Wednesday February 24 – Day 8 – WHATEVER IT TAKES

 In Lenten Devotional

Wednesday February 24 – Day 8 – WHATEVER IT TAKES

10 Now I have given up everything else—I have found it to be the only way to really know Christ and to experience the mighty power that brought him back to life again, and to find out what it means to suffer and to die with him.  11 So whatever it takes, I will be one who lives in the fresh newness of life of those who are alive from the dead. – Philippians 3:10-11 (TLB)

10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. – Philippians 3:10-11 (MSG)

You know someone is desperate when they use the following three words in a sentence:

Whatever it takes

It could be trying to figure out a problem: Whatever it takes, I am going to figure out why this audio interface is not working!

It could be determination: Whatever it takes, I am going to get that girl to notice me.

It could be honouring a commitment that has soured:  Whatever it takes, I am going to be beside you and walk with you even though you say you don’t love me anymore.

It’s amazing how three words can demonstrate a person’s resilience, resolve and character so clearly.

In our culture it is easier to take the path most traveled and that causes the least amount of pain.  “Whatever it takes” has been transformed into “Whatever I please”.  And herein lies the problem of why so many of us are anxious, afraid and empty:

We will do whatever we please, no matter what

In Paul’s letter to the church in Phillipi, he shares a very interesting point of view.  He has come to the place in his life where he would give up everything in order to know who Jesus is.  Everything else he considers “dog pies” in comparison to knowing Christ.

No doubt in his life he saw much human suffering and sin.  It was only when he saw Jesus that he wanted to forge a new life for himself:  a life filled with sacrifice and great joy as well.

For me, Lent has always been about recognizing Jesus’ suffering on the cross.  It also marks for me the reality that Jesus KNEW His Father’s plan early on and lived in the knowledge that He was going to have to die.  He was going to make the biggest sacrifice anyone can make for another human being.  He lived through this knowledge and still chose this path.  He did so because He loved His Father and would do anything for Him.

Why is it then that the 21st Century church has forgotten about this truth?

Today, it is all about your social media presence online and how your church “presents”.  We are more concerned with getting people in the pews, paying the bills, getting a top notch ministry staff and creating programs to keep people “busy” and “occupied” rather than challenged and encouraged.  We read up on all the latest church trends and best selling church authors’ numerous books in order to find some nugget of truth or strategy that we are missing in terms of growing a church.

But did we at any time embrace the truth that Jesus came so that we would have life, and that there is an entire world who does not have a relationship with Him.  You don’t need fancy theological degrees to embrace the truth:  Jesus didn’t suffer so we could be successful.  Jesus died so that we could live forever.

When news THIS good hits the streets, all you want to do is share it with everyone you know.

One of my favourite web sites is Steve Hoffman’s forum.  Steve is a mastering engineer in California and you might remember that he and Kevin Gray cut my album ROUND to record (vinyl).  On the site, many different people talk about their favourite audiophile gear, their favourite masterings of certain recordings and you can even sell some gear and music through the site as well.  For a long time, it was also my breaking news site.  If any famous musician or celebrity died, I would see it first on the forums.  The whole point of Steve’s site is that when you find a special pressing or piece of equipment that brings sonic joy, you want to share it with others and talk about it.  Others also search out these facts so they can make informed decisions when they buy music.  It was the first time I had heard about the 1964 stereo “tube cut” of the album Beatles for Sale on Parlophone and it changed my life (if these kind of things are your bag, message me and I can give you the details).

When a new restaurant opens in town and it has great food and great prices, you hear via word of mouth and it becomes very difficult to get a table without a reservation.  There was an amazing Greek take out restaurant near our house that was amazing.  Sadly, they could not pay the high utility costs at the time and they had to close. However they were busy every day.  To this day, we have struggled to find a Greek restaurant that can match their prices and great food.

Our role as the church is to share what Jesus has done in our lives in such a way that an entire world takes notice.  That they hear about us via word of mouth.

The world begins to see Jesus, and not our prejudice, our judgement and our opinions.

Whatever it takes, I want the church to share the good news of Jesus with everyone they meet.

We do this by showing kindness to a stranger, by opening a door for someone, for letting someone else in line before us (even though we have been waiting a long time already).

We show this by how we treat others online and the things we post on our social media. Do we talk more about love or more about judging those who don’t agree with us?

We show this by respecting and loving our neighbour, but at the same time, holding the truth of Jesus at the forefront of our lives:  not as a crutch or a weapon but as an invitation.

An invitation to a life that is worth more than anything.

A life that is worth giving up everything for in order to know Jesus.

Today, it is my hope that your heart will resound with these words: “Whatever it takes, I want to be a partner in Jesus’ suffering.  I want to walk with Jesus in His suffering this Lent so that I am completely transformed.  I will give up everything in order to know Him”.

These are difficult words to say, let alone LIVE. But as we live in and try and understand the suffering, we become heirs with Christ.  Heirs!!!  How can this be possible?

It is possible because Jesus loved us:  Whatever it takes, I will do my Father’s will

As we take this season to honour God, we honour what it cost Him for us to have eternal life.

May you have the strength to do the Father’s will today, and may you share God’s love in tangible ways.

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