“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to [Jesus].” – Luke 15:1
It was almost a month ago that I wrote about some of my thoughts on this verse here. I still read this verse and pause. There is a conviction that comes to my heart as I read about these tax collectors and sinners drawing near to Jesus, because often I do not.
I know Jesus is my Savior.
I can tell you how amazing He is.
I can tell you about the times I spend with Him in scripture.
He feeds my soul.
He is the giver of life.
I can tell you specific stories where He has met me in my need
But when I read this passage in Luke, I felt my heart sink as I realized that as much as I know all of this, I don’t always choose to draw near to Jesus.
I am easily distracted.
I want to be entertained.
I am thankful that His love for me is not conditioned on my performance. I am thankful that He has perfectly drawn near to the Father on my behalf. And, I am thankful that His Spirit reminds me that I need to draw near to Him
not out of obligation,
but because I NEED Him every minute of the day.
I am also thankful for a friend’s encouragement to read through the New Testament chronologically this year, one chapter a day. five days a week. This journey has pushed me to draw near to Jesus. It is April and we are still in the gospels, the first four books of the New Testament. I am not rushing through but slowing down to see Jesus even more clearly. This is a gift.
I am also thankful that my church is studying the gospel of John this year. Each week, our pastors take us slowly through John’s account, reminding us that the purpose of John is “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:31).” Oh, how good it is. You can find most of the messages on the website here or you can watch the Facebook live videos. Each week is a gift.
This past Sunday, we were in John 6:60-71 when many of Jesus disciples chose to leave him. He looks to the 12 and asks if they want to go too. I love Peter’s response:
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (verse 68).”
I want this to be my response to Jesus.
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit would work in my heart, conforming my desires to His desires. My prayer is that I would choose to draw near to Jesus rather than other things. My prayer is that I would encourage others to draw near to Him as well.