Being “in the country” means sometimes you have to go the distance to find what you are looking for. Now, understand that I model the example of buying locally as much as possible. But sometimes . . . you have to go the distance. We frequently have to go north of here to see some of our doctors, and most importantly, to go see Dad. In one of these paths I inevitably have to stop at this particular convenience store; “have to” being the operative word.
You see, I have an enormous love for coffee, and I have to take a little “fluid pill” prescribed by my doctor to help with my blood pressure. Well, if you love coffee and have to take one of those demon pills–then you understand why I “have to” stop there. And out of respect for that business owner, I do purchase something for the convenience of their restroom. Now, to my gripe.
The first time I stopped there, I was in shock. This is a southern convenience store and to my horror and deep disappointment, they were no where to be seen. My heart sank and a gloomy cloud formed over my mind. My heart and mind were set on, and wanted one of these southern delicacies:
How dare them consider themselves a southern convenience store and NOT sell Little Debbie products. It’s immoral and should be illegal for a southern convenience store shelves to be bare of Little Debbie snacks! It’s the preferred snack of Coach Nick Saban! This alone should be enough of a mandate to carry them. I shouldn’t stop there; I wouldn’t stop there–if it weren’t for my love of coffee and that little demon pill. So, I stop there nearly every time because it creates an inconvenience if I don’t! What’s all this ranting have to do with the Kingdom? What’s the lesson in this? Glad you asked . . .
The influence of the Kingdom of God is waning and even sickly in the U.S. This sickness did not happen overnight–but through a process over the last several decades. It happened as Tenured Pew Sitters began longing for a ‘More Convenient’ Jesus; a Jesus that is comfortable with what they are comfortable with; a Jesus who does not challenge their views; and most of all, A Jesus That Serves Their Desire To Be The Consumer Of Rather Than The Producers Of The Kingdom Life.
And this desire for a ‘More Convenient’ Jesus by the Tenured Pew Sitters has produced a new variety of people who have diluted The Message of The Kingdom. They proudly label themselves as Progressives. They, too, want a ‘More Convenient’ Jesus. They want a Jesus that neither challenges nor inspires them to the life of Transforming Grace. But rather than being consumers like the Tenured Pew Sitters, they are producers of a message that Jesus is all love, and as such, requires nothing to change in us except that we love, and that is all. It’s not considered ‘loving’ to embrace the Christian-Judaeo morals and values–but being mean, ugly and unreasonable. Cover immorality over with love and instantly it’s no longer immoral. ‘Convenient Jesus’ does not mention sin–but angrily points the finger at any who disagree with their ‘Convenient Jesus’.
But here’s the thing: ‘Convenient Jesus’ doesn’t exist–never has–never will. Whether one is of the ilk of Tenured Pew Sitters or the ilk of Progressives, Jesus is anything but convenient. Allow me to explain with some examples from the Real Jesus:
- When the woman caught in the act of adultery was dragged before Jesus: (John 8:10-11) Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” Giving up what makes one feel good, well that’s inconvenient.
- When someone wanted to follow Jesus, but wanted first to bury his father: (Luke 9:60) But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” Jesus doesn’t want to fit into your schedule; that doesn’t sound convenient.
- When Jesus told the disciples of him impending death He called out to the crowd: (Luke 9:23) Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” Life from a cross doesn’t sound convenient. (OK 1 more in case you missed the point)
- When James and John wanted the places of honor: (Matthew 20:26-27) “But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.”Being a servant and a slave doesn’t fit into the sin-tainted game plan.
Convenience is the desire of the old heart and the old life. It is also the lie from Satan. Jesus came to create inconvenience in us so that we can be set free from the bondage of sin. Jesus did not come in our human form to make our lives easy–rather He came in human form to make our lives full and complete. And sometimes . . . well it is inconvenient. But don’t stress out–He promises to be with us to guide and empower us to the only life that really matters. The life God created for us–not the life we designed for ourselves.
Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him.