I run. I choose a course and prepare to run it. If a friend goes with me, that is fun. While we share the course, we are unified in purpose. Can you imagine running a course with a friend who was resistant to the course? A disagreement about the direction, pace or duration would necessitate a change of plans. Either I would have to compromise my course or we would have to part ways instead of running together. While running, we might pass another runner going in the opposite direction. Their course being completely different would have different results.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” He is making himself equal to the course. Anyone who runs with him is sharing his course. Anyone who disagrees with the direction he is going would have to part ways with him. I can’t imagine Jesus changing his plans to accommodate one person’s ideal course. He is the ideal course. Others are running in other directions and will end up somewhere else.
Then Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” I look at the commandments as par for the course. If I resisted a commandment for whatever reason, I would have to split with Jesus. I really can’t run with him if I’m going somewhere else with my life. I can certainly choose to go somewhere else, but not with Jesus.
This doesn’t leave much wiggle room for worshipping wealth, profaning God’s name, breaking the Sabbath, lying, stealing or coveting. Jesus talked about all these common sins. He also talked about being merciful, pure in heart and a peacemaker. Each of his teachings are part of his course.
I know He saved us when He died on the cross. His death promises us a resurrected body and a new life. What it doesn’t promise us is that we will abide in his love on Earth. Jesus said, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15:10)
In my own life, I’m willing to run the course with Jesus, but I’m resistant to abiding in his love as shown by others. I avoid the warm fuzzy rewards that people give each other and me. I don’t feel loved by those around me because I have built up a resistance to it. I have a negative belief that praise and gratitude are for someone else and not for me. I have thought about why I avoid this positive feedback. I think I must have questioned someone’s authenticity when they praised me. I became emotionally allergic to their words.
Resistance in myself is evidence of an injury. I don’t want to go where it hurts. Jesus says, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” I allow the pain to stop me from trusting that the course will take me to the glory God has planned for me. Jesus says to me, “don’t allow that because I will give you peace.”
Jesus said, “Love one another.” I’m ok with loving others, just not receiving love. I know it doesn’t make any sense but this is what I’ve observed in myself. My resistance causes tension in myself. It’s hard to trust with this kind of emotional allergy.
So I run the course and resist slightly. I want to go where Jesus is going so I make myself keep going even though it hurts. (I do that in my physical run too). Over time, I have tried to understand my resistance and where it comes from. In time, I’ve come to new conclusions and my perspective change has lessened my resistance. I think that faith is running the course. Hope is believing it leads to glory. Love is what I give myself when I acknowledge my fears and resistance.