Getting Away From Our Excuses to Experience Christ
Getting Away from it All to Experience Christ: Part 4
Mark 7 and 8 unveils some very basic principles of pursuing a genuine spiritual life in Christ. They all involve a common theme—getting away from our daily routine to experience the reality of Christ. Are you ready? So far we have seen Jesus helping us get away from our religious traditions, our tribal groups, and the outward crowd. Now Jesus shows us how to be freed from our smallness. One of the biggest hinderances to our Christian experience is our limited view of what the Lord can do in us and through us.
Seeing the Environment the Lord Gave You
"In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples and *said to them, “I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance.” And His disciples answered Him, “Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?” (Mark 8:1-4)
Just look around at the people and circumstances that surround you. Probably there are two things true: 1) The Lord Jesus is filled with compassion for you and the people around you; and 2) You feel there is not much you can do about it. We all need spiritual food---the experience of Christ inwardly supplied to nourish, comfort, and empower us. But we may feel that we can’t do much about the needs of those around us because we all seem to have so little. Let's read on:
The Lord Multiplies What we Have
"And He was asking them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” And He directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people. They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well. And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. About four thousand were there; and He sent them away. (Mark 8:5-8)
What do you have? Seven is a small number of loaves, but seven in the Bible denotes a full number, a complete number. Whatever you have in you right now spiritually is completely enough for the Lord to use, if you are simply faithful to give it to Him in prayer, and give it to others in service. That is all! The Lord does the rest!
Once a brother and I were sent to preach to some believers in a certain city. That day we got together and prayed and fellowshipped, but we had no idea what to share. It seemed we had nothing. Even while driving there that evening, our prayer left us wondering what we were going to speak. We arrived, greeted the believers, and we looked at each other, wondering if this is going to be an embarrassing and wasted trip. I decided to trust the Lord, and just begin. Without any forethought I said “Let’s open the word to John chapter 3”, not knowing where this was going. I began reading the story of Nicodemus, and my brother continued. As we spoke, the Lord revealed to us an amazing and rich exposition of this well-known encounter. Not only was the gathering of hungry people supplied and nourished, but the brother and I were richly fed! We realized the word came from the Lord in a supernatural way. Sure, we had a little bit of food scraps in us. But we were faithful to just trust the Lord who blessed, broke, and distributed to the believers a rich feast, with plenty left over to fellowship and share with others.
Don’t focus on what you have, but on who He is, and what He can do.
If you are a believer in Christ, you already have something of faith and love in you (Ephesians 1:15-17). The Lord wants you to exercise your spiritual gift, which every believer has, to bless someone today (2 Tim 1:6-7). You may feel you have too little wisdom, too little strength, too little of God’s word in you, too little time, too little money, too little of God’s mercy, joy, peace, etc., to bless others. You are mistaken. Just trust the Lord to bless and magnify what little you have. I have the gift of teaching. Every single time I am asked to speak for the Lord, I have felt totally empty at first. But when I am faithful to give what I have, small as it is, to the Lord, He has always multiplied His grace. Just give what you have to Him, and go out to meet someone in need. He is faithful! Don’t focus on what you have, but on who He is, and what He can do.
"As each has received a gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the multifarious grace of God" (1 Peter 4:10)
"For this cause, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sober mindedness" (2 Tim 1:6-7)
Part 5: Getting Away From Miracles
- Getting Away from Miracles to Experience Christ (Mark 8:10-12)
Even genuine miracles from God can distract us from God Himself and His eternal purpose in Christ