“So blind and adulterous is my heart! Lord, have mercy on me!” I want to love Jesus fully, but feel like I can never make it.
Jesus gives me hope. The Gospel according to Mark has become ever more a deeply cherished sacred biography that speaks into the brokenness of my life. I am half-blind and half-faithful in my relationship with the Loving, Sovereign, Mighty God who gave Himself for me.
I am half-blind in my view of God’s world. I can only lean on Jesus’ mercy and grace, revealed through His healing of the blind man at Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26). The blind man said upon Jesus’ first touch, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking”. How I need Jesus’ continuing touch upon my spiritual eyes, opening them and restoring them, so that I can see this world more clearly as God sees it!
So often, I am inclined to see people in their roles and stereotypes, rather than their beloved personhood, as humans marvelously made in the glorious image of God. Worse still, my deceitful heart persuades me to define myself in terms of my roles too. The roles then lead to temptations to keep up with the image of those roles—what to say, how to say it, what to wear, what fits the expectations of the world. I am not proud of this. The apostle Peter was not proud of his follies too. But Peter in his authenticity would confess his follies and learn to boast of the living hope in Jesus Christ, through whom God’s people received God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness. Therefore, I must pray: “Lord God, please remove the scales from my eyes so that I see people as God’s beloved, not as walking trees!!”
I am half-faithful in my relationship with God. I have high aspirations to live a holy life, but I fail badly. This is clearly so when I try to live my Christ-redeemed life partly by relying on my own securities, titles, education, competencies and strengths. This is a huge danger for everyone who has anything to boast about. Our wealth (what we have) and our competencies (what we can do) can so easily minimise our being—our trust and dependence on the Lord God. We have been enamoured by God’s gracious gifts, but have forgotten God the Giver and our identity in Him. There is nothing wrong with having much and doing much, as long as our confidence is built on the foundation of our life being hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3-4), and we faithfully steward our time, talents and treasures for His glory alone.
Yet this continues to be daily challenge, like what we see in Mark 9:30-37. Soon after Jesus’ second foretelling of the way of the cross for Himself (and likewise for His disciples, cf. Mk 8:34), they argued with one another about who was the greatest! They missed Jesus’ teaching—and so often I missed it too.
Jesus did not give up on His disciples. He knew what they were made of. Yet, He forgave them and entrusted to them the mission to proclaim the good news in His name. Today, I bow once again at the feet of our Lord Jesus:
Merciful God, please forgive me. Change and cleanse me for I am a part of this “adulterous and sinful generation” (Mark 8:38). In my unbelief, Lord, help me to believe. In my partial-faithfulness, Lord, grow my faithfulness to deny myself, take up my cross daily and follow You (Mark 8:34). Thank You that the blessed assurance I have is that You, Lord, are wholly faithful to keep me for life eternal as You keep me abiding in You. Amen.
Written by Pastor Adrian Chan
For further exploration to know the God who calls us to the fullness of life in Him, please check out the following recommended resources.
Mark 8:22-26 (Jesus heals a blind man in Bethsaida)
Mark 8:34-9:1 (Jesus’ call to the crowd and His disciples alike)
Mark 9:30-37 (Jesus’ disciples missing the point about the way of the cross)
Psalm 49 (Wealth cannot never save our souls)
Isaiah 57:3-13 (Israel’s adultery and idolatry lead to futility and God’s judgment)
Jeremiah 3:1-14 (Adulterous, unfaithful Israel called to repent of sins and return to God)
“Don’t Hold Back”, by Rev Tan Kay Kiong: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/1562
“I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”, by Rev Tan Kay Kiong: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/1264
“What Does It Profit If You Gain the World But Lose Your Soul”, by Ps Valerie Chan: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/940
“Delusional Discipleship”, by Rev Barney Lau: https://sermonresources.cefc.org.sg/file/781
“Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me”, by CityAlight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zundjUFazfg
“Just As I am (I Come Broken)”, by Travis Cottrell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEUsOXdTLlM
“Follow Me”, by Kelly Willard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdesAwnlqWw