Clouds in the sky

Love After Life?

Clouds in the sky

It was college, 1990 something. Cher had just reinserted herself into pop culture with her hit “Do You Believe in Life After Love?” So, my suitemates at the time posed the question, “Jeremy, do you believe in life after love?” To which I replied, in a vain attempt to be cute, “No, but I believe in love after life.”

And so began my foray into well intentioned but poorly executed evangelism. I tried to explain that love came to us even after death, since Jesus promised the hope of eternal life. It was a stretch, I know. Valiant effort, but fruitless endeavor. You can’t fault a guy for trying.

We try so hard to share our faith before someone dies, forgetting that they must die anyway before they can experience true life in Him. “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed.” But, oh, the harvest when one seed decides to die to self, in the hope that others might come to bear fruit as well. It is the pattern of Christ Himself; die so that others might live.

This, though, is the death that begets life. We share Christ because He has shared Himself with us. We are recipients of His grace, and His blessings. But we don’t blithely receive; we dig in and pursue Him, just as He has pursued us. It’s the beauty of our romance. The Bridegroom has sought after His bride, and the bride can’t be but enthralled at such love displayed.

So, our response must be that of Mary, bowing at His feet in adoration and worship. Yet, we must also respond as Martha, “working out our salvation with fear and trembling.” We “work as unto the Lord.” While we have passively received His overtures of love, we aggressively pursue Him, and those who He has crafted after His image.

For those who know Him are “elect before the foundation of the world.” We have been His for all time, and in all ways, no matter our error or our wandering. And He has a people who are His own, sown as wheat among the tares. Yet, we are poor farmers who know not which is which. So, we sow; we reap. We go, we tell. “That all might know Him.” We are as “all things to all people, that some might be saved.”

There ain’t no grave, after all, that can hold those that God has resurrected. Though they die a thousand deaths, “His mercies are new every morning,” the sun rising on yet another day of life and vigor. “Though He slay me, yet will I live,” for He is our Source. Hope and joy, the new birth, emanate from Him, and invigorate those who have cast aside all that they have for the sake of this pearl of great price.

So, keep telling. Keep sharing, and showing. Let them see, and hear, and sense and feel, Jesus, who has come for them. “Shine your light among men.” Hide it under a bushel? No! Whatever mortification might come from identifying with Christ is a death worth dying. Whatever life might come from walking with Him is a life worth sharing. For He alone is worthy!

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Come to the Well…

I am a needy person. I need food, lest you face my wrath. I need sleep, lest you face the same. I need good relationships, good times of relaxation, good conversation with my wife. Right now, I need a haircut, and, on occasion, I need a new pair of shoes. The only thing that I don’t need is more needs.

The greatest need that the world has is Jesus. But I think we often forget in the church that our greatest need is the same. Sometimes I wonder that we assume, “Well, I’m saved, I got baptized; now I just need to make it through until I go to heaven,” when, in reality, we need Jesus now, right now, in this moment.

And we don’t need Him to fix our country, or fix our finances, or fix our marriage. We need Him. That’s it. Our souls crave and long for Jesus; not what He does, or even what He has done, but just Him, in His person.

At the risk of waxing boring, I’m going to reiterate the point. What the Christian needs, more than anything else, is Jesus. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” “Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you.” “Abide in me, and I will abide in you,” Jesus says. And you know what’s great about that last promise? Jesus tells us to abide, “so that our joy may be full.”

Jesus brings joy, and isn’t that we long for, joy? Jesus said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing,” and nobody wants to do nothing. We want to be useful, and purposeful. Call it legacy if you like, but we want to know that we’ve contributed to the whole, that our lives have mattered, and that we left things better than when we found them. That brings us joy. So if having joy is contingent on abiding in Christ, the Christian had better find a way to linger in the presence of Jesus, and bask in the glory of who He is.

Your greatest need today is not healing. It’s not peace, or lack of stress. It’s not even the basics, like food and water. Your need is Jesus, and that is true regardless of where you find yourself on the spectrum of faith.

The unbeliever may not know they need Jesus. The new believer may know all too well that they need Jesus. But my fear is the greatest for the believer who has walked with Jesus for some time. We are so quick to forget that we can’t simply cruise on autopilot. All that requires is our own strength, and that will amount to nothing. Instead, tap into the presence and power of Jesus by sitting at His feet as Mary, tying your life to Him as the disciples did, counting all things as loss for the sake of gaining Christ as Paul did.

But, whatever you do, don’t persist in your neediness. You’re dry and famished, and are drinking at cisterns that are not of His making. Come rather to the well that never runs dry, to the streams of living water that refresh the soul, the mind, and the body.

Have your needs met in Him. “And all these things will be added unto you.”
–Jeremy Luman

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3 Areas All of Us Struggle to Trust God With

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