Lord Jesus, lift me from the death of sin to new life!
Christ is risen, He is truly risen!
Reflection on readings for May 5 – Acts 13:44-52, Psalm 98:1-4; John 14:7-14
Acts 13: 44-52: Paul and Barnabas had preached the Word of God to the people and many were receptive to the message. But the Jewish leaders were resistant and stirred up trouble, inciting prominent women and leaders to create an atmosphere of persecution. Scripture tells us the Jewish leaders were filled with jealousy when they saw the crowds, to the point of violence.
What was pushing their hot button?
For generations the Israelites were known as the Chosen People. One could get accustomed to that, being chosen. It could be clung to as a title; one could take pride in it.
One could say that because they were chosen, others were not. A sense of superiority and entitlement could rise up as a result.
Leaders of the Chosen
The Jewish leaders were not only chosen, they were also appointed as leaders over the chosen, making their position even more important. Leadership mixed with pride created the perfect breeding ground for jealousy, and for a closed mind and heart.
Now these leaders were witnessing their people being swayed by the preaching of Paul and Barnabas. If the people came to believe in Jesus, the leaders could lose their power and position.
The leaders desperately clung to their power. Pride blinded them to something so much greater. For leaders, their vision was small indeed.
In danger of clinging
What am I clinging to that blocks my vision? Am I proud of my accomplishments and am I ambitious for more? Are there things in this world that I love so much that it competes with my love for God and His people?
Tug of war
In the last couple of years, the Lord has lead me into reading and writing. I had not read on a regular basis since I was a child and now suddenly I live to read. Reading has born its fruits in a new love for writing. I find myself hungering to immerse myself all the time in these pursuits. I take pride in all that I am learning.
And yet, I feel the tug of competition between my new passion and my love for the Lord. I schedule time in the morning to read and reflect on the scriptures, and also to pursue my new passion. I feel that urge to “hurry up” with the scripture study so that I can get to what I “really” love.
And yet God gave me this new love! What sense does this make?
Worshipping the gift or the Giver?
Like the Jewish leaders being blinded by their love of power and position, denying themselves eternal life with Jesus, my passion for reading and writing can do the same. Even if the gift came from God, the gift can never become a god in and of itself; it must be lorded over by the only true God.
Lift me up
And so I pray for Jesus to offer his hand and lift me from this sin as He lifted Adam and Eve out of Hades and to new life as shown in the above icon.
I ask Him to help me bring all the pieces of my life together into one whole, fully integrated so that there is no competition.
Nothing must compete with the only thing that truly matters – a growing, vibrant loving relationship with Jesus.
What’s blocking your vision?