If Jesus ever went hitchhiking, I imagine almost everybody would want Him in their car. After all, life is a journey and we need all the help we can get.
“Hop right in, Jesus. I could surely use you — like when I am in trouble, or when I am sick (I heard you’ve healed a lot of people), or when I am hungry (they say you are good with making food appear out of thin air), or when I need money (you can help me get some right out of the mouth of a trout), or if I die (you can raise me up).”
Jesus, the Savior, would be the most popular hitchhiker in history.
Jesus, the Lord — um, not so much.
Because while we all want Jesus in our car, we don’t want Him to drive. We want to be in control and we want Jesus to hang at back, ready to jump in at our call every time we are in trouble — like a bodyguard, or a handyman.
Some of us wouldn’t mind Him sitting in the passenger seat upfront either.
“We can be co-drivers, Jesus. I’ll drive sometimes and then when we hit a difficult bend, you could take over. How about that?”
But Jesus is not just our Savior, He is also our LORD. And so the only way you are going to get anywhere with Him is when you let Him have the driver’s seat.
Figuratively speaking, you’ve got to get out of the car, hand over the keys and say,“Here you go, Jesus — You drive. I’ll ride at the back or even the boot if needed. But please take charge of my life and my destiny. Or I might just mess it all up. My view is limited, but You have a better view from up there. You can see the big picture. You know what’s coming down the road. And I trust You.”
Now here’s the thing: When you give Jesus charge over your life, don’t expect a smooth ride. Remember Luke 8 when Jesus told the disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side.” Halfway into their expedition, they were hit by a storm and their ship almost capsized — until Jesus rebuked the wind and the sea and calmed everything and everyone down.
Bottom line: When you decide to give Jesus control over your destiny, you don’t get to choose the route. You just have to sit back and trust Him to get you to the Promised Land. Oftentimes, God leads us down roads we never intended to take, and yet we end up EXACTLY where we intended to be.
[Copyright (c) 2018 Kevin Menezes // all rights reserved]
I don’t know about you, but I am really amazed at some of these Rolls Royce and Bentley driving social media preachers who make it seem like God is running a lottery business. Jesus warned that there would be plenty of them in the Last Days and here they are.
“Want to get blessed? Want to get rich? No problem. Just share my post on your social media feeds and type Amen. And next thing you know a bucket-load of cash is headed your way.”
Are you kidding me?!
If you think that gimmick holds any currency with God, you have absolutely no idea who He is and you’ve completely misunderstood what Jesus is all about.
How about this one? “Wanna get rich? Easy! Just follow Jesus.”
Dude! Are you serious?!
Let me clear this up for you: Jesus is not roaming around with a wad of cash looking for people He can hand it over to. Jesus is in the business of SAVING people, not making them RICH.
Who said “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”
Who said “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Do you get it? Jesus is interested in our ETERNITY, not our LUXURY. When you get Jesus you only get JESUS. And in Him we have everything — He is more than enough.
So, if you are waiting on God to stop by your house and dump a truckload of cash on you just because you forwarded something to 25 people within 4 minutes, you’re off your rocker. Nobody cares about your social media account, how many posts you shared and how many times you typed Amen.
But God does care about YOU and how you are using this Gift of Life He has given you. So if you want to get blessed, first HONOR GOD with the way you LIVE.
Have you actually bothered to HELP any poor people? Did you freely GIVE your stuff away to those in need (and I am not talking about your leftover change)? Did you go out of your way to help a destitute? Did you FEED the hungry? Do you have LOVE in your heart for anyone other than yourself? Do you HONOR your parents? Do you flee from evil? Do you strive for PEACE?
These are the things that really please God.
If you want get rich just so you could buy your cute self some more stuff, you’re going to be waiting a LONG TIME. Because quite frankly, my dear, God is not going to help you pamper yourself a little more. You have a better chance getting rich the old fashion way — by using your brains and Working HARD.
But having said all of that let me also say this: INDEED, GOD DOES BLESS PEOPLE. He does not mind us having money and stuff as long as the money and stuff do not have us.
Here’s the deal: God has already pronounced all the blessings we’ll ever need over this planet. Our task is to call them down. And we have the power to call down both blessings and curses upon ourselves.
Be Good, Do Good and you call down BLESSINGS.
Be Bad, Do Bad and you call down CURSES.
In other words, what we say and do determines how our life is going to turn out. When you turn your life over to God, the things you do to honor Him, the zeal with which you obey His commands — those are the things that get you BLESSED.
So, if you are watching porn one moment, typing Amen the next and thinking God is going to be pretty pleased because you balanced your crap out by sharing a “holy” post on your social media feed, you’ve got to stop deceiving yourself.
Your blessings and everything else pertaining to your life are tied to just one question: DO YOU LOVE GOD FOR WHO HE IS, or FOR WHAT YOU CAN GET FROM HIM?
And God already knows the answer to that one.
It’s an important day and you are running really late. As you turn around the block, you see two men fighting. What would you do? Would you care to stop? Would you bother to intervene? Maybe you will. Maybe you won’t. What you do actually depends on several factors: How busy you are. Are they bigger than you? Are they drunk? Do you run the risk of getting beat up yourself?
If you are like most people, you may decide to just walk away.
But wait a minute. As you are walking away, you notice that one of the men looks strangely familiar. You move closer and realize the one getting beaten up is your dad, or your son, your husband, or your brother, or your closest friend — someone you love dearly.
Um, would you care to intervene now? Or would you still walk away?
