Jesus Never Ran
By Anne Peterson
“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” - John 6:38
Jesus came to earth to do the will of his father. He tried explaining this, and they tried killing him. They thought Jesus was being blasphemous, but he was telling them the truth. He even explained that the Son could do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does (John 5:19).
In the same way, Jesus has explained how those of us who have accepted Jesus are dependent on him, much like a branch is dependent on a vine. And he tells us “Without me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). May I confess something to you? I think I have not fully believed this verse, and instead, I have translated it 'without Him, I can do less.' Often, I will charge ahead and do things in my own strength instead of relying on the Lord. And then when my strength gives out, like Peter who slipped down when he took his eyes off the Lord, I call out to Jesus.
I used to pride myself on all that I could do, and when I was worn out, instead of going to the Lord for His strength, I would power up and keep pushing myself. It was like those I had seen around me who would wear busyness like a badge. The busier I was, the more effective I was, right? No. I found out instead that I was wrong. Dead wrong.
Don’t be conformed to this world.
Instead, I found verses where Paul instructed us. We were not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Then we will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will (Romans 12:2). The temptation is great to just follow those around us, but we are to emulate the Lord, and he was like his father.
God gave Jesus strength.
Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he had lived on earth as a man, subject to the same things we are subject to. Jesus had to nourish himself, he had to rest, and even Jesus was tempted as we are tempted. When Jesus needed strength, he would draw himself away from the crowds and spend time with his Father (Mark 6:46).
Jesus depended on God’s Word.
When Satan drew Jesus into the wilderness to tempt him, Jesus quoted scripture. Jesus responded, “It is written, Man shall not live on bread alone.” (Matthew 4:4) If the very Son of God depended on God’s Word, how can we think we can answer the deceiver when he tempts us?
Jesus was in step with the Spirit.
One mistake we can make as Christians is to pray about something and then become impatient waiting for God and choose to run ahead. I’ve been guilty of this in my own life. I will do something and then ask God to bless it. But God wants us to wait on Him, and he tells us this repeatedly in scripture. Being in step with the Spirit means we keep in step with God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:16). When I think about Jesus being in step with the Spirit, it dawned on me one day that no matter what was going on in Jesus’ life, and all he had to do, Jesus never ran. He could have, but Jesus was always waiting on God’s timing.
Jesus didn’t lean on his own understanding.
God tells us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and to lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). But I have leaned on my own understanding with my whole heart. And instead of acknowledging God in all my ways, I try to figure things out by myself, and then I ask God to work. It’s no wonder I don’t recognize God’s leading. I don’t wait for God.
God’s not done working on us.
Paul tells us that God who began a good work in us will perform it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). That’s good news for us. It means there’s still time for us to learn how to walk with the Lord. We are works in progress. One day we will look like Jesus (1 John 3:2).
Intersecting Faith and Life:
Are there areas in your life where you try to run ahead of God? Do you struggle with acknowledging God in all your ways? Each day is a new day to trust God. And God invites us to go to His throne room where we will receive mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus often went to God’s throne room. Jesus, who never ran.
Lord, I pray for anyone who is struggling to trust You. Father, remind us of your presence every day. Help us to spend time alone with you, so your Holy Spirit can remind us of your truths. Lord, give us strength when we feel weak, we look to You Lord, and we pray this in your Son’s precious and Holy name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Tattered (a poem by Anne Peterson)
Lord, I'm feeling tattered,
in places even bare.
And where I used to feel so strong,
my strength's no longer there.
And then he takes me by the hand
"Don't you see
that when you're weak,
I'll be your strength,
if you just trust in me?”
For Further Reading:
Do a Bible study on the time when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness - Matthew 4:1-11
Read my article on Crosswalk: ‘Fear Not for I am With You” - True Bible Meaning of Isaiah 41:10
Photo credit: Unsplash/Daniele Franchi
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker, and published author of 16 books. Her most recent book is Always There: Finding God's Comfort through Loss. Anne has published 42 Bible Studies and numerous articles with christianbiblestudies.com. She has been a regular contributor to Crosswalk for seven years. Visit Anne’s website at annepeterson.com and sign up for a free eBook or visit her Facebook page. You can also subscribe to Anne’s YouTube channel where you can watch her recite her poems and share her heart.
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