In the middle of last year, the verse that popped into my head upon immediately waking up was this one, “Foxes have holes, birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay its head.” Matthew 8:20
Why did this verse, seemingly, out of left field, come into my head? I literally opened my eyes, and as clear as day this verse was there rattling off in the forefront of my mind. I hadn’t been thinking of this verse or read this verse recently. My first reaction was, well that’s weird, “why did that verse pop up?” My next immediate thought was, “Ok Lord, I will make a point to take note and remember it.”
The next several months began a big journey into, what does it really mean to follow Jesus? Get ready! Following Jesus is costly but worth everything! When you start following him, the battle begins with the world the flesh and the devil.
Is there a spiritual restlessness here on this earth that we are more aware of when we choose to follow Jesus? Are we more aware of our alienation from this world and wanting to be rid of sin?
Augustine said, “Our souls are restless until we find rest in Him”I have always loved this quote, but something of what I was going through made me say “wait, I thought I’m supposed to be resting easy now. Why is the struggle so much greater now?”
So what is the difference between restlessness of not knowing God, not following Jesus as our ultimate fulfillment and, restlessness of our alienation in this world and longing for the next and the spiritual battle we face as followers of Jesus? Job said, “oh that my vexation were weighed and all these trials laid in the balance.”
There is a battle raging, and though we can have peace in the midst of the battle, we need to know what this looks like as a Christian soldier. Walking in faith as a Christian soldier requires courage, and what is the pre-requisite for courage? Fear. Do you think soldiers ever experience anxiety? You bet! A Christian soldier requires obedience. We have direct orders from our commander. We trust and we obey. What is the prerequisite for obedience? Submission.
A dog is the most happy, confident and content when it’s in submission to its master. The dog can even do the job it’s trained for such as a military dog or a police dog, the dog is not afraid to do the work and get in the struggle because the dog has submitted to his master and is confident. We have a master as well, a perfect, sovereign all powerful, all knowing master, and when we are in submission to Him, we can have full confidence that His providential hand is guiding us. We can face the battle courageously.
In war, I wouldn’t describe soldiers as comfortable, but they are steadfast. They are resolute. They are faithful. They are focused on the victory. They act in assurance that there is no other option to win the battle but to persevere. Our peace as a follower of Jesus in this pilgrimage is dependent on our response. Will we choose to be like Daniel saying, I will pray publicly and openly no matter the cost or like David, courageously facing the giant. Or will we be like Jonah, who chose not to obey and in his restlessness ended him in the belly of a fish. Jonah tried to hold on to his own comfort, and the comfort he thought he had, that was taken from him. Our Lord said, “Whoever saves his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for Christ’s sake will gain it.”
Biblical comfort and peace look different in light of eternity. Worldly peace and comfort is false security. Following Jesus is the only way. It will be costly but it’s too costly not to; your life depends upon it. Choose to follow Jesus no matter the cost. He reigns victorious and we can trust Him. He is making all things work together for good. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus. If you have chosen to follow Jesus, nothing can separate you from the love of God! Nothing!
Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Amen!