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Actions Speak Loudly

get-attachment-2aspx1Hortensia Gooding

John 5:31-47

Jesus was speaking to people who believed they were living according to God’s will; they were well versed in their sacred texts; they had a high moral code and had intentionally set themselves apart from the dominant culture of their day. That is an identical description of both my chosen comrades and myself. So I wonder, if Jesus came to my church, my ministry meeting, would He say to us,

“So you don’t have the Father’s message within you, because you don’t believe in the person he has sent. You study the Scriptures in detail because you think you have the source of eternal life in them. These Scriptures testify on my behalf. Yet, you don’t want to come to me to get eternal life.” (God’s Word Translation)

That is my concern: Am I one of those finger-pointing, Bible quoting, insecure, superficial church goers who assumes that I can proof text my way into God’s eternal rest for the righteous? Do I speak of God with my lips while my heart is far from God? And while my heart screams no to that horrible prospect, my mind coolly reminds me that the people Jesus rebuked were also absolutely certain of their righteousness.

Jesus also says,

“But I know what kind of people you are. You don’t have any love for God. I have come with the authority my Father has given me, but you don’t accept me. If someone else comes with his own authority, you will accept him. How can you believe when you accept each other’s praise and don’t look for the praise that comes from the only God?”

When these clouds of self-doubt threaten to overcome my mind, I turn to the same Jesus and I read verse 36:

“The tasks that the Father gave me to carry out, these tasks which I perform, testify on my behalf. They prove that the Father has sent me.”

What tasks does God give me over and over in my Bible? I am tempted to write out a list of activities and then strive to achieve them. Instead, I will humble myself and beg God to help me to love God and love my neighbor as myself. One blessing of the Lenten season is that it is a time where we can intentionally realign our definitions of “holy”, “important”, “necessary”, “Christ-like” with the Word of God, instead of the popular opinion of our chosen religious culture.

I will take John 5:36 to heart this Lenten season. What tasks do I perform at home, at work, at church, in my mind, in my speech, in my social circles, in my most private moments? And what do the tasks that I perform testify on my behalf?

Hortensia Gooding



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