Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Only Jesus

When I was young, I had a lot of people I looked up to who guided me in my faith.  My childhood pastors, my Sunday School teachers, Billy Graham, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Michael W Smith, camp pastors, and the list goes on.  

And did any of them let me down? Sure they did.  

I've been thinking a lot about the people we follow.  The Christian leaders and celebrities and the constant voices.  The authors and speakers and church staff.  They lead and they try their best and yet they fall short often.  They let us down.  They disappoint.  They make bad choices.  They have opinions we don't agree with.  

And if anyone has ever looked to me as a person of faith to follow - I'm sure I've disappointed them.  If not - I will.  

My dad was a pastor for 30 years.  He is a man of integrity and one of the strongest men of faith I know but I'm SURE he has let someone down or disappointed someone in all this time.  No one is perfect but Jesus.  

I talk often of my love of local church.  I grew up in church and I love the fellowship and community of believers. I love corporate worship.  I love serving together as a church.  It's my family.  I wrote about it once on how to find a church.  

And for the last two years, my church has been going through some tough things.  SERIOUSLY HARD.  And the last few months, coincidentally during the pandemic - it has reached epic proportions of hard church situations.  I have cried.  I have lost sleep.  I have been angry.  This is my family and my "family" is dysfunctional to put it mildly.  I've honestly been thankful for the pandemic to be forced to watch church online and not be in person to have time to pray and get space and perspective.  We have talked until we don't have words left about whether we should stay or leave. And prayed and prayed and prayed. 

And by the way - I still love the church. It’s made up of imperfect humans. Jesus wanted us to gather in churches. So despite the mess - don’t quit church when it lets you down. Just work hard to make it better. 

And on top of that - it seems different Christian online personalities have disappointed me in some way or another over and over recently.  And they are human.  So of course they have. 

And what I'm learning is something I have known on paper but never had to put in to action.  And that's that we can't put our trust in people.  The only person we can trust and look to is Jesus.  It really is true.  People let us down.  Jesus never will.  People hurt our feelings.  Jesus never will.  People mess up, cause hurt, make messes of things.  Jesus never will.  

BUT if you found faith through someone who HAS let you down - that doesn't change who Jesus is.  He can use anyone or anything to draw people to Him.  Just look in the Bible.  Think of David and Paul.  Two of the worst characters ethically and morally in the Bible and yet they are who God used to do the most good.  

If you have lost faith in people or religion, you aren't alone.  I have lost trust and hope in a lot over the last year.  But I just want to urge you to remember as I am trying to do - that Jesus has never changed.  He is passionately pursuing you even when you don't realize it.  He is walking you through the deepest of valleys.  He is the truth when you can't trust anything else.  He is for all people at all times.  He is peace and love and joy and everything we need right now.  He is also just and righteous.  And Holy.  And He wants nothing more that for you to follow Him.  Not influencers.  Not pastors.  Not worship leaders.  Not Bible Study teachers. For SURE not government officials.  HIM.  

You will never be disappointed if you keep your eyes on Him and not on everyone around you.  More of him and less of the noise.  More of His words and less of instagram captions.  I'm writing this for myself to listen to. But I felt like maybe just maybe one person out there might need to hear this along with me.  

I don't know who has let you down.  But I'm praying today that you fix your eyes on the only one who really matters and just run towards Him.  I think the finish line will be a lot sweeter if you aren't looking at who is running next to you or leading the pack.  Just who you are running toward.


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