In the past couple of years, we have become a culture obsessed with super powers. Thor (technically, I guess he’s from another dimension or something), Captain America, Iron Man, Superman, Spiderman, and The Avengers have all become movie franchises. We are revisiting fairy tales in the television shows of Once Upon A Time and Alice In Wonderland. I think we like the idea that there are heroes to conquer the evil and in the end it is usually about power or magic or wishes that can make everything better.
Wouldn’t it be great if it worked that way with our students really going “all in” for Jesus? I would love it if I could wave a wand or shoot a web and that is what finally would save them from themselves. Instead, when the Lord made the decision to give us a CHOICE to be His, there went the ability to mind-meld anyone into following Him.
Have you ever noticed however, that some students seem to be “stuck” in a circular line of questioning? They want to know how bad things can happen to good people, why they doubt, or why God doesn’t answer their prayers the way they want us to. We sit and listen. We answer the best we can. We pray with them. Two weeks later they have the same questions. Some are genuinely looking for answers. Others are not seeking a relationship with God. They want a vending machine.
Truth is the cost of following Christ is a high one, worth everything. So how do we navigate this road with our students as we press them to understand life with Christ starts TODAY for all of us? I think it starts with two questions:
1. Will They Seek God?
One of my own children went through a major faith crisis a couple of years ago. She doubted all she had ever been told or believed about Jesus. I told her about the little known cousin of Jeremiah 29:11 – Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” I asked her if she was willing to press in and seek if this Jesus was really who He said? I told her that it wasn’t a formula but she needed to talk to HIm in prayer, read her Bible because that is where God wrote out His thoughts for us to see, and be willing to ask God the really hard questions. It was/is a journey for sure. It was a time when I had to make sure she knew that there are parts of all of us that have doubts, but that is different than unbelief. I had to keep pointing her to wait for HIm to answer and see what He did.
2. Are they willing to give up “self” in the process?
I read a great article on doubt recently. It pointed out that many of us want to use questions as an excuse to keep living our own way. I can see this in some of my students who keep saying, “God is silent.” He is sometimes, and that is hard. However, many want to keep doing life their way, and ask God to bless it- whether it’s His way or not. He is not a vending machine or Santa or a Genie in a bottle.
Bottom line is that transformation into a “fully devoted follower” takes time. We may only get to see one part of a student’s journey. There is no super-power other than choice that we can wield. There is no way to “make” a student “DO” anything. However, we can keep pointing them to the omnipotent Savior who is better than any imaginary character.
How are you seeing your student’s transformed?