March 20 I Saturday
“From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” —John 6:66
As “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14), we might expect Jesus to have been the greatest evangelist that ever lived. Yet, after a three-year ministry where He preached to tens of thousands of people, He only had about 120 disciples, which is less than one convert a week! Some disciples had turned back after Jesus preached a particularly “hard teaching” (John 6:60). Was the problem with His delivery? No. Jesus was the greatest evangelist that ever lived, not because of how many disciples He had, but because He was more concerned with the truth, as the terms of the Christian life are non-negotiable.
Although the word “Christian” can mean a multitude of things to a multitude of people, there is only one kind of Christianity that is valid, and that is God’s kind. We do not have the freedom to pick and choose which aspects of His revelation we find attractive, and disregard the parts we do not like but call it Christianity and expect it to work. Living the Christian life will only work on God’s terms; anything else will make us religious and leave us powerless.
Imagine wanting to book a flight that left at a convenient time and had good baggage allowance, but we decided the cost was too high. We could write out a ticket ourselves with the name of the airline and the flight number on it, but if we were to present that ticket to the person at the check-in desk, we would be refused to board the plane. “I am very sorry,” the person might say, “the information may be correct, but the ticket is invalid, so you cannot travel.” We could try writing praises to the airline on the back of the ticket. We could sing, “Amazing plane, how sweet the sound, that carries a wretch like me.” The person at the check-in desk might be flattered by our compliments and songs, but no matter how much we want access to the plane, we will be denied entry because our ticket is issued by the wrong authority.
People can express all the right sentiments about the Lord Jesus, by singing the “right” songs, going to the “right” church and using all the “right” vocabulary, but unless they are living on God’s terms, they will have a Christianity that does not work. They will have little consciousness of God, no experience of His power and others will not see Him active in their lives. The only Christianity that works is the one laid out in Scripture—on God’s terms—where Christ is given exclusive rights as the authority of our lives and is our strength, sufficiency and empowering.
Prayer: Almighty God, forgive me for the times when I tried to make Christianity work on my own. Only through Christ can I find strength, sufficiency and empowerment. Thank You, God.