Jesus Didn't Die So We Could Have a Comfortable Life

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Over the past few weeks I’ve been working in some areas that are a little rough. Your lower socioeconomic and less affluent sort areas where you would probably lock your car doors and drive past a little faster than usual.

While I didn’t have the most glamorous upbringing, my parents were there for me and I was taken care of nonetheless. We live in a reasonable area and I am grateful for the hard work they did put in to get us where we’re at now. We didn’t ever really see it through any really harrowing or tough times out of the ordinary compared to anyone else – God has always been looking out for us.

Fast forward to now. Because of this I’m not a particularly materialistic person, but I do like nice things. The essentials I guess, but things that last and make me feel good. Not saying that I derive my identity or meaning from these inanimate objects!

I haven’t had a decent car since uni, so I’d like to have something reasonable now that I’m working (nothing too fancy… but a Mustang would be nice hehe) and then I would like a really spiffy motorbike! (Okay… That’s another one of my guilty pleasures) … and I would like to live somewhere nice too…

If you’re following with this train of thought, it’s funny how I can go from one thing, to the next. Almost as if I’m not satisfied enough from the last. Am I satisfied at all, or will I ever be? Maybe you can also relate with this attitude?

While working in these areas I thought to myself “gee I wouldn’t want to live here”, but then today I received a bit of a rebuke from God, followed with solace about this whole contentment complex us humans seem to have issues with, in that we’re never satisfied.

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Despite the places I was working, there would always be a silver lining I would find no matter how small. One day I went to this really nice cafe down the road that turned out to be part of a church. The picture attached was this really beautiful garden surrounding a church I was able to sit and have lunch at on another occasion. An attitude of thanksgiving can really change a lot.

It was with these small experiences that put everything back into perspective for me. As Christians we aren’t put here to be comfortable in our happy little lives, isolated from the rest of the world in our perfect little communities. We’re meant to be the light among the darkness, in that we’re to show the world the light of Jesus Christ and what He can offer us.

It’s humbling to know that God has placed me in a particular place now for a particular reason. While on one hand I want to stubbornly fight back for regaining control of my life and doing things I want with it (rather than God), the other side of it is that God is gently taking me to where He knows best even though I may not always see it – and that is what brings true peace and contentment.

While I may not ever come to riches or grandiosity I’m happy with that and I’m learning to be happy as to where God is putting me. It’s from this attitude that I’m ready to receive what He will give me, and letting go of what I want to do. I’m ready to take on what He wants me to do and unload what I want to do (Matthew 11:25-30).

What the world can offer pales in comparison to the promises of Christ, and I would be foolish to substitute it for anything else

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
Matthew 16:24-26

We all need Jesus. The rich, the poor, the old and the young. Let us pray that the Church and Jesus meet them where they’re at.

God bless

 

This article was originally published in The Fellowship Collective by Bryce Bell.

Our expectations… and then God’s

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It has been over the past few weeks at church where our Pastor has been faithfully preaching straight from the Gospels and following the narrative of Jesus.

With Easter upon us, it is always a great time to reflect on the reason why Christ came to earth for us.

Simplistically put, He came to die for our sins and to reconcile us with God.
He did so as a substitution, or ransom and in His divinity rose from the dead, conquering death and giving us a hope to have faith in.

There was one passage Pastor Dexter was preaching on, which was Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem for the Passover (Mark 11:1-11) and the theme of expectation came up. Our expectations in particular.

Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly and if you’ve been following the Gospels up until this point, there was a huge expectation for Jesus to bring the Kingdom of Heaven. The expectations of the people manifested as Jesus coming as a conquering king to overthrow Roman rule and restore the Jewish people and ushering in God’s kingdom – although it didn’t quite pan out as they intended, as some days later Jesus was hanging on a cross – mocked and ridiculed.

How often do we have expectations of the Lord? How often do we think we know what’s right and how He should be doing things differently! I’ve been there so often, and so much like the disciples: “No Jesus don’t be ridiculous you don’t need to die – you can be King here and now!”

How mistaken we are. Jesus is the Lord of our lives, not the other way around.

The Lord that rose from the dead does have plans and a purpose for us, despite it not aligning with what we may want.

I hope you can be reflective over this Easter season about who it’s actually about, and the vast things He has done for us (and will continue to do).

I pray you have a happy and safe Easter,

God bless

 

Thanks to Pastor Dexter for letting me expand on his content, I thoroughly recommend you checking out the sermons page and listening to Episode 2 – The Entry

 

This article was originally published in The Fellowship Collective by Bryce Bell.