How Did We Get Here?
January 10, 2022
He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Matthew 26:39 NLT
And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Acts 4:29 NLT
People who identify themselves by the name “Christian” or Jesus-follower are giving the people who observe them or know them reason to assume their lifestyles and commitments are in sync with those of their Founder, Leader, and His disciples, right? We know that is true. So how did we, the Church in general, get here? How did we become so different and in so many ways unrecognizable as Christ-followers?
Our Leader, our Founder—in fact, our KING—was known for His sacrificial desire and commitment to obey His Father. He knew He was here to fulfill the Father’s will, and that was His focus every day. He knew God’s will for Him was to selflessly love others and give to them in a way that they would be drawn to God the Father. That’s the way He lived His life, without a single exception.
The disciples who followed Him after His selfless death and powerful resurrection proved that He was indeed Savior and Lord, God Himself, followed Him in that lifestyle of giving and serving. They were so changed by their belief in Him as the resurrected Savior and Lord of Life that they marched right into the most demanding situations with praise and confidence. Everything they did was to honor Jesus and serve others for whom He died.
How have we as the Church gotten so far from how Jesus and His first followers lived and impacted the world? A study of the New Testament convincingly shows us that the way they prayed was central. We have fallen into prayers for ourselves, our families, and not prayers that we would be powerfully effective for Christ. We pray for protection, for provision, for peace, even prosperity. We pray for those in our cocoon, but don’t give much regular thought for the rest of the world. We want to be “okay,” safe, and fly under the radar.
But the prayers of Jesus and the New Testament disciples, His followers, were different. They didn’t beg God to do their will; they sought to do HIS will. They didn’t hold on to anything but were willing to suffer if necessary to accomplish His will, serve others, and bring them to Jesus. They prayed differently, lived differently, and saw results differently. God wants that from us. We need it.
- Jesus, help me pray boldly and sacrificially like You, and live that way as a result. Amen.