Jesus presence is challenging- we all must admit that, because for us to believe He is who he said he was leaves us with the challenge of “What are you going to do with this? How are you going to respond?”
I on this have given three examples of people in Jesus’s day that let their own ambitions keep them from responding. Sure unbelief is a problem for many, but these people it was not the only thing holding them hostage, infact they may have been more convinced of Jesus being who he said then they led on- but there is often another heart issue we all as human’s face, our desires vs His plan/ and when these both are conflicting, we may even try to rationalize what we know away because we fear the implications.
It’s very human problem- Jeremiah says “The heart is deceitful above all things, who can understand it, who can cure it.”
Yet when we receive the Gospel through true and saving faith, turning from our old ways of sin and self will that have so often hurt us the most, and others- and then believe the Gospel and let Him lead- we are given a “New heart”- “I will give them w heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone” Ezekiel says.
So at the moment we are converted, God’s Spirit comes to reside in our hearts- yet even as Christians who are as 2 Cor says “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation, the old has gone and new has come” we may still have a struggle with certain things Jesus wants us to do, or lay down, and we have a new mindset that desires to please the Lord and loves him yet sometimes we still have desires and let our wills conflict.
That is why Paul says “Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” but so often there can be a tug of war- after all we still have a physical body and must by God’s power rule over it by self control, we still have dreams and goals, not all are out of God’s will either but there is often patience and trust we must feed and we should praise God for his goodness as opposed to grumble.
Sometimes God does not answer a prayer for even a normally good thing with a yes right away/ sometimes it is “No, I have a better plan” but often, “Just patiently trust me and wait”
But these three groups below let them be held back/ we even see
(All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)
Luke 7:29-30 –
So sad, you do not want to get to the end of your life and then realize “I rejected God’s purpose for my life” like these Pharisees. Some wait until the sun is setting in their latter years to finally embrace Jesus and by then they look back on all their lost time. Some sadly do not even come to him at all, and forfeit life and eternal life to come. They settle for a wasted life here and miss out on eternal life to come.
This is not a hell fire and brimstone message but it is an attempt to make people consider, you want to live filled with purpose and not miss out on what you could truly have because your afraid of what it costs. Yet Jesus says “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his soul”
Jesus gave the invite to a rich young ruler who came to him:
A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:18-27)
In one account of this story, it says: “Jesus looked at him and loved him” and we can see the almost sadness cover Jesus face to when this man let possession and prestige and power hold him back.
Reader, are you holding back? If so ask yourself why and just by yourself take a fearless inventory to introspect your own heart. Jesus did not force this man to do anything yet he was sad he missed out.