Just before starting to write this post, I felt like crying and weeping and crying some more.
I had just watched The Passion of the Christ.
It is something I like to do every year on Good Friday. I do it because I don’t want my relationship with God to be something I take for granted. I don’t want my profession to be a Christian and the life I live as a result of this claim, to be a light-hearted matter.
I want, no I need, to be reminded of what God and his precious Son Jesus, has done for me. And so here I am today having watched Mel Gibson’s dramatization of the last few hours of Christ’s life.
It’s brutal. It’s graphic. It’s thought provoking. And it’s deeply, deeply moving.
I have been moved.
I would not describe myself as a nominal Christian. Someone who attends church only on a Sunday but has no relationship with God during the week. Nor am I someone who attends only for those occasions such as Easter, or Christmas, weddings, christenings and funerals.
Nor am I what I’d describe as a tick-box Christian. Someone who attends church because it has become a routine affair in their life and they feel it’s the right thing to do, yet somehow that vital connection… that life-giving relationship is not there.
I say all the above to give you some context. I love my Father-God. I’ve fully committed my life to Christ. I am not someone playing at “churchianity”. When I attend church meetings, I do so because I want to connect with God and with the people of God… because I recognise that when you attend, if your pastor or leader is spirit-filled then there’s a protective anointing released over your life.
When I attend, I do so because I want to be obedient to God’s Word… because I want to enter that higher realm within God’s presence, which you only experience when you present yourself with other members of Christ’s body and offer a corporate sacrifice of adoration, thanksgiving and praise.
So, as you can see, I am committed. Some might even say that I’m passionate when it comes to my relationship with God.
Now I’ve watched this movie before. I’ve been touched by Gibson’s portrayal before. And yet today, something different happened to me. And the only way I can describe it, is to say that I’ve been deeply, deeply moved.
Something has shifted in my heart. A new desire has been birthed within me. A new determination to walk, even soar in life, as a purpose-driven achiever.
It occurred to me whilst watching the movie that Jesus came down from his glorious and majestic habitat in heaven, specifically to die. For me. For you. For the entire human race.
As I watched, as sorrow settled in my heart, as tears pricked my eyes and mysterious lumps formed in my throat, it occurred to me that Jesus had both pursued and achieved his God-ordained purpose. Never mind whether anyone wants to believe it or not. Never mind whether anyone wants to accept it as the truth or not. Never mind whether anyone wants to come avail themselves of his free salvation package, or not.
What matters is that he did it! My Saviour pursued his purpose and fulfilled his destiny. He was and is, a purpose-driven achiever.
Now if we accept this, then we have to accept that pursuing our purpose is not always an idyllic path, a pretty picture of success. Using Jesus as an example, let’s reflect on the route he had to travel for us. Let us consider those times when he was mocked, scorned and spat upon, when he was stripped and humiliated, when he was whipped without mercy and all within a hateful, hostile atmosphere. Does this look, or sound like success? No!
Let me reiterate – the path of success is not always a pretty one. It is not paved with primroses and daffodils. It is paved with blood, sweat and tears. And for Jesus, it was literal blood, literal sweat and for his loved ones, literal tears.
You will recall me mentioning I’ve been deeply moved. Having re-read the account of Jesus’ crucifixion and the events preceding it. Having watched Gibson’s graphic depiction of Christ’s Passion. Having recognised that only someone deeply committed to God and to obeying his will would choose to die such a cruel death.
Yes! Deeply. Utterly. Moved.
Dear reader, pursuing your God-ordained purpose and becoming a purpose-driven achiever, may mean you being at the receiving end of betrayal. It may mean someone you’ve been good to, turns against you. It may mean people who do not understand you or who see you as a threat, will attempt to discredit you, even dispose of you.
Dear reader, when the baggage of past negative experiences meet with the pressure of current difficulties, and when the vision of your future seems cloudy, burdensome or overwhelming, you might (as Jesus did) be tempted to ask God to relieve you, to take your cup of troubles away from you. We all want that idyllic path but more often than not, success requires us to travel via a thorny crossroad.
It is at this point of pressure that we face a choice. Do we back away from the path we have chosen, or do we trust God to empower us, to enable us to carry on?
Are we truly committed to our Father-God so that honouring him, obeying his will, takes priority over our own desires, disappointments and discomfort? Are we focused on the bigger picture, knowing that once we achieve success, it equips us with the means to bless others?
You are perhaps familiar with the saying “no pain, no gain!” Well Jesus embraced it. Jesus lived it. Jesus modelled it.
Having endured the pain and shame of the cross, Christ emerges as a purpose-driven achiever. He achieved victory over a desire for self-preservation. He achieved victory over Satan. He achieved victory over death and sin. He did it for you and for me.
Purpose-driven believer and dream achiever, whilst it’s right that you should pursue the best life you can live as a Child of God and be the best person you can be as a disciple of Christ, in all your pursuits, in all your endeavours, your aim in life should be for God to use you to liberate others—from pain, from lack, from sorrow, from darkness.
Dear reader, I’d like to take the opportunity to encourage you on this special day of remembrance, on this Good Friday.
I’d like to remind you that if it were not for Christ’s sacrifice, you and I would not be in a position today to take advantage of God’s goodness, mercy and loving-kindness. Furthermore, I’d like to encourage you with the wise words of one of my favourite actors, Denzel Washington, who said: don’t just aim to make a living, aim to make a difference!
Dear reader, as you pursue your dreams, consider Christ’s example and remember—to be a purpose-driven achiever is to make a difference to the lives of others—whether family, friend, or foe.
Wishing you a happy Easter!
“…If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” – Albert Schweitzer
PS: Have you been to my Easter Blog Hop party? No?
Then don’t delay – hop across today!
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CREDITS: All the above CCO images are courtesy of Pixabay.com