Taste the difference

I turned up the radio this morning. What did I just hear? “Is Jesus a bland cream cheese?” Alistair Begg was at it again with striking metaphors. His question was, is the Jesus you present to the world a bland, no-fat, no change, why bother kind of lifestyle or is He a full-bodied, rich, pungent cheese that flavors the air for three feet around it? Pastor Begg was talking about taking up our cross (Matthew 16), and how often we can trivialize it. Does following Christ make a striking impact on your life?

I saw a homeless man today at the corner, offered him a granola bar, and was turned down. He had a whole box of those! Well, that’s what I had to offer, so I waved and drove away as the light turned green. What did he need? Money can sit in a box just like granola bars. He needs some hope, a friend, a place to belong in community. Does the Church have a place for him? Is there a place he would be welcomed?

Isaiah 40 came up again as part of my devotional. It is one of my favorite passages, if I had to pick. But I was surprised to read about how little will satisfy man when it comes to something to worship. A slab of wood. Some chipped rock. We like the easy, “cream cheese” solutions to life that allow us to just keep living without a fuss. But they’re like band-aids on a deep cut. They do not patch us together well at all. And our hearts can be infected. We end up more sick from the quick-fix solution. But I still gravitate to it.

This is how Isaiah 40 ends:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
29 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
30 Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31 Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.”

God is there, offering strength if we ask for it, as far as we will follow. But we have to count the cost – it will change our lives, make an impact on us, and challenge an easy lifestyle. How far are you willing to follow Christ?

God, here I am. Please help me to taste the difference in a lifestyle that reflects Christ and keeps maturing more like Him. God, I like quick fixes or solutions that I can handle on my own. Please help me to pursue You, with Your invasive lifestyle changes, and help me follow You all the way. To Your glory, Amen.

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