6 Essential Insights That Jesus Teaches Us About Ourselves
1. We Desire Stability
The first time I (Jai) faced a major cyclone event in Mackay, if I'm honest, the lead up felt a little bit exciting. It was a new experience. We were busy getting things tied down in the yard, the bath filled with water in case water supply was interrupted and our safe spot under the stairs all ready. We had our food supplies, filled the car with fuel and had some spare cash on hand in case the power went out at the shops. Then we all bunkered down at home.
As the cyclone hit, we were interested to see what the experience would be like. The wind picked up, the rain started and we excitedly kept track online about the predicted movements of the storm. But then the wind picked up more and more to the point where things were getting blown around the yard and one of the screens fell off at the back of the house. As the gusts of wind continued to come with increasing intensity, the experience was not so fun anymore. I could not stop it, I had no control over what would happen next and I realised that as much as I enjoyed a level of adventure, I also like things to be within the bounds of my control. I liked stability.
We see the same thing expressed in Mark 4, when the disciples woke a sleeping Jesus in the middle of a storm while at sea. 'Don't you care if we drown?' (Mark 4:38). It's a recognition that we like stability. How do we get it?
2. We Desire Productivity
Recently I've been getting back into the garden. I'm trying to grow some pineapples. I bought 3 pineapples, twisted the crowns from the top, dried them for a few days, then into water and soon I'll pop them in the ground. Pretty simple. Late last year, one of our kids was keen to grow bananas. They got two suckers from a friend at church. Since all the rain we've had this year, the two suckers have grown significantly and now there are another 5 suckes grown next to them. The world we live in is incredibly productive.
In one of his most famous parables, the parable of the four soils, Jesus appeals to the fact that we know we're meant to be productive too. Producing thirty, sixty, even one hundred times what is sown into our lives (Mark 4:20). How do we see that kind of productivity flowing out from us?
3. Stability and Productivity Are Beyond Bare Human Ability to Achieve
When Jesus still the storm on that day in the boat, the disciples stood back and asked, 'Who is this?' (Mark 4:41). They recognised that his ability was beyond that given to a natural human being. Jesus says much the same thing as he drives out demons, and is then accused of doing so by an impure spirit, he points out that those doing the accusing are blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29). There is a stability and productivity that belongs only to the realm of the Kingdom of God. So how are these things achieved by mere mortals?
4. There Is A Cosmic Battle Being Waged In Human Hearts
In the Parable of the 4 soils (Mark 4), Jesus outlines that human hearts provide conditions for 1 of 4 things to happen as the Words of God break into this world. 1) Satan and demons pluck the word straight out of our hearts; 2) others have a go at us for believing the Words of God or we find it a bit hard, so the Words don't have the intended effect; 3) our own humans desires and worries draw us away from putting God's Word into practice or 4) we listen to God's Word and do what it says. This shows us that there is a cosmic battle being waged in our little hearts. Have you ever wondered why your emotions can be so up and down in a given day? Well this is why.
5. We Are Made To Listen and Speak the Words of God
What this tells us about ourselves is that what we listen to is so very important. Will we listen to Satan and demons, to the world around us, to our own desires or to the words of God to us. And by listening, I do not mean letting the words go in our ears and nodding our heads. It means actually putting the words you hear into practice.
'Consider carefully what you hear, ... with the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.' (Mark 4:24-25)
Jesus says that His Kingdom will grow. That even from a very small beginning, the size of a mustard seed, God's Kingdom will grow to become a mighty reality. Will we listen to this world and believe it? Or will we continue to live for the competing Kingdoms around us?
6. Listen To the Speech of Jesus, the Word
If it were all up to us, we'd be in big trouble, given the scope of the cosmic battle we're caught up in. But thankfully, it's not up to us. Jesus came into our chaotic world so that we would have the Words of God delivered and well testified to. In Mark 4, he sits with the disciples in the midst of a storm, so that he can show them what listening to the words of God looks like. God is creator and maker. He controls the wind and the waves. So if we listen to his words, we will believe that he will work out the complex events we are facing in His way and His time. Why not have a read of Jesus' words in Mark 4 for yourself, right now.
About the Author
Jai Wright is a Christian Minister, who founded and leads MAKE Church in Mackay, Qld. He recently published the book, Life Plugged In: Connecting with the Source of Peace, Power and Purpose.
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