This last week I have been thinking about the disciples and their time with Jesus. Their heads had to be spinning most of the time as they lived with him. What an experience, one that would be hard to describe or commentary. They spent three years with God in flesh and yet, like me, they didn’t get it. Here is a portion of their dialogue in Mark 8,
“…the disciples were finding fault with each other because they had forgotten to bring bread. Jesus overheard and said, “Why are you fussing because you forgot bread? Don’t you see the point of all this? Don’t you get it at all? Remember the five loaves I broke for the five thousand? How many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?”
They said, “Twelve.”
“And the seven loaves for the four thousand—how many bags full of leftovers did you get?”
He said, “Do you still not get it?”
What an interesting question from Jesus, “Do you still not get it?” In other versions the wording is, “are your hearts hardened?” It’s clear, from these miracles, they were supposed to understand something but they had completely missed it. They were right there in the middle of miracles and missed the purpose of it all!
A little earlier in Mark, as they struggled with the oars on the lake, Jesus came to them walking on the water and said to them, “Courage! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” In that brief statement is the thing they were supposed to get. It’s right there in the middle of three short statements. Between his admonition to take courage and “don’t be afraid” is the “secret” they (and we) are to get. Here it is- “It’s me!” In the English we miss it entirely, but in the Greek it’s once more a declaration of who he is, the very thing they were to learn from all the miracles.
“It’s me.” The two Greek words are ??? ????. In English Jesus is saying “I am”. It’s the same claim he made in John 8:58 and was nearly stoned for. It’s the same name God told Moses to use to describe himself in Exodus 3. It’s a claim to deity. As he walked on the water to these weary fishermen Jesus encouraged them. Between their lack of courage and their fears he reassured them with this- “I am” is here.
Some say that Jesus never claimed to be God, but standing on the sea of Galilee he proclaims it loud and clear, “Take courage, I’m God, don’t be afraid.” It’s the same thing he says to us, the same thing he wants us to know, because he’s God we can be courageous and abandon our fears. God is in our midst.
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I realize there is a lot more to this verse than I’ve just written, but I want to focus on this portion of it.
“I do not frustrate the grace of God…” – ……..but I do.
If I’m honest with myself, I probably frustrate the Lord more often than most. He, as my heavenly Father gives me the free will to choose. I get to choose my day, the time I spend with God, family and others. I can’t begin to imagine how frustrating I can be as I make unwise choices, such as choosing good over best, choosing less over waiting for more and choosing to not try because fear grips my heart.
What are some ways that I’m sure I frustrate God?
- Lack of faith – I want faith that moves mountains. According to Matthew 17:20, all I need is as much as a grain of a mustard seed to do so. We see simple miracles often and yet like the children of Israel; we need to see more in order to believe. We need to be reminded more often than not. Recently, Spreading JOY Corp was asked to help out someone that needed $1000.00 to avoid eviction in a week. I was certain that this family would be evicted as I have tried to raise money before and knew nothing short of a miracle was needed. I searched for that grain of faith to move mountains but felt it was nowhere to be found. Thankfully – so many heroes stepped up and gave. Not only did they help this family, but they increased my faith.
- Lack of time – We are so busy with family, church, work, housework, errands, dinner, softball, keeping the dog clean and visits with friends in coffee shops that we tend to not make time to build and strengthen our relationship with the Lord. We live in a Burger King world and want to have it “our” way – quick, easy and simple. God desires us to spend time with HIM. If our children were obedient to every single thing we told them to do and yet NEVER spent any time with us, our hearts would break. I imagine the Lord’s heart breaking when we get to busy with “stuff” to spend time with Him.
- Unworthy feelings – We are joint heirs with Christ, so why on earth do we let these feelings get in the way? We feel like we do not deserve God’s love, blessings and his power. Because His mercy and grace is renewed each day, we get to have these wonderful things, even though we feel like we shouldn’t. God wants to bless us, use us and empower us. We are made in His image and even though HE knows our heart, our doubts and fears , HE still chooses to love us – UNCONDITIONALLY. How amazing is our God?
Have you ever thought about this?
There are so many other ways that we frustrate the Lord. Will you dare list some of the ways you frustrate Him? What are you going to do about it?
What verses will help you, motivate you and move you away from frustrating the Lord to making His heart smile?
Tell me – talk to me… or am I the only one frustrating God? hmmm?