60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” 61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?...
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” - John 6:60-61, 66-69
I have had a brutal meeting the last few weeks with the messy reality of incomplete sanctification. If I'm being honest, I felt something like an obese hot-dog enthusiast attempting a triathlon for the first time. This feeling is certainly not anything new, and it's times like these that make approaching the many difficult teachings of Jesus disheartening at best. Though many current popular teachers would rather itch ears than be honest, the teachings of Jesus can be flat out hard. Anyone who has taken a serious look at what Jesus demands in terms of holiness is no stranger to this truth.
In light of this, I spent some time meditating on just how far I fall short as a son, a student, a man, a leader, and a child of the King. On one particular evening, walking back to my dorm across campus in the chilly and quiet night, I found myself praying out loud, "Lord, where else am I going to go?" Confronted with the harsh reality of my lingering depravity, the temptation for me is to flee. I want to run away and find some way to fix everything and please my Father. But as I took a long hard look around, I realized that I don't have anywhere to run to. It's important to note that my so called "meditation sessions" usually involve excess amounts of condemnation. In fact, my heart is an expert condemner. I found myself like Paul in Romans chapter seven proclaiming, "who will free me from this body of death?"
I'm thankful that the Word does not stop short of real answers to these complex problems. My heart may be an expert condemner but John reminds me in his epistle that, "God is greater than our hearts." I may inhabit a body of death but with Paul I rejoice and thank God who "delivers me through Jesus Christ," my Lord. It didn't take me long to remember that the answer was not to run but to fall. My place is ever only at the feet of King Jesus in humble submission. Like Peter, I realized, "To whom shall [I] go?" I was reminded that He was the anecdote, His mercy: the cure. He has "the words of eternal life." The only thing this broken sinner, thirsty for holiness, really needed was, "the Holy one of God." Like Peter, I realized I have nowhere else to run. Like Peter, I realized what I was looking for all along was ever only in the person of Christ.
What hard teaching has left you disheartened? What failure is causing you to take off? When you find yourself tempted to flee, just ask: "Where else am I going to go?" The answer will always lead you to His feet.