This blog is from my young friend, Ben Jackson. After reading his blogs and hearing his story, I wanted to share one with you. He is a testimony to the powerful influence of Godly mentors and to the incredible influence of a Godly mother who pointed him toward Christ and who never gave up on him, even during the tough years.
Instant gratification and contentment are daily stumbling blocks in my life.
Boy, that was a depressing first statement, wasn’t it? Let’s try that again.
When I was a little boy, I always wanted to be a big boy. When in middle school, I couldn’t wait to be a high schooler. In high school, I couldn’t wait til I graduated. The X’s and O’s changed through the years, but the desires never did. I’m going to try and assemble my thoughts as well as I can here – what the Lord is showing me in my life currently – and it is a strange blend of rest, seasons, thankfulness and his holiness.
This past year brought more challenges than I bargained for. The physical, earthly things were manageable – full time job, full load of college classes, volunteering with Young Life – but I battled contentment inwardly. I did not want to live in Sumter this year. I was unhappy, and felt like I was missing out from all the “big college” fun that so many friends of mine went off to experience. It doesn’t sound like I battled too much – it may sound like I was simply feeling sorry for myself (which I was). But what I came to realize is this: for weeks and months into this year, my sin was dominating me.
And then comes Jesus.
God’s promise in 2 Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
Everything that is in our life – at this very moment – is everything we need for a godly life. It’s here. There’s no waiting until tomorrow – there’s no wait until church next week to get spiritually revived. Everything that we need is here and now. How convicting these words are as I type them! Even today, I fall miserably short of a godly life.
This time of rest in the summer is a wonderful thing. The Lord has heightened my senses to his presence, I am loving the time I spend with kids through Young Life, and I don’t find myself cramming any devotional time with him – simply because I have the extra time.
I am reading a book called “How to Stay Christian in College” by J. Budziszewski, and it is excellent. I really struggle reading books, but this is one I have been able to consistently track with (but no more than 10 pages of course; my attention span is gone by then). He wrote something that blew me away.
“God is utterly other than us – other in a way we express with the word holiness. Yes, He dwells within each Christian, but He’s not you. He isn’t the same as you, and He isn’t a “higher” you. Yes, you’re made in His image, but you’re not Him. You’re not the same as Him, you’re not a part of Him, and you aren’t a “splinter” of Him – nor will you ever be. He doesn’t depend on anything else because He is what everything else depends on. He can’t be explained by anything else because He is what everything else must be explained by. Although we can know what He has taught us about Himself, we can never comprehend Him completely because He is greater than our minds. Anything He wills, He can do. He not only holds supreme power but He also uses it. Nothing can defeat Him and nothing can happen contrary to His will. He is also supremely good – light with no darkness. Although evil is real, He detests it and brings it to judgment. He knows everything, He pays attention to everything, and nothing escapes His notice. He’s not just a What and a Who, like me or like you, but one What in three Whos – one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is no one like Him. He is set apart. He is what He is, and there was never a time when He was not.
“Do you want to know what God’s holiness means? Then meditate a while on these incidents. When Moses asked God what he should tell the people God’s name was, God said, ‘Tell them my name is I AM‘ (see Exodus 3:13-14). Then when Moses asked to see God face-to-face, God said ‘no’ because it would kill Moses (see Exodus 33:18-20). When Isaiah caught just a glimpse of the glory of God, he said ‘Woe is me! For I am undone” (Isaiah 6:5, KJV). When the glory of God came into the ancient temple, strong men collapsed (see 1 Kings 8:10-11).”
Friends, take every season with joy and thankfulness. Enjoy this season if it is a time of rest, and know that you have everything you need for a godly life if it isn’t.
Lord, thank you that you promise us rest. Give us much, much more of the gospel in every season you take us in. “To him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen.” Eph 3: 20-21
Ben is a sophomore at the University of South Carolina. He grew up in Sumter and graduated from Sumter High School. While in middle school, he encountered a situation that left him heart broken and angry with God. In the summer of 2010, Ben's mom, Lisa, signed him up to go to the Young Life camp - according to Ben, without his consent. But his mom knew what she was doing. While at camp, he came to understand his sinfulness and how it separated him from God. In Ben's words, "It was then that God reached down and saved me." After camp, Steve Pink and Rob Estridge began to pour into him. Today, he serves his God faithfully and has a passion for reaching lost kids through Young Life because he knows what its like to be lost and he knows what its like to be found.
If you would like to read more of Ben's Blogs you can visit his page Ben Jackson's Blogs.
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