If you are like most people, chances are you would jump right in to rescue your loved one.
But what if you find out that your dad/son/husband/brother is getting beaten up because of his mistake? He did something wrong.
Would you still stop them from beating him up?
If you are like most people, no matter what dad/son/husband/brother did, you would jump right in and first get them to stop beating him up. Heck! You might even throw in a few punches yourself. You wouldn’t care about what he did. You wouldn’t care how big the opponents are. You wouldn’t care about your busy schedule. You wouldn’t care about anything. All you would care about is rescuing the one you love.
You might even catch yourself say something like: “Yeah, I know he made a mistake and it’s his fault, but I’ll take care of it. Just stop hitting him.”
Um, so what’s the real reason behind the sudden change in your disposition? As long it was people you didn’t know, you were probably okay with them having a go at each other. But the minute it comes to someone you love, you want to play the ref and step in to rescue them — even if they are wrong.
The answer is simple: RELATIONSHIP!
You would save your child, your dad, your spouse no matter what the cost. In the same way, when you have a relationship with your Creator, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done. He will always jump in to rescue you. Because He loves you and cares about you. That’s why the Bible says “If God is for you, who can be against you.”
So, does that mean God rescues people who do wrong? Well, here’s the catch: If you really have a strong relationship with God and you understand who He really is and how much He loves you, you will find it extremely hard to get on the wrong side of His law. It doesn’t mean you’ll never ever sin again — you may. But it won’t be your default setting, and He’ll always help you find your way back home into His arms.
Because He is your Dad. And you are His.
You walk into a mall and guess what?! Your favorite movie star Shah Rukh Khan is there to promote his latest film. He is taking selfies with his fans. You seize the opportunity and get a selfie with the man. It turns out be a very good picture. You publish it on all your social media feeds. You even hang the picture on your living room wall for everyone to see. People are amazed that you “know” Shah Rukh Khan and evidently you too are quite proud of yourself.
Then, one day, you are hanging with the gang in Bandra and someone says, “Hey look! Isn’t that Shah Rukh Khan’s house right there? Let’s drop in and say Hi.”
Flummoxed, you don’t know how to deny it all. Before you know it, you are at the main gate. The security guards ask you what you want. Your chums chip in: “He is a very close friend of Shah Rukh Khan.” They whip out your phone, show the guards your favorite picture, and sure enough there you are hanging out with the man himself.
The guards apologize: “Very sorry, sir. Please go right in. Shah Rukh Khan will be delighted to see you.”
You are now in Shah Rukh Khan’s living room. He’s been told a very close friend is here to see him. He will be down shortly. Now, here’s my question: When Shah Rukh Khan sees you, what do you think he’ll do? What will he say?
While you are wondering about that, let me take you to Matthew 7 where Jesus warns Christians they might face a similar dilemma. Because while we are busy taking selfies with Jesus (by being visible in the church, singing in the choir, sporting crucifixes and rosaries), the singular question on which our fate rests is: Do we know Him at a personal level? Yes, we know all about Jesus (like we know all about Shah Rukh Khan), but do we KNOW Him, like on a one-to-one basis?
And even more importantly: Does He Know Us?
Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7)
“I don’t know you! Get out from my house!” – Isn’t that what Shah Rukh Khan is likely to say too when he sees you in his house, masquerading as a friend?
Shah Rukh Khan’s house is for him, his family and his friends. It is not for every freeloader who happens to be carrying a picture of him. Similarly, heaven is for God’s friends — those who actually took time to nurture a relationship with Him. It is not for everyone who just happens to be hanging on to a crucifix, a rosary or a supposed picture of Jesus, or St. Anthony or any of the other saints.
In short, the main criterion for entry is RELATIONSHIP, not Religion.
Jesus said: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” And, Yes, in Christ we all have free invite to the banquet in heaven. But we need to be watchful lest we be thrown out like the man in Matthew 22 who was invited to the wedding banquet but then cast out because he wasn’t wearing the right clothes. So, what is the right outfit for entry to heaven? It is Righteousness predicated on Relationship.
Think about this: How did you and your best friend become best friends? I imagine there would have been a lot of candid talking, and lots and lots of sharing (of both good stuff and bad). You would need to hang out together — a lot! To the point where you can trust each other and where you become the first responder in every crisis. That’s how we forge a strong bond with fellow humans, and guess what? That’s how you forge a bond with God too. By spending time together, talking, listening…
Then, one day, when you find yourself in His living room, you won’t have to worry about what He will say when He sees you. He’s going to rush down and simply embrace you just like you would hug a dear friend. There won’t be any need for words. And even if you try, He’ll say “Ssshhh!! You don’t need to say anything. We spent so much time talking with each other when you were on earth. I already know all about you. Just make yourself at home.”
They say “love sets no boundaries. I used to believe that until I fell in love myself. And guess what I discovered: True Love Always Sets Boundaries.
“You can eat the fruit of all the trees in the garden, but not this one.”
“You can play in the front yard where I can see you, but not on the main street.”
“You can watch cartoons for an hour, but not all day long.”
“You can drive this car to town, but you cannot speed.”
“You can hang out with all your friends, but not this jerk.”
You get my point?
Sometimes though, the very people you love and are trying to protect will come back and say “But I thought you trust me. I thought you love me unconditionally.”
When they do, you should say: “Well, honey, actually I do love you unconditionally and with that comes the part where I keep you from RUINING YOUR FUTURE or KILLING YOURSELF. It means I’ll happily bear all your shortcomings if I have to, but I will not tolerate your crap.”