Posted by: mikenicholsblog | September 7, 2014

“me” vs. “He”

I just wasted four hours of my life! I am a Ohio State Buckeyes fan, and was all geared up for the big game Saturday evening.  Watching your favorite team play under the lights in prime time can be a great experience … or, on nights like Saturday, an incredibly frustrating waste of time! Being a typical selfish fan, winning creates those great experiences, and losing … well, I bet you could have guessed that we lost.  And to top it all off, after watching a game for four, futile hours, I couldn’t sleep.  Being wide awake, I decided to do some reading and began to draw parallels between my simple football frustration and the way our lives become so easily frustrated.  Things that are non-essential can dominate our thinking and attitudes, causing us to reflect anything but the attitude and selflessness of Christ. Isn’t it silly that watching our team lose, sitting in traffic, annoyances at work or generally bothersome people can dominate our minds and damage our witness?  Can you relate?

Since I was awake, and it was after midnight, I decided to do tomorrow’s devotions (I know! I have issues).  It never ceases to amaze me how God can use such seemingly unrelated and circumstantial things to speak directly into a moment of personal need.  In the few short verses of Sunday’s reading, I saw a dramatic contrast between the disciple’s resonant attitudes and how Christ views interruptions that spoke directly into my irritation and sleeplessness.

So here was the disciples’ frustration … parents were bringing young children to Jesus.  Yep, that’s it! That was their frustration!  “How rediculous,” you and I are tempted to think and blurt out.  And then we remember circumstances and frustrations like football games, and we quickly become quiet.

Look carefully at the contrast between the actions and attitudes of the disciples and those of Christ:

People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. “Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”
Luke: 15-17 (MSG)

Jesus lived with purpose. Large crowds and seemingly bothersome people weren’t a source of frustration for Christ, they were His ministry. What the disciples decided was a bother, Jesus declared as the pride and joy of His kingdom.  An epic example of missing the point, as is every time we get frustrated over a football score or any number of other minor inconveniences.  My preconceived agenda too often gets in the way of reflecting Christ on busy days. I get irritated in traffic when my precious schedule is threatened, and I have found myself getting increasingly frustrated with work annoyances this summer. I’m sure that I’ve quickly shooed people away like the disciples did. What about you?

This year, looking at the words of Jesus has shown me how easy it is to be in conflict with the attitude and ways of our Savior.  Sometimes there is too much me and too little of Christ in my life.  As a friend, may I ask you a hard question? Does your preconceived agenda conflict with the patient and purposeful way Christ lived his life? If so, confess it today and commit to having the attitude of Christ in your everyday.  We are not perfect as He was, but remember that resurrection power lives within us, and that gives us hope that we can indeed live that way.  In the same way you cast your cares on Him, hand over your schedule too.  God knows what’s important to you in this life and He knows who He created you to be and do (Eph. 2:10).  Let the Spirit do the work of revealing what’s “me” vs. “He” and be like those little children who are the pride and joy of the kingdom.


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