No one plans on going astray in their walk with God, but most of us end up off-road for at least a time. Some go astray and never really get back on track. What takes us there?
On the night that Jesus was betrayed, he had an extended teaching time with his disciples in the upper room and then on the way to Gethsemane. In John 16:1, he makes a very important statement that may go unnoticed. In fact, it is the key to keep from going astray.
“All this I have said to you so that you will not go astray.”
Think about the situation. These twelve men have shared an amazing three years with Jesus. These men have listened to Jesus teach like no one else on a daily basis. They have witnessed him heal the sick and raise the dead. Demons have been cast out. Lives have been changed. The authorities have been confronted. They are part of a spiritual revolution together. These twelve men believe that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah. He is their friend and their Lord.
Betrayal was about to happen.
Denials were about to take place.
A death sentence was about to be pronounced.
Crucifixion was about to be carried out.
Persecution was about to come.
These men were about to lose their friend, leader and Lord.
None of them expected these things.
They had found the Christ! They were his disciples! The Kingdom was coming!
This would have to mean that life would be full of blessing moving forward… wouldn’t it?
Jesus loves his men and so he takes care to prepare them for what is to come. He tells them what is about to happen so that they will not go astray.
So what is it that leads us astray?
Misunderstanding the events of our lives.
I have seen so many people draw horrible conclusions about themselves and God because of the things that have happened to them.
I have done the same thing.
Usually, we settle on one of two verdicts: I have failed. God has failed.
I trend toward heaping guilt and blame upon myself, but it is easy to question God, too. Why didn’t he come through? Why did he let this happen? I thought I was supposed to be able to do everything through Christ who strengthens me? I thought God blessed his children?
Did God blow it or did I blow it?
Either answer can lead you into a dark pit.
Jesus wanted to spare his disciples that pain and confusion. He had a big mission for them. He could not afford them going astray and getting lost in the woods.
Therefore, he prepared them. He prepared them with truth. This is what is going to happen. This has to happen for me to accomplish my purposes. God is not falling short and neither are you.
The disciples needed to hear those words of truth so that they could make sense of what was about to happen and get on with the mission at hand.
The same is true for us.
Here is the problem: We have a myopic view of the Scriptures. We pick out all the warm and fuzzy passages that promise life and blessing and provision. Those are the popular sermons too.
Everyone wants to hear how good it is to be a Christian.
But, what about the Christian who has a knife to his throat in the Middle East?
What about the Christian who loses her business for taking a moral stand?
What about the Christians who just lost their child to cancer?
Who failed…God or them or is there more to the story.
There is so much more to the story.
The sad part is that we have the whole story. An honest reading of the Bible cannot yield a trouble free version of Christianity.
Do you know that the Bible promises that we will have trouble?
Do you know that the Bible promises that we will be persecuted?
Do you know that the Bible promises that we will be hated?
Do you know that the Bible tells the story of imperfect churches with lots of dysfunction?
Do you know that the Bible tells the story of men and women who were favored by God yet they suffered terrible loss?
Do you know that the Bible tells a story in which you have an enemy seeking to destroy your life?
Jesus has prepared you and me in the same way that he prepared the twelve disciples to not go astray. He gave truth.
So…read all of it. You must go beyond an inspirational verse for the day. The only way that we can be prepared for the world that we live in is to understand what God has said about it. Study the entire counsel of God! Be prepared.
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