Jer 5:21
I believe our generation needs a wake up. A call to rise.
Rise up O brothers and sisters! Rise up O warriors! Jesus is coming back. Will we be ready? Will I be ready?
Will you be ready?
Ready for what?
Ready for Jesus’ return.
Do we understand that? Grasp the gravitiy of that? Grasp the importance of that? I certainly don’t. I want to though.
For we are not called to be living for the moment. We look forward to the returning of the King and have as the first and formeost the drive and passion to love Him. And from that, we live to tell others of this love story and of the Truth that divides joint and marrow – penetrates to dividing soul and spirit.
Jesus is coming back. And either you love and follow Him and will go to dwell with Him or you will be His enemy and forever perish in the pit of hell.
Do we live with that realization? That heart cry for our friends? It’s quite brash. Quite offensive.
But Jesus didn’t say His message was easy to accept. People will be offended. But people will also be saved.
I’m so afraid that we aren’t living for this purpose.
That, sure, we have committed in our hearts to follow Jesus and have recieved salvation, but how are we living?
I know for me, my eyes are so often everywhere else… except on Jesus. I’m so consumed with what I look like. How I want to have the “perfect” image. How I want to portray a good image to those around me. I’m worried about my future. About who my future husband will be. About where my family is at.
I’m consumed with the spirit of this age – the spirit of consumerism and about perfecting my status. Seeing all these ideals of people and things that I should be and that I should look like and then striving for those.
So many of the prophets are talking to the people about how they have forsaken God and built idols. Idols that cannot talk and cannot see and cannot save. They cry out for the people to return to the Lord. To seek His face.
For these idols are not passive. Not only are we consumed with them but they consume us. Twisting our minds so that we can no longer see straight or hear clearly and follow. I don’t want to live in that.
I don’t want to live in that!!!!!!! We were made for so much more!
I don’t want to be so consumed with things on the outside. Things that are surface level and go no deeper than the skin. In my life, these things take prevalence over Jesus so often and are often the things I run to and “worship” before Jesus.
At the One Thing conference over New Years, Francis Chan talked about Revelation 3.
How we “have a reputation of being alive, but… are dead.” Jesus then says “Wake up! Strenghten what remains and is about to die.” Rev 3:1b-2.
We have a reputation of being alive. But what’s really going on? Where are our hearts?
We have this reputation of living for Jesus but are we living for idols too?
In Revelation, Jesus is also speaking to the church of Ephesus. He encourages them for all their hard work and perseverance – for seeking God and not forsaking His name. But then He says: “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.” Rev 2:4
You’ve done all these things and yet you’ve forsaken your first love. Ouch.
I don’t want to do that.
I don’t want to forsake my first love.
I want to know Him. To know Him. To desire Him with everything.
But so often my heat is dead. And distracted.
This is not a condemnation. This is a conviction to rise.
Rise and strengthen what remains.
God is not done with us and doesn’t want us to just settle and live cool, relaxed hipster Christian lives.
He has made us for so much more.
So what do we do?
1) Be real with Jesus. Seek Him and tell Him what’s going on. Confess where you’ve been. Lay down your idols. For me, this is my ideals of the “perfect image.” For being ungrateful for who He’s made me. For putting my agenda first. This is a daily thing. Seek Him. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
Listen for Him. For His heart.
2)Ask Him to help you love Him. We can’t even love Him on our own strength. But He wants to help us love Him. He desires for us to know Him.
3) Get in community where you can encourage one another to pursue the Father. To not give up when it’s hard. Community is so of God and is so crucial. 4) Obey Him. He does not call us to live comfortable live but to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Your mission field is right where you are. I don’t want to be ashamed of the gospel. I don’t want to hold it inside. We don’t put a candle under a basket. We set it out for all to see. We need to ask our Father for boldness. For a passion to tell others about His love.
I love you, my brothers and sisters.
“Let us not become weary in doing good.” Gal 6:9
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning it’s shame and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3