Let Go to Receive
Have you ever run across a scripture you memorized years ago and have it slap you in the face with the fact that you haven’t fully updated your interpretation of it recently?? That happened to me the other day…the text was Matthew 6:33—many of us already have the melody in mind. We often sang it—it was quoted in articles or messages exhorting us towards the goal of the kingdom:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” NIV
And then it hit me: I had always filed this text in the ‘things to accomplish, character to work on, another of the should-do, have-to-do, texts in my mental ‘Christian checklist file.’
But it doesn’t say that, does it? Jesus invites us to seek (or enquire into, crave, aim at, meditate on: STRONG’S DICTIONARY) the kingdom he is offering. It’s a journey of discovery, learning to lean into him because he wants to share his righteousness with us. He knows we can’t come up with righteousness—after all he said he could not do anything as a human being on his own, so he’s not going to ask us to. The secret is not in what we need to do, but what we need to let go of in order to receive.
Jesus tells us he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We humans have been blessed with mental ability to think out and plan, to find a way to do things. And in purely physical circumstances that stands us in good stead. But most of our life choices are not solely dealing with physical circumstances—most of our choices have a spiritual dimension. And that dimension comes down to the same for us as it was for Adam and Eve: who do I trust to run my life? And making the choice every day to lean into Jesus as the Way to live means we give up our ‘right’ (to use one of today’s popular terms) to be the master of our own ship. Jesus who not only knows the Way, has lived the Way but is the Way wants to share it with us—we only have to be open and willing to receive.
The society we live in and the culture around us has its own definition of truth: for some truth is based on the facts as they perceive them; for some truth is judged to be how many people one can get to believe a proposition—once enough people believe it, it must be true. In other societies, saving face is a higher value than the truth. Jesus says he is the Truth—everything humans need to be, to become, and to know about life is freely available from the Son of Man who has lived our life and lived it in integrity and truth. Again, the only requirement is that we give up our human definitions, our ‘rights’ and humbly open our hands and heart to receive his worldview of truth and integrity, not our own.
Jesus also says he is the Life—and he shares God-life, Spirit-life with us—those who are enquiring into, seeking, discovering the Kingdom. The Spirit is a precious gift we do not and cannot use, but it is a gift we can only receive and listen to:—that nudge, the ‘good idea’ that popped to mind from seemingly nowhere, the inexplicable assurance that you are not alone in trial, the scripture text that suddenly speaks to the heart in a new way, the wise words of a godly friend. The Life Jesus is and shares with us does not overpower us—it is often a still small voice, a gentle knock on the door waiting to be invited in, to be acknowledged and welcomed.
Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life. The more fully that is understood, the more useless it is to retain a ‘Christian checklist file’ instead of responding to Jesus who lives the Way the Truth and the Life out in us, as we let go of our need to do things on our own. And as we all know, that isn’t a one time, done-and-dusted decision—it is a frame of mind to be consciously adopted on a daily basis. Lord, I believe you are the Way—help my unbelief, help me let go and receive!