Dictated Faith

Journal Entry // January 16, 2021

Another of the disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

Matthew 8:21 ESV

This verse always feels odd to me when I read it. It seems as though the person making this request is wanting to follow Christ and is willing to give up everything. He seemingly even makes a reasonable request of Christ that he first bury his father before he leaves to follow. Surely this would be considered a good and righteous thing to care for the family and to show respect to his father. But Jesus is firm in his response that he follow Christ first.

There are a couple of possibilities in why Jesus responded like this, but I tend to think that Jesus is making a two-fold point. His point being that following Christ is the most important decision to each and every believer and should be taken up without delay our hesitation. Burying your father was an important task for the son and involves not just the immediate burial after death, but a mourning period and another burial a year later. It would seem that this man, although seemingly committed to following Christ, only wanted to follow if he dictated the terms and timing.

How often do I do this on my own walk with Christ? I would dare say that I am guilty of this on a daily basis. I am always wanting to put things ahead of following Christ and living by faith. The calling of Christ to faith and obedience is not a casual or flexible choice. We don’t get to set the terms and we don’t get to opt in or out as we desire. No, this calling demands our full unwavering obedience. That Christ is not just an item on the list of our life. Christ is the list by which we live our life.

but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.Psalm 1:2 ESV

This is what Jesus is calling me to be in my life. My whole life should be one of delighting in the Lord. Delighting in the Lord through the beauty of his word. This word captures my heart and mind in every moment of every day – day and night. This is telling me that not only do I delight with the intake of God’s word, but I delight in the obedience of God’s word. To truly delight in the Lord, I must dig deep into his word that speaks to my heart and reveals the glory and majesty and character of my God and Father. This is the instrument of communion and relationship. But I must not only take it into my mind. It must not just be a scholarly dispassionate study of God. It’s not enough to know about him. We are to know him more intimately through his word. This only comes with exercising the knowledge and understanding we receive through his word in wisdom. Applying the truth to our heart. Letting it affect and change me. For change to happen I must let myself swim in the deep waters of faith. I must breathe in and exhale out. Putting off and putting on.

I want to be like that tree planted by streams of water. It never stops feeding of the water that brings fresh nourishment at all times. It produces fruit in season and its leaves never whither. Lord draw me closer to yourself each and every day. Work in my heart to drive out sin. Prepare in me a clean heart… A heart that only desires to give glory to Jesus and delight in the Lord.