I hope you’re the kind of person that is able to follow the directions when you are putting things together. Even if you have a knack for such things, I hope you are still humble and sensible enough to follow directions if you have them. After all, there’s no need to make up a way if a way has already been provided.
I think of the God-provided instruction for organizing and putting together a well lived life in Jesus’ first words found in Mark, chapter 1. They set the parameters for how to fully seize each day and moment of your life.
- “The time is fulfilled.” When do we act? When the situation is perfect? When someone forecasts a high probability of success? How about right now? Jesus says, the alignment of your life to God waits for nothing but your obedience. As the song says, “Right now is the right time to serve the Lord.”
- “The kingdom of God is at hand.” What do we trust? Psalm 46 tells us God will bring consumption (wars) to an end. God will burst our bubbles. God will kick the props out from under the systems we take for granted. And, God will consume all the things our lives revolve around. John called the people to repentance because he said, “One mightier than me is coming.” Knowing the kingdom of God is at hand points us to the Mighty One in whom our trust will rest.
- “Repent.” The work of alignment and strengthening our relationship with God is ongoing so we are always being called to repent. Remember, repentance doesn’t solely mean turning away from doing wrong. Repentance defines our ‘with-ness’. Dr. Edwin Louis Cole said, “All we do in life is enter and leave.” Repentance is deciding the next place we’re going to be.
- “Believe.” If we have our ‘with-ness’ established with God, then our faith propels us to be a witness. But, our faith follows the God who “directs our paths” (Proverbs 3: 6) Yes, to believe is to be led by the Mighty One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit, not to initiate our own program or agenda. We have come to learn that “everything that does not come from faith is sin.” (Romans 14: 23)
- “Come, follow me.” Whose bandwagon are we on? Jesus said, we need to be on his. The imperative command to come is an ontological and existential decision. What kind of person are we going to be? Are we going to be a Jesus follower or a something else follower? If we are going to be a Jesus follower we need to tuck in behind him as closely as possible so that when Jesus moves we move with him, staying in step and alignment with him at all times.
- “I will make you to become fishers of men.” This is the reason we acted to align ourselves with Jesus in the beginning. We wanted the transformation to begin. We wanted to know why we were here and what are we supposed to be doing. This is it. We are part of God’s wake up team, calling people to know the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, believe, follow, and witness the powerful changes God brings to your life!