At the Party

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Hi! You still there and going on? I am!

So it’s funny to keep going through the book, because at a certain point it seems like the message is the same: Jesus is awesome and he wants us to be close to him! I might sound like a broken record, always saying the same thing… Go to Jesus. Seek him, know him. But once you know that’s what you’re supposed to do, what’s the point of reading on? If that’s the point every time?

Well, it’s because the Bible gives us a clear taste of pure truth. And the more we read in it, the more we get a clearer picture of who Jesus is, and what he sounds like. Because you know what? In the world, it’s hazy. It really is. In the very beginning, you’re trying to discern- what is the Lord doing in my life? What is He speaking? What’s his Way? And you listen to different teaching and different advice, and to your own heart… and you can get a really funny picture of who Jesus is that’s not actually him at all. It’s not based on the Truth.
But every time you come back to the Word, and see what it says about him, it refines your view of him to what is actually true. So that when you go out into the world, and you say, “I think the Lord is leading me to do this,” You have a better idea of… if that really is the Lord? Because if you know what he said and did in scripture, then if the “voice of the Lord” is leading you to do something absolutely contradicting the things he said in scripture, you know it’s not the voice of the LORD.

Okay, so let’s keep reading. John chapter Five. This is the English Standard Version.

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Okay, let’s stop right there. What does this show us about Jesus? First of all, once again, he’s going to a social gathering. This is still such a huge deal for me. You know, one of the hardest parts of my Christian walk is to take my relationship with Jesus out of the prayer closet and into my social life. When I get with friends, it’s like my consciousness of God and his voice can fly out the window. I’m so socially engaged- testing the emotional temperature of everyone I’m with, loving fun, hating discord, always thinking about the next thing on the list or the next appointment… that my mind almost goes on auto-pilot. And then the next time I’m alone with the Lord, I review the previous 4 hours with people, and I’m like, “Where were you, Lord?!”
It’s like he takes a seat by the window and I just kinda forget he’s there.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m doing terrible things. I love, love, love people. I really do. I’m always thinking, “How can I encourage them and lead them in the Lord? How can I turn this conversation towards good? Am I being a good example? Am I controlling my temper? Am I not gossiping or complaining?”
I’m constantly trying to reign myself in such a way that when I get back to my prayer closet, I’ll be satisfied, and the Lord will say, “Well done!”

But to be honest… I’m really beginning to question my methods. Sometimes I feel like I’m a horse, running a race, and the gate lifts and I’m off! And when the race is over, I come all foamy back to my trainer…. And the whole time I just completely forget that I have a jockey, a guide, a friend along with me.

Jesus goes to my social gatherings.

He goes with me.

He sends his spirit.
It’s possible to hear his voice in the crowd, it really is, but it’s so unnatural, at least for me. Maybe it’s because I’m sanguine. Maybe it’s easier for others.

I am learning that my time in the Secret Place- my quiet time- my devotions- whatever you want to call it. “Chapel” time- this is what transforms me so that when I go out into public, I’m bearing the fruits of the spirit and not of the flesh. So that I really am pleasing him. I gossip less, I love more. My social interactions really have improved a billion times since ten years ago, and I want to publicly apologize to absolutely everyone who had the tolerance to put up with me. What am I talking about? Not ten years ago. Five, four, even one year ago. Even last week. I hope none of you think that I’m this glorious peaceful person that is just a pleasure to be around. Because I can guarantee you that the people who are in closest life with me could tell you otherwise.

But listen. I am much, much, much better. It makes me so happy. I remember years ago, feeling frustrated and disappointed and angry with myself all the time- because even though I knew I should be peaceful, joyful, encouraging- my mouth should speak blessing and not angry, spiteful things- I so rarely felt like I had any fruit.

But over the years I have been so encouraged that I can be with people and the Lord has trained me and works through me to love others, using my words and my actions and I just LOVE it. It’s so much pleasure to be with people and to know that they’re enjoying their time and being encouraged, and not constantly be having social interactions full of discord and wounds and strife.

So wow, we didn’t get very far in chapter five, did we? But this is such an important part of our lives. What is your social life like? Whether you’re an introvert or extravert, some of the greatest pain in life comes from unsatisfying social interactions. And we all would probably wish we could behave in the best way possible. We all want to hear, “Well done!”

So how do we do this? Two ways: First, get to the Secret Place!! Get there! Make it a priority to meet with God, alone. Talk to him and listen to him- and commit your plans to the Lord. Tell him about your relationships, your wounds, and your sins. Ask his advice, his will, and his blessing.

And the second is this: Remember that you are not alone when you’re with people. When you’re working, mothering, dating, serving, or being served. Jesus sent you a constant Teacher. You don’t have to run on auto-pilot, just reacting to every situation and words that are tossed your way. You can be still, and know that He is God, even in the midst of the most boisterous crowd.If you practice hearing his voice in private, you can sit in the midst of a conversation and practice stilling yourself and hearing his voice in public, too. And then it won’t be like me- running off like mad and doing your best, and feeling alone and crazy. You’ll be aware of your constant friend.

Because Jesus goes with you.

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The book of John (1)If this was good for you, there’s more! Click here to go to the lead page for the whole book of John. Or subscribe by email!

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