Welcome to Lent! This season, we’re blessed with a set of Lenten devotionals by contributing author Lee Hinkle. Find out more about Lee at the bottom of this article, or at hinkledownunder.com.
Following God through Jesus is not easy. It doesn’t seem sane to drop everything and follow. To change what is going on in our lives and turn around to follow Him. To have a plan set out before us and to see it changed is difficult. Even if that path seems hard and lonely and filled with disappointment, it can still be hard to turn to go the other direction. The familiar can be so much more comforting than what we do not know.
The stories of “calling” that we read today take men who were heading one direction but have an encounter that sends them in another. They were living their normal lives, going about their normal things. They are grieving the loss of a friend, following a dynamic teacher, and working their jobs. Normal life interrupted.
A clear thing for us to notice, especially in the example of Nathanael and Isaiah, is that the encounter is one of undoing. Isaiah is made fully aware of his sin, and Nathanael moves from someone unsure of Christ’s providence to proclaiming that Jesus is the Son of God and King of Israel. All of them are going to leave the life they were living and journey in a new direction. The undoing is not easy.
There are times when I think about my old self, the one who didn’t know Jesus, who knew of God but did not know God, and I miss him. I liked him a lot. He got things done the way I liked them done. He had fun the way I liked to have fun. He thought that I was a pretty great guy who should be respected and followed. But the reality is that he was a jerk, selfish, lonely, and hopeless. Praise the Lord that I had an encounter with the One who could undo me. Destroy me and rebuild me.
Following God through Jesus is not easy. It costs us our plans, our built up identity, our desires. It costs us our lives. But it gives us, as John will later testify, a life abundant; a life of worship to the True, Loving, Father God.
Father, it is hard to thank you and praise you for your undoing. Our comfort is so special to us. Even when it is uncomfortable, the familiar outweighs the hope of transformation that is found in your Son Jesus. Why do we long for our own unchanging plans, when we can worship the Unchanging Lover of our lives?
Spirit, teach us to long for God’s undoing. Teach us to desire community that will not let us sit in our comfort but will remind us of our call to follow and go.
Jesus, you are our life and path. You are the one who overcomes and rebuilds. We praise you for your conquering. Amen.
Take time to praise God for His undoing. List out those areas of your life that you have seen God transform you, and pay attention to the things that you once thought defined who you were. Those things that you thought (or still think) made you who you were. See how God has renewed them for His glory, replaced them with the fruit of the Spirit, or removed them completely from your life because of their ability to cause you to stumble. God is faithful in His undoing. He will not leave us there, but will rebuild us into who we are created to be. Praise Him for that today.
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Lee Hinkle is an American pastor who, with his family of 7, felt God’s call to pack up and plant a church in Fremantle, a town in Perth, Western Australia. Last Summer, the Hinkles left Indianapolis and arrived in Oz to begin their work. You can follow their adventures at hinkledownunder.com.