Accommodating Jesus

Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?”
 – John 6:60

Being a person of faith is not easy. Nor should it be. Too often we try to make the faith fit our lives, when in reality, it should be the other way around. The expectations and calling of God is not something that should be only worn by those who find it convenient. God loves each and every one of us and wants us so desperately to succeed. The Father sent and sacrificed His only Son to die for us so that we would each have the chance to gain something that we could almost never achieve on our own. But this is not a simple verbal yes, or a check box, or a paper to sign and forget that you agreed to the “terms and conditions” like it was the latest update for iTunes. To accept the Grace and Love that Christ gives you, you must live your life as an acceptance of this gift.

We accept positions and accolades that mean something in our lives. But if we were to accept a new position at work and then not do our new duties, forget to show up for work, or act in a manner unbecoming of that position, we would expect and understand that we should be reprimanded or even fired. Is this how our faith works? Do we see folks taking up the mantle of becoming a Christian and then not doing their job or acting the part? Since our performance review will be at the end of our lives, whenever that could be, too many fall into the trap of doing a minimal effort and expecting their initial acceptance, or in-perceivable “true disposition” in their heart will earn them their satisfactory review.

Don’t get me wrong, we are all sinners. We all fail, and many times repeatedly fail at the same things we may confess in Reconciliation. But God does not tire of you apologizing, He only fears if you will stop trying. He knows that there is temptation in the world; He felt it Himself. That is why it is so monumental that He became flesh. He knows what the world can be like. He knows that it would be seemingly easier to give up, or take a different route. But despite these weaknesses, He still asks more of us. We are called to be more. We are made up of the stuff of greatness. If we chose to live for God, we could do anything. Belief is an act of the will. Doubt is natural. First, one must decide to believe, then they can. Just because the proof is not clear, or even possible, doesn’t mean that belief cannot turn into faith, that can be unshakable.

Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, but faith looks up

The Church is full of hard teachings. To live the upright and virtuous life in today’s fallen world is no easy task. This may make you unpopular, outcast, or feeling limited. But the reward is far more immense than you could imagine. Christ told His apostles that He knew what they had sacrificed to follow Him. He reassured them that no one who had given up land or family or something else would fail to be rewarded ten times over in the Kingdom. But, I find that there are rewards to be had today too. Putting down the worries and stress and frivolities of this world can be like setting down a bag of bricks that you have carried forever.

We never need to fear the hard teachings. These teachings are full of life and hope. Most often, the lifestyle choices that these teachings seemingly “restrict” have a much larger concern at their heart and are protecting you from immense pain and hardship when things can (and often will) go astray. A hard teaching about abstinence, contraception, marriage, work ethic, slander, honesty, or remaining holy can seem hard, but if only adhered to, could truly set you free. Too many disregard these “hard teachings” and want their Jesus to be an Accommodating Jesus. Just because He loves you so much that He offered His life for you doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t listen to Him. Yes, He would forgive you, but after saying sorry, He would want to know why it was too hard to listen to. There is no good answer. The only answer is “I love you too, and I would do whatever you need me to, because I know you did all that anyone could ever have done, for me already.”

Pray for me brothers and sisters, as I pray for you.

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