Jesus never concealed the fact that his religion included a demand as well as an offer. Indeed, the demand was as total as the offer was free. If he offered men his salvation, he also demanded their submission. He gave no encouragement whatever to thoughtless applicants for discipleship. He brought no pressure to bear on any inquirer. He sent irresponsible enthusiasts away empty. Luke tells of three men who either volunteered, or were invited, to follow Jesus; but no one passed the Lord’s test. The rich young ruler, too, moral, earnest and attractive, who wanted eternal life on his own terms, went away sorrowful, with his riches intact but with neither life nor Christ as his possession…The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half built towers—the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so called nominal Christianity. In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity. They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great, soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience. No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism…The message of Jesus was very different. He never lowered his standards or modified his conditions to make his call more readily acceptable. He asked his first disciples and he has asked every disciple since, to give him their thoughtful and total commitment. Nothing less than this will do
John R.W. Stott
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.' John 7:37-38 (NIV)As soon as we were old enough to understand fairy tales, we were told to start looking for the one.Someday my prince will come.Someday I'll find my love.As we got older, Prince Charming looked a bit different. Our teenage hearts thrilled when the latest vocal sensation sang about finding us and how our love would last forever.Wherever we turned, we were told our soul mate was waiting. And we were led to believe we were less than if we didn't find the one who would complete us!Even now, whether we're 15, 45 or 75, the equation hasn't changed: Guy + Me = Valuable.So, if the movies, books and songs are so right, how come when we find the one, we can still feel like we're missing something? Why are there married people who are lonely with an emptiness that marriage can't fill? Our hearts can get confused if our reality doesn't match fantasy and we wonder:Maybe my one isn't really the one? Or, whether we're married or single, we might wonder, is the one for me still out there?In this place of uncertainty our hearts can grow perplexed. If we find ourselves in this vulnerable place of questioning and all of a sudden a guy who seems to be the one enters the picture, it can stir up confusion.If we are married, we might wonder if we should walk away from a husband, who we thought was perfect for us, in order to have a new one, who seems more perfect. Singles might wonder if this guy is really a gift from God ... the one we've waited for?In my personal search to have my love gap filled, I have discovered there is The One for each and every one of us.It is Jesus Himself! He's The One our hearts are looking for. He's The One who is the filler of my lonely places and misunderstood parts.No matter what is going on in my roller coaster heart, Jesus' love for me is secure and stable. On the days when the relationship with my husband is everything I am looking for, Jesus is The One. On the days when the cart of marriage is wobbly and off-kilter, He's still The One.Oh the relief Jesus brings to the rest of my relationships! When I turn to Him to fill the love gap in my heart, it takes the pressure off others! While my needy heart could wear my family out, Jesus is a continual source of unconditional love pouring into me. Not the type of filling that is once and done, but an endless supply ... each and every day.Listen to His promise in John 7:37-38, Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.Ahhh ... the refreshing that comes when we discover He is The One we are looking for.What a relief my heart experiences as I stop looking to others to fill me and find Jesus as my constant, day after day, contentment. Take time today to go to Him and ask Him to fill up the empty places and refresh the areas of your heart that are dry. Jesus is The One and only who can fill and complete us.Lord, help me to recognize You are The One my heart is looking for. Each and every day, teach me to look to You to fill the love gap in my heart. Amen
Lynn Cowell