Being a follower of Jesus isn’t always easy and it’s not always fun. To be very honest, it gets on my nerves sometimes. But is my life all about sustaining an acceptable level of comfort or denying my self and following Jesus regardless of the cost? To the world, God (or even the idea of Him) seems distastefully inconvenient. I wonder if, by my actions, I share that sentiment.
You know what I’m talking about: That burning swell up your spine as something or Someone gets in your way, interrupts your plans, or invades your personal space. It’s a tough blend of emotions to manage, and for me, one which is easily and sinfully justified when it should be promptly extinguished.
Let’s say I’m engaged in Situation A when Situation B presents itself to me. I have no choice but to engage this new situation, as it would be impossible to will it to never have happened. Situation B involves some element of self-sacrifice. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be an inconvenience. So I must choose Yes or No to the sacrifice of my self.
An inconvenience, then, presents a platform from which to decide if the divergent path is better or holier than the current path. For the believer, it is a choice of whom to serve, and there can only be two options: God and Self. Choosing Self always results in compounding destruction. The better and holier choice of service, the only choice that brings true joy when obeyed, is, of course, God. But that is exactly the thing that brings the inconvenience in the first place. If it weren’t something good for me to do that would ultimately conform me more truly to Jesus, would the prospect of not doing it (and thereby disobeying God) have rubbed against my sinful nature in the first place?
The heart of the inconvenience lies in the simple suffix to its inherent ‘because’, and this is where it can either be stamped out or permitted to bloom.
I don’t want to because X
I can’t right now because Y
In truth, X and Y are honest attempts at vindicating myself of the thing I refuse to do, and perhaps a futile last attempt to fully convince myself of the nonsense. An army of white blood cells is quickly sent to squelch the cancerous guilt that naturally arises from again choosing death over life, destruction over creation. I am to imitate God in the continual surrendering of my self back to God. And if I’m not imitating God, I’m imitating Adam.
Could the triggers of inconvenience actually be blotches of unholiness in my life where I am most ardently resisting transformation unto Jesus? Muted rebellions launched from fleshly fortresses of pure, raw selfishness? I’m talking micro, not macro; the gnats around my head that are easier to shoo than the incessant stray dog. The corners of the room that most desperately need a fresh coat of paint.
I’m not saying we need to give in to every inconvenience that arises, only that we need to pay attention. If I have a habit of snuffing out situations that will make me more like Jesus, perhaps I shouldn’t wonder why I’m not more like Jesus.
Maybe God turns the stream downhill on us every now and then when we need refining. When we need a lesson in choosing Him over Me. I am always less patient, less forgiving, less gracious than I could be. So He sends His streams over me, and under the torrent eventually all those ugly protuberances and knobs and sharp edges begin to wear a little smoother, more and more like Him.