Monday, May 18, 2009

Divine Refusal

I am learning, over the years, to handle expectations.  People often want me to read this book, check out this article, get involved with this cause.  Sometimes it is right on track and very helpful to me.  But sometimes it is not.  It is all good stuff, but it is not all stuff that God calls me to do. 

Last week I wondered, “What if I refuse to meet these expectations?”  Jesus often refused to do what people asked or expected him to do.  I went through the book of Mark (and some other passages) and found numerous times when Jesus refused to do something others expected of him.

He refused to get involved in an argument between brothers (Luke 12:14).  He refused to control his disciples’ obedience to Sabbath laws.  He refused to come when his family called him.  He refused to let a healed demoniac travel with him.  He refused to appoint James and John to his ruling cabinet.  He refused to tell the Pharisees where his power came from.  He refused to testify at his trial.  He refused to drink wine mixed with myrrh as he died on the cross.

The key is that Jesus allowed only the Father to direct his actions.  The Holy Spirit led him.  Jesus did not explain himself or apologize for any apparent neglect.  He always treated people with love, even when he was harsh with them.

 Of course Jesus had his critics.  They did not understand why he would not follow convention or bow to the wishes of others.  It made people mad.  But Jesus was not afraid of that.  He had a mission from the Father, and he would not be diverted from it.

 I need to stay in such close relationship with God that I have a real sense of his calling upon me.  Then I can know what God wants me to do and to refuse to do.  And, like all of us, I will have my critics.  But there is a real sense of freedom in knowing that I only need to please an audience of One.