The Walk, Week 3 Day 5: Two things that we can do that will help us as we follow Jesus.

Two things that we can do that will help us as we follow Jesus.

1. Ask Jesus to reveal what’s truly in your heart. That’s what Jesus did for the people in this story. They were going along following him in some sense, part of the crowd, but he stopped them and told them what was really going on in their hearts when he said: “You are following me because you ate the bread and had your fill.” They probably hadn’t thought if it that way. They were just going along. He told them what was really going on in their hearts. This is one of the things about Jesus that is so unique. He isn’t just after your outward behavior. You can be in the crowd and looking passionate about Jesus. Your outward behavior can trick everyone else. But you can’t trick Jesus. He wants your heart. So why don’t you go to Christ and ask him to show you what’s going on in your heart.

Some people never do this. Some people rarely do this. Some people resist and avoid or just never get around to doing this. So they listen to sermons and even make commitments and come along with the crowd for a while but don’t really understand what is going on in their hearts. The result is they end up being constantly dragged down and tempted by hungers that go unnamed and unchallenged and therefore live in the shadows under the surface of their lives. Those things need to be brought up into the light so you can see what you are dealing with, confess your sins and surrender to Christ.

Ask Christ to reveal your heart. Make time, to set aside time to pray, to be still, or maybe to walk and reflect and listen. What are the things that you say to your self? What are the messages that play in your mind? What does all that reveal about your relationship to Christ and where you are trying to fill the hungers of your heart?

2. Tell Jesus you are choosing him and believing in him as the bread of life. I love the way the story ends. Jesus, as he does with Peter several times, pushes his followers to choose and to actually speak and declare their love for and faith in him. Look at verse 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” Over and over in life Jesus has to ask us this question. It’s a question that doesn’t allow us to just drift along. It requires a decision, a choice of faith. And it requires a definite answer from us.

For each of us this should be a constant part of our conversation with Christ as we practice his presence. For all of us this should be a daily part of our Bible reading and prayer. For many of you it could be very powerful to set aside an extended time for prayer and reflection in which you ask Jesus to reveal what’s truly in your heart and then tell Him you are choosing him and believing in him as the bread of life.

It’s the question he is asking you: Understanding the hungers of your heart and knowing that Jesus claims to be the bread of life, will you choose to believe in him and follow him.

Tim Keller gives the following examples that can help us think about what it means to deal with the issues of discipleship in light of believing in Jesus as the bread of life.

If you struggle with temptation, Rejoice in the gospel until you see its beauty. How are these temptations being caused by an inordinate hope for some-one or some-thing to give me the comfort and consolation that only Jesus can really give me? How does Christ give me so much more fully and graciously and suitably the very things I am looking for elsewhere? Rejoice and think of what he has done and what he has given you. Pray and say: “Lord, only in your presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forever more (Psalm 16:11) yet here am I trying to find comfort in something else. Why rake in a mud puddle when you have set a table for me (Psalm 23:5) filled with your love, peace, joy? This thing I am tempted by is just a pleasure that will wear off so soon–it is a sham and cheat, while your pleasure, though it may start small will grow on and on forever (Prov.4:18). Remove my idols of pleasure, which never can give me the pleasure I need.”

If you struggle with anxiety, Rejoice in the gospel until you are humbled enough (to see you don’t know best) or valued enough (to see that he could not forget you. Ask yourself: How are these anxieties being caused by an inordinate hope for some-one or some-thing to give me the control over my life and environment only Jesus can really give me? How does Christ give me so much more fully and graciously and suitably the very things I am looking for elsewhere? Rejoice and think of what he has done and what he has given you. Pray and say: “Lord, I live by your sheer grace. That means though I don’t deserve to have things go right, yet I know you are working them all out for good (Rom.8:28) because you love me in Christ. All my punishment fell into Jesus’ heart–so you only allow bad things for my growth, and for loving wise purposes. I can relax, because my security in life is based neither on luck, nor hard work, but on your gracious love for me. You have counted every hair on my head (Matt.10:30-31) and every tear down my cheeks (Ps.56:8)–you love me far more and better than anyone else loves me or than I love myself. And remove my idols of security–which never can give me the security I need.”

Take a moment to write out your own prayer of repenting and rejoicing. Ask Christ to show you what is going on in your heart and then tell him how you are believing in him as the bread of life.

Take some time to reflect on the two charts we have looked at in previous sections of “The Walk”. Reflect on how the principles pictured in these charts related to the issue in this section of “The Walk”. How do they help us to believe in Jesus as the bread of life and to find our heart’s hungers filled by Him?

Jot down a few of your thoughts under each graphic

Continue reading the Bible. Keep reading the gospel of John. If you are reading a lot and finish John consider reading Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians or Luke. Or ask the group or person you are doing The Walk with to make suggestions. The important thing is to try to be consistent in your reading. Write down your questions, thoughts and insights as you read. Don’t forget to review your memory verses.

Advertisements

~ by Larry Kirk on February 6, 2012.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: