I have to believe that all of us want God’s blessing in our lives. I was recently reminded of Jesus’ guidance on how to be in that spot in our lives. Now, I am not talking about life without problems. I am talking about a life that that has peace that flows from the confidence of being able to trust God. The challenge is, you will never realize this peace if you are calling the shots in your life. Let me put this another way, or if you are in the drivers seat!
This past week was a crazy week at Living Hope. We held our 15th CLEAT Soccer Camp. It was an incredible week in a number of ways. It was incredibly challenging as we worked through implementing a new camp program along with a new partner University. It was also incredibly challenging because a number of key pieces for the camp did not come together until the last moments. But it was incredible in that God worked, meeting the needs, bringing in one of our largest groups in recent years and resulting in an incredible week at camp.
Now this may sound like I am tooting our own horn but that is not the case. I am tooting Jesus horn! Several years ago I came to the place where I realized that Jesus needed to drive my life and ministry. Now I am far from having this figured out but I hope that I am growing in this area. It is the Lord that worked to make this year’s camp come together. It has been the Lord working in a number of others area too. I realize that unless the Lord works, what I have to offer does not matter.
A couple months ago I started memorizing the first five verses of John 15. Lately I have been meditating on John 15:4-5, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” What I hear Jesus saying is, “Let me drive.” Now we resist giving up the driver’s seat because it represents control. But you will never get to where Jesus wants to take you if you are driving. The only way to get there is by letting him drive. This requires trust. It also means that you will put into practice his practices in your life. Yes the Devil will whisper all kinds of reasons in your ear why it will not work. But the verse above is Jesus’ reminder of our need to trust Him. It means that we will embrace the challenges that He brings into our lives. It means that we will keep on following Him even when things get tough. It means that we will invest in our spiritual growth as a priority in our lives. When you do what Jesus asks you to do you are choosing to remain in Him. You are choosing to let him drive.
Now I must warn you that this is one of the most difficult things that you will do as a follower of Jesus. It is also an area where you will fail frequently. Yet, when you choose to give Jesus the keys you will find yourself in the place of God’s blessing in your life regardless of the circumstances. The prophet Jeremiah had this to say, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7–8)
-Pastor Joe Parkinson