Lack of understanding, of reason, is not many people's barrier to following Jesus. Many people understand all too well.
We understand that if we are convinced that Jesus is Lord, then Jesus is Lord. We understand that to follow Jesus' message of "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" is to completely turn away from the life we have led. And, quite frankly, many of us do not want ot turn away from the life we lived before.
A lot of us see the house, the friends, the stuff, the entertainment, the schedule, the achievements, etc... and become convinced that we can live a good life without the one who gave us life. Yeah, in the back of my head, I know that many women featured in pornographic videos are abused, diseased and have relationship trouble, but I like watching them. Yeah, I know that lusting after other women hurts the one I have chosen over all others, but I'm a man and certainly not the only one who strays every once in a while. Yeah, I know the effect that my divorce will have on my children and make them more cynical about the prospect of real committed relationships, but this just isn't working anymore. Yeah, I know there are many people who need my help, but that sort of thing doesn't pay very well and I have to keep myself busy in order to have the things that I want. Yeah, I realise I owe a lot of money, but I am used to a certain lifestyle so I have to keep spending. Besides, that person will be paid back by someone eventually. That person deserved my insult and my temper. That company makes enough money, so using their product without paying for it isn't that big a deal. Why should that person have what I want and don't have?
On and on and on...
Many of us have seen the enemy and the enemy is us. We sometimes dream of the life we should be living, of a world we would want to live in. But, when we seriously think about the solutions, we flinchingly consider the problem. And, when everyone is responsible, no one is responsible. If I clean up my act, I become a sucker because there are billions of others who operate under a different code than I would. They would certainly take advantage of me.
Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Is this my fate? Am I content to be part of the problem? Am I content to never have integrous relationships? Am I content to throw my hands in the air and give in to the pattern of a life without hope?
If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.
Jesus proclaims this does not have to be my fate. He will provide a way. He cuts through all the lies. He shines brightly in the darkness. He came to meet me and rescue me. He came so that I would be a son, not a slave.
And, according to Jesus, being his follower must be continuous. He never prescribed a one time religious ceremony that would make us his disciples. If we continue in his word, we are truly his disciples. If we follow what he commanded, if we have his attitude, if we follow in the path that he has shown us, if we trust that he is truth, then are truly his disciples.
We will then be able to discern truth from lies, purpose from folly, life from death, wisdom from foolishness. And when we are able to acknowledge that we are slaves and that we do want to be free, then we will be free indeed.
Father, thank you for your love. I've grown up in this world. I've quickly learned the pattern of the world. I've been all too willing to accept the lies in order to have the things that I wanted. Thank you for showing me the truth through your son. Thank you for your patience and grace as the things that I now want are slowly becoming the things that you have always wanted. Help me not to grumble. Help me not to long for the slavish existence of the past. I am responsible for my life. I know that all my feeble excuses will pale in comparison to the pain I have caused to my neighbour and my God. Thank you for sending your Son so that I could become a man. Thank you for setting me free. Amen.