Jesus was never too timid or shy to express the truth in the strongest terms. Sometimes, He spoke purposefully in figurative language to test His disciples’ commitment to God. On other occasions, He struck to the core of their innermost motives and hidden feelings, to let them know that He understood their thoughts and could read their hearts.
Christ did not go on a crusade to gain a following, knowing that God the Father must call and draw people to Him. At times, He even dissuaded people from walking with Him. He was more concerned with the quality, rather than the quantity, of His disciples. He did not perform public signs or miracles to be accepted or admired. He shocked people by saying and doing things which were unexpected.
Many of the early followers of Christ fell into the carnal trap of pursuing wrong goals and giving in to distracting desires, craving for recognition, power, or doing “great things.” How about us today? Are we interested in spiritual growth–in gaining a better understanding of the true values of Christian living–or are we content with the “knowledge” that we think we have? Are we frozen in time, refusing to follow Christ wherever He leads us? Or, are we anxious to come up with and teach “something new,” in order to “reach” and “attract” those with itching ears who are always learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth–let alone accepting the love of the truth?
Are we really focusing on God’s Kingdom and His righteousness–or are we concerned about how well people like and accept us? Do we look at “Church assembly” as a place for social activities–for “fun and games”? Is our Church attendance dependent on how few or how many members show up, and who in particular? Is our Christian life only worthwhile to us, when we are prosperous or financially secure, or healthy, or accepted by others, or successful in our physical endeavors? Are we happy and relaxed when things go “our way,” but do we fall into depression and despair when our wishes don’t correspond with God’s perfect Will for us? Are we conditioning our doctrinal understanding on how it affects our personal life?
Are we determined to carry on with the work or responsibility which God has given us–individually and collectively–no matter how our task is viewed or received by others? Do we measure our “favor” or “success” with God by how many people respond to our message–or, how many other groups might want to merge with our particular organization? Are we willing to compromise or “re-evaluate” our beliefs, so we can become part of “something bigger”? Are we desperate to be able to “report” some spectacular healings–imagined or real–in order to “prove” that God is with us? Do we think we must preach some “new truth,” proclaim some prophetic speculation, or set dates for Christ’s return, in order to gain or maintain attention?
God wants to see in us strong and unwavering convictions. He wants us to stay focused and to allow Him to build His righteous character in us. He wants us to fulfill our duties, and to follow Him gladly and thankfully in “good times and in bad times.” He wants us to concentrate on the true goals and values–not on cheap and passing “substitutes.” He wants us to learn more and more how to follow Christ’s example in everything. Is that what you want?