Summary: We seem to make the whole "knowing God" thing much harder than God ever did? Life is hard, knowing God is what makes sense out of life.
Spirituality For the Rest of Us
2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Intro: Why should following Jesus Christ be so “hard”?
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone tell me:
“Oh, Pastor Paul, it’s so haaarrrrdddd…”
“Pastor, you don’t understand, it’s haaarrrddd!!!”
“I can’t do that, it’s just too haaarrrrddd!”
Why should being a genuine Jesus Christ follower be hard?
The reality is that being a Christ Follower isn’t the hard part, the hard part is LIFE!
Life is what’s hard. Jesus said it himself, “He causes the sun to rise on good people and on evil people, and he sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong.” (Matthew 5:45,NCV) Sometimes life is great, other times is nothing but… “haaarrrrdddd!!!”
Life is hard, knowing Jesus Christ makes it better! In fact, knowing Jesus Christ, having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the only thing that ultimately makes the life make sense; it’s the only way we are assured of “winning” even with life is “haaarrrdddd!!!”
John 1:16 tells us, “We have all benefited from the rich blessings he [Jesus] brought us-one gracious blessing after another.” (NLT)
Being a Christ Follower isn’t hard – so why do we seem to make it sound so hard?
The basis of being a Christ Follower is pretty simple: “Follow Me” (we saw that last week). Jesus said it this way: “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15).
There it is as simply put as possible: love me…keep my commands. Obey me!
That simple; yet for some of us, probably all of us, that simple description of following Christ sounds like someone telling us how to climb Yosemite’s Half Doom. How do you get to the top of the mountain? Start climbing!
Sounds simple…but it’s so haaarrrddd!!!
Part of the problem is that God made each of us differently and because of that each of us are going to follow Christ differently!
Let me say that again, each of us are going to follow Christ differently. Not one of us in this room this morning are going to have the same walk with Jesus as anyone else in this room or in this world for that matter. We’re each different.
One of our struggles in following Christ is that we tend to get our ideas of follow Christ from each other rather than Jesus Himself.
Near the end of His time on Earth, Jesus was taking a walk with Peter, one of His closest followers. You can read the entire account in the last verses of the Gospel of John in the New Testament. Near the end of Jesus’ walk and talk with Peter, Jesus made this statement:
“I tell you the truth, when you were younger, you tied your own belt and went where you wanted. But when you are old, you will put out your hands and someone else will tie you and take you where you don’t want to go.” (Jesus said this to show how Peter would die to give glory to God.) Then Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me!” (John 21:18-22)
Jesus told Peter that he would die serving God and that it wasn’t necessarily going to be easy, if fact it was going to get haaarrrddd!!!
Peter’s response is much like ours:
Peter turned and saw that the follower Jesus loved was walking behind them…When Peter saw him behind them, he asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” (John 21:20-21)
While Jesus was talking to Peter, Peter turned around and looked at another Christ Follower and wanted to compare his life with the other guy’s walk with God.
Jesus’ answer is very direct: “If I want him to live until I come back, that is not your business. You follow me.” (John 21:22)
“What’s that to you? Mind your own business!”
What’s that to you? Follow me!
God created each of us differently and His plan and our SHAPE is different from anyone else in this world. You are uniquely made for a unique purpose – and God wants it that way.
We make following Christ hard when we assume we have to be just like some other Christ follower.
ANOTHER WAY WE MAKE IT SO HAAARRRDDD!!! IS BY CONFUSING THE TOOLS WITH THE RULES.
Get that point: We confuse the TOOLS with the RULES.
God’s greatest desire for each of us is for us to have a growing, intimate relationship with Him. That relationship will then effect every other relationship we have in this life.
The Bible is our “Rule Book” and our “Tool Book”.
There are some very specific “rules” in the Bible. The Bible is very clear on some things we are to do (how we live) and some things we are to avoid (the sins that can hurt us and others).