Jesus said he was the 'door'. (John 10:9)
There is a reality - a Spirit - in and through Christ that frees us from deep within. His name, his Spirit, shatters chains that bind us, and opens our eyes to see. (John 16:15; Luke 4:18)
When Paul had seen Christ (and you, too, have seen and believed on Christ), he still agonized with discomfort in his heart, mind and body (Do you struggle with your faith?). He wanted to shake off this discomfort, to enjoy the revelation of God that he had seen. (You can read this powerful story in 2 Corinthians 12) Paul had seen, and believed, and now struggled with his belief and his responsibility as a Christ-follower. Can you related?
Today I have personally, desperately needed a 'door' to peace, to freedom, to new beginnings. Today I have personally met others who desperately need a 'door' to a new path in their life, a new hope for their future. There is only one 'door' that exists, through which you can walk and be free, be new, find forgiveness and eternal life.
'If the Son sets you free, you will be free, indeed.' John 8:36
Well, honestly, nine out of ten times in my case, the answer would be ‘Judgmental!’ It can be so hard to distinguish between when we are simply ‘adjudging’ a situation – even if on a moral issue – or when we are being ‘judgmental’ – in other words, decreeing in our hearts and minds what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ about someone’s heart or motive. Most of the time, as mortals, we are doing the latter. Why is this?
Something deep within us is deeply afraid. Ever since we sold our souls to ‘knowledge’ or ‘knowing’ (Genesis 3), we get very insecure when we don’t know something, or cannot definitively ‘call it’. So what we do is… call it! Yes, because we have declared ourselves ‘gods’, and live our lives by our own values and ‘knowing’, well, we better be right! Right? ‘Cause if we’re wrong about this… or don’t know about that… well, how do we know about our own lives, souls and destiny? So we judge! It is not just what comes out of our mouths, but what is going on in our heart. So even when I am the least ‘vocal’ on a topic, I can still be the most judgmental in my heart.
There are so many scriptures about this issue, but here are just 2 to ponder. The first is spoken by Jesus, and the second written about him. May the Lord help us all grow in this area, and be more patient, more generous, and wiser with our words and judgments:
Matthew 7:1-5 ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.’
1 Peter 2:23 ‘… when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.’
She was about 16 years old, engaged, and pregnant. This situation was scandalous. Her story – that she was ‘with child’ by the will of God and the Holy Spirit - was ‘unbelievable’ to people, and even to her betrothed, Joseph. For this reason he planned to ‘divorce her’ – or break the engagement – and disappear. (Luke 1-2)
Why would God make his entry in this scandalous way? Why put Mary through this? Why put Joseph and everyone else through this? What a powerful test of faith and of ‘judgment’ for everyone involved, and everyone looking on! Everything ‘acceptable’ aboI cannot answer on God’s behalf, but I do defer this reflection to you:
God’s ‘entry’ to this life shook everyone and every ‘norm’ to the core. And he ‘began’ this life, as he meant to go on! His whole life was one of challenging the hearts and perceptions of all mankind, particularly regarding his identity – which is the cornerstone of his message. He was ‘God in the flesh’ (John 1:14), and through him we can all defy death, be made pure and live forever! (John 10:9) His life was a crucifixion of our pride, so in our pride we crucified him. But then he called us to carry on his life, through his power. He called us to take up our cross and follow him. (Mk 8:34-38)
Is your life hard? I bet it is! Are you misunderstood? Do you feel God himself has turned his back on you? So did Christ. (Mt 27:46) Christ will meet you on your hard path and make it a path of life, if you let him. He walked your walk so that he could walk with you. Will you let him?
Peter Walker. I hope you enjoy these reflections. Please feel free to comment!:)