Romans 12:1-8 (esp. 2)
Isaiah 55:6-11 (esp. 8-9)
Wanting to do some more writing, I began to look for a laptop. Pen and paper can’t compare to a word processor for speed and easy storage. My friend knew this, and he came up with a free used IBM his nephew hoped to discard. It seemed like an answer to a prayer.
Then I pushed the power button. The machine for which I paid nothing appeared worth the cost. It posed huge problems to utility, not even having Microsoft Word. The old files needed deleting, and the operating systems moved slowly. I had to download a great deal of software to even begin doing simple writing.
Jesus said believing is the work of God. My friend thinks he means we are like computers. We need old files deleted, our operating systems reworked, and new software downloaded.
To believe Jesus feels entirely out of the ordinary, completely beyond our comfort zone, and like a logical impasse. Look at the things Jesus promises. Read his teachings, and see if you believe him. The gospels brim over with stunningly bold and preposterous claims. And these don’t function with the way I think or the programs in my mind’s hard drive.
Keep reading what he says. His Sermon on the Mount confounds my value and judgment systems. Blessed are the poor? Turn the other cheek? Looking at a woman lustfully equals adultery? Love my … enemies? Jesus’ words seem more like fantasy and idealism at best. Neither of these compute with my mind’s operating systems of realism, cynicism and empiricism.
Following Jesus and believing him entails a complete rewrite of my mental, spiritual and emotional hard drives. Most of what lives within me conflicts with his words.
He keeps telling me, “You’ve heard it said, but I tell you …” as if to point out that my hard drive needs a clean sweep. His words need to take the place of my current operating system.
I need much work. Therefore, downloading his thinking and ways of acting proves terribly difficult. It requires daily efforts and deposits of time. Each choice I make needs to run through the new system. Believing that the effort is worth it, and believing in his words, are the work he gives me. It means not only hearing the words, but doing them.
Which of your thoughts conflict with Jesus'?
What efforts are you making to line up your thinking with his?
What one teaching of Jesus bothers you the most? Why? What are you doing about it?
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