Lent is a wonderful time to really examine where we are in our walk with God. Not to condemn ourselves but to help ourselves to be where we could be. Because it is our own loss if we are not enjoying a truly intimate relationship with God. It is our loss if we are not close to Jesus. It is our loss if we are not filled with the Holy Spirit.
On the road someone asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said. Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.” (Luke 9:57-58, MSG)
We might think we are willing to follow Jesus wherever. But when the things get rough we back off. When things are not that glamorous or cool we keep our distance. When things are not what we thought they’d be we let things cool off. But if we truly want to follow Jesus, we need to be ready to let him decide what’s good for us. And usually it does not involve five star hotels or fast-track living.
Jesus said to another, “Follow me.” He said, “Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral.” Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!” (Luke 9:58-60, MSG)
What are your most used excuses? Jesus is calling us to follow him and we eagerly say yes….and then we add “but”. Our “buts” might even be valid excuses in religious circles but when it comes to following Jesus there’s no place for any excuses. Yet we do have them. Lord, have mercy.
Our excuses are not that big necessarily. But all kind of little reasons like why we can’t today read the Bible. Why we can’t do this and give that. We are not asked to follow Jesus as long as it feels right or it suits our plans. We are invited to follow Jesus no matter what. And usually all out excuses are about things of this world, about things that will not matter one bit in the eternity. Our business is life, not death. Our business is everything that will last forever. Everything else is rubbish. Why do we then use them as excuses to not do God’s will? Lord, have mercy.
Then another said, “I’m ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home.” Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.” (Luke 9:60-62, MSG)
We can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. There’s not guarantee there will be a tomorrow. We can’t put following Christ off for later. This is the moment we can meet him. This is the day we can be restored. This is the twinkle we are blessed in the Lord.
God’s message is urgent. Everyone needs to here that Jesus saves. Everyone needs to experience the freedom in Christ. Because there is nothing better than to know the love of God, receive the grace of Christ and live in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Forgive us all our excuses to not follow you more closely.
Take our excuses away and
give us courage to readily follow you.
Show us what it means to be a true follower of Christ.
Enable us to seize the day and
announce the Kingdom of God in such ways
that everyone could know the love of God,
receive the grace of Christ and
live in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
In Jesus’ name,
Here are some self-examination questions for you this Lenten season:
What kind of excuses do you use to say no to the Lord?
How can you make all your business about Life?
How can even more readily follow Jesus in your everyday life?
Are you as close to Jesus as possible?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you follow Christ even more closely!