“I will always….” “I would never…..” Have you ever heard yourself say these things? So many of us say something like that when we first have a passionate experience of God’s love in our lives and we are so on fire for Jesus that we know we will always follow him and nothing is going to keep us from following him. We sound like Peter in Mark 14:26-31. We are so sure that we will always follow Jesus.
I challenged our congregation to take the 80 days between the start of the New Year and Easter to spend the first 15 minutes of the day with Jesus. You can see the post about the first 15 and some of the great ideas that people came up with to help everyone get started. So many people were fired up and you were sharing how important starting your day with Jesus was for you. Some were reporting real life change because of the change in their attitude when they started your day with Jesus. Then life happened. Over time some of you started sharing with me how you just kind of fell away. Some of you missed it, but something was getting in your way.
Trust me, I understand. As I sit in my office I stare at all of my journals from different experiences where I committed for short times to spend time with Jesus. I loved those times. There was ne for the academy for Spiritual Formation, which was a time where I spent an hour each day in prayer and journaling. I grew so much closer to Jesus during that experience. Then life happened and I fell away. The good news is that I did have those experiences and I am deeper in my spiritual life because of them. It’s easier to get restarted and I long for those times. The hard part is getting over the guilt.
That’s the really good news of Easter. Jesus did rise from the dead. He took all of our guilt away. He did go and find Peter to have breakfast and forgive him. John 21:15-19. Jesus even reminds him that Peter the one who fell away and denied him, is the one who is to feed his sheep. The good news is that every day can be an Easter for us if we start again and begin feeding his sheep. Each of us has a calling and gift from God to be used to touch someone. Even if you have had life happen and fall away for a season, Jesus understands. However, he is also coming to you saying, “It’s time to start again, feed my sheep.”
I think I have a journal to start online and a new Bible app to try again. Will you join me? I make no promises how long I’ll make it until life happens. It’s better than to say, “I will never fall away from following Jesus daily.” However, I also know that while I’m doing it, nothing is better than the sweet spot of following Jesus and hearing his voice guiding my way. Will you join me this Easter in feeding his sheep?
Pastor David Stewart
David Stewart is the Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Poplar Bluff, MO.