When I got off the bus, I was on cloud nine. I had just spent the past 10+ days on mission trip to New Mexico. I had shingled a roof, spent hours talking about the gospel, and was counseling with a young man when he accepted Christ. It was an amazing trip. But two weeks after leaving the bus, life was back to normal. The spiritual high was gone. And this experience has happened time and time again. I leave conferences, have an amazing Sunday of worship, or an awesome time ministering with kids and then come home to a complaining, messed up heart? Why do we continual crash spiritually after experiencing success? And how do we fight it?
We focus upon God.
In Mark 6:7-13, Jesus sends out the disciples to spread the good news of the gospel. They proclaim that the Messiah has come. People respond to the message. Demons are cast out. The sick are healed. The unredeemed believe. The disciples are excited and they cannot wait to tell Jesus all that God had done.
But there is a problem. When the disciples get back to Jesus, the place is over run with people (Mark 6:30). There are so many people present and asking things of Jesus that the disciples, “had no leisure even to eat” (v.31). Loving his disciples, Jesus leads them to a desolate place so that the disciples can finally rest and eat. But unfortunately for the disciples, the crowds follow. And because Jesus is compassionate, “he began to teach them many things” (v.35). Finally, the disciples have had enough. They tell Jesus to send the crowds away so that they can, “but themselves something to eat” (v. 36).
Think about what is going on here. The disciples are telling Jesus to send the crowds away. They are telling Jesus to stop preaching. They have gone from a spiritual high, to complaining to Jesus about Jesus. How crazy. But yet how familiar.
We often are like the disciples. We become focused on our comfort instead of Christ. They wanted to eat and eat now. While we may not be coveting food, we can easily become consumed with our own comfort. We can be driven for a desire to have health, a higher income, a nicer house, a spouse or children. We can long for these things more than Jesus. And when we do, we stop trusting Christ to care for us. We begin like the disciples scheming for ways to achieve our wants apart from Christ. We neglect our family for another hour at the gym. We pretend to be friends with our boss so we can get the promotion. We seek to manipulate the guy next door so he will ask us out. And as we strive out on our own, we become irritable. We stop loving others. We push people away because our hearts are dominate by selfishness. We no longer care about the advancement of the gospel. We want Jesus to meet our needs and meet them now even if that means the kingdom of God must suffer. And when we get in this mindset, we crash like the disciples did.
What’s the solution? The solution is to remember how amazing God is.
When the disciples challenge Jesus, he challenges them right back telling his disciples, “You give them something to eat” (v. 37). And of course they cannot do this. And they tell Jesus it is impossible to feed 5000+ people. And they are right. And Jesus knows this.
But He also knows another reality that the disciples have forgotten. Jesus is the loving, all powerful God of the universe. While the task is too big for the disciples it is not too big for Jesus. Jesus makes the food. He makes so much food that there are 12 baskets full of leftovers (v.44).
The point is this, God can and will deliver us. We cannot provide for our needs. We cannot achieve our own comfort. But Christ can. And he will do more than we expect. The disciples wanted for 12 people. Jesus provided food for thousands.
The way to keep from crashing and the way to come back from a crash is the same. Trust yourself to God. If you want a spouse, need more space for your growing family or more income to care for your mom, do not panic. Rather, turn to the God who loves you and rules. Trust him. God does not operate on our timetable. But he does move. And when he does, he will do far more than we ever could imagine.
Are you ready to stop focusing our yourself?