This weekend we continued on in the series, Transformed by Faith. What are you looking for? In the beginning of the service we watched a video that asked random people what they are looking for in life. Many people answered that they were looking for happiness, success, peace, and money.
After the success of the Purpose Driven Life, George Barna (a Christian researcher) took a poll of 1,003 Christians to find what they were most looking for. More than anything those people wanted a satisfying family life. Only 18% of Christians said a greater spiritual life was of most importance.
Scratch Question vs. Line Answers
We want what is fast and easy. Our choices are critical in determining the direction of our lives.
Pastor Chuck showed us a string. On the very long string was a little scratch. The scratch is an example of our lifetime in view of eternity, the string. Sometimes we are always and only looking to be a scratch, so we ask scratch questions. But Jesus gives us line answers.
A Personal Relationship
We ask Jesus for quick answers.
Mark 10:2-12 states, the Pharisees came and asked Him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" testing Him. And He answered and said to them, "What did Moses command you?" They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her."
And Jesus answered and said to them, "Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God 'made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. So He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."
If you could ask Jesus anything what would it be? Jesus invites us into a personal relationship with Him. He wants to work beyond our minimalist thinking. He wants to transform our lives. We need to abolish our scratch expectations of Jesus, and embrace Jesus' line answers for our lives.
An Eternal Perspective
Often times we lack the perspective focused on eternity. We want what's right now. We seek temporary blessings. We can be so scratch focused that we forget the eternal line.
Mark 10:13-16 states, then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.
Jesus wasn't looking to only provide these children with temporal blessings. He wanted them to see the eternal blessing of knowing Him and finding salvation in Him.
Formed in His Likeness
Jesus didn't come to earth to provide us with a ticket to heaven. He didn't purpose that we just ask for our pass to heaven. He wants to form us in His likeness and do in our lives mighty works that perhaps scratch questions and thinking could never conceive. But Jesus' line answers guide the way.
Mark 10:17-21 states, now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"
So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and your mother.'" And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth."
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."
Blessings of Humility
In our scratch thinking we desire that which is temporal, that which brings us happiness for a moment. We want to be recognized and honored.
Mark 10:35-45 states, "Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask." And He said to them, "What do you want Me to do for you?"
They said to Him, "Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory." But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"
They said to Him, "We are able." So Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared."
Jesus offers us the blessing of humility. In line thinking we can see that being the first or the best isn't the most important thing.
And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, "You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Ask Line Questions
When we learn to look beyond the scratch, we can learn to see the line as Jesus intended us to.
When we learn to ask line questions we will see that our thoughts and desires are based upon our relationship with Jesus Christ, having an eternal focus, with our main concern to grow in His likeness.