I am slowly working my way through a book called ‘More’ by Simon Ponsonby. I bought the book just before Christmas and have just reached page 100. I am not a slow reader, but this is a book that I need to read slowly because of the way it is challenging me on so many levels. Yesterday in a section entitled ‘Handbrakes on the Holy Spirit’ I read about the tribes of Gad and Reuben who did not want to cross the River Jordan to receive their God-given inheritance because the land to the east of the Jordan appeared good. Then I read:
‘Many Christians have failed to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land. They have arrived at the Jordan but establish their lives to the east, rather than the west of it. They know deliverance from Egypt, defeat of their enemies, and live in a place of provision, but they do not inhabit the place of full promise.’
Those words have been rolling around in my head ever since. I think back to the excitement I felt when I met Jesus for the first time as a twelve-year old boy at a Christian summer camp, but I’m not sure I really understood that this was just the start of a journey. The excitement returned in my late teens when God grabbed hold of me again, and again in my early twenties when He refused to let me go. My faith has needed a few good kicks up the backside over the years, and even now it would be easy to put down roots on the wrong side of the Jordan. Or worse still, cross the Jordan and stand on the riverbank looking east and wishing I was still there.
I need to read Scripture, but I also need to read books like More that challenge me, and inspire me to keep moving. Jesus didn’t sit his disciples down in a cosy little house in Capernaum and tell them stories for three years. Instead He was always on the move. The disciples had a choice to move with Jesus as followers, or return to their former lives. If we call ourselves Followers of Jesus then it is not acceptable to remain in a spiritual armchair and consider ourselves blessed because we are comfortable. If there is one thing I have learned about following Jesus it is that following is not comfortable. It is a challenge. If I am no longer excited about my faith then what use is it to me or to God? It will be forty-seven years this summer since I first surrendered my life to God but I am still hungry. I want more.