We elected a new president last night. I know I just dated this blog post, and you might this minute be oh-so-tempted to stop reading it. But please, read on. I learned some things today I think will serve me well in the coming days. I learned that the name-calling, judgment-rendering rhetoric permeating posts, blogs, and tweets isn’t going to disappear even though the polling places are closed. Consequently, I learned truth and grace are essential if I hope to walk in faith in this climate of hatred and opposition.
I learned I need to spend time with Jesus.
When Peter and John were arrested and examined for proclaiming Jesus, their enemies marveled at their boldness.
Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and under-stood that they were uneducated, and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
Peter and John’s boldness came from being with Jesus. Although their ability to be with Jesus might have been easier to achieve physically, we have no less opportunity than they to be changed by Him. We do, however, have an easier time avoiding Him. Avoiding Him is what I must not do.
How do I be with Jesus in the 21st century? I choose to abide in God’s Word every day, and then pray for and submit to the Holy Spirit’s power to change me through His Word. Being with Him accomplishes infinitely more than a 500 word-count blog post can express. I offer two truths.
- As I spend greater amounts of time with Jesus, I grow to be more like Him, and He is full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Jesus unapologetically proclaimed truth to all who heard Him. And He did it with unconditional and unlimited love (grace) for every hearer. It is easy for me to err on one side (truth) or the other (grace). For far too many of my adult years, I erred on the side of truth at the expense of grace. The result was a critical and judging spirit. But erring on the side of grace at the expense of truth can result in empathy that ignores God’s standard of holiness. We need both–grace and truth.
- As I spend time with Jesus, abiding in His Word, I reveal to those who know me that I am truly His disciple (John 8:31-32). And, as an added benefit, I will know the truth, and the truth will set me free. I will know the truth about myself, others, circumstances, life, and Him; and I will know that truth will indeed set me free–free to express truth and grace in word and deed.
I posted this picture on my social media accounts the day after we elected a new president with this caption.
“I pray if I encounter you today, you can recognize that before I met with you, I’d been with Jesus.”
May this be true of me each of the coming days.
About the Writer:
Joni C. passionately enjoys sharing what she learns studying her Bible with the ladies of Refresh and Refresh@Night. Her days are best described as comfortable chaos – filled with grandchildren, a sweet mom-in-law, study time, and unexpected changes in plan. She’s also a frequent flyer to Pittsburgh for fun and cold weather chaos with her transplanted grandchildren in the north. All of this is far from the bon bons and leisure time her husband imagines her daily enjoying!