Are You Seeing Yourself in the Picture?

“Jesus replied, ‘I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.’” (John 1:50 NLT)

When I was in youth ministry, I took a lot of pictures and Super-8 movies (yeh, I know, I’m really old). The movie camera didn’t have sound, so a couple of the guys in the youth group would add their own soundtrack. One of the most well attended services we had at the church was when we showed pictures or had a movie of one of our recent activities. Why was that?

Because the kids wanted to see their own pictures. We’d invite parents and prospective students to attend as well, hoping to entice them to become a part of the youth group. Why was seeing their own pictures such a draw? Because that’s how we’re wired. With few exceptions we’re the most important person in our universe. Ron Hutchcraft made an interesting observation when he said: “I find that people never really get interested in a picture until they see themselves in it.”

Do you realize you’ll never be compelled to love and serve Jesus until you see yourself in His “picture?” Until you envision yourself walking with Him, loving Him, serving Him. For far too many today the idea of being partnered with Jesus is unimaginable, but for me, in this season of my life, I can’t imagine NOT being with Him every second of my day.

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Jesus has had His eye on you since before the foundation of the world. He envisioned you receiving His invitation to follow Him, and joyfully yielding your life and allegiance to Him. When Philip, the one whom Jesus saw under the fig tree, understood that the Messiah, God in human flesh, saw him, knew him, understood who he was, how he felt, and what his God-inspired dreams and aspirations were, he gladly responded to Jesus’ invitation to follow Him.

He courageously invested everything he was into everything he believed Jesus to be. He couldn’t wait to stand by His side and yield his life to Jesus’ Lordship. Wherever Jesus was that’s where Philip wanted to be.

How about you? Can you see yourself walking life’s pathways with Jesus? He sees you! Just as clearly as He saw Philip under the tree, He sees you in the activities of your daily life. Just like Philip, we have dreams, desires, hopes, aspirations, and for Philip they were all satisfied in his walk with the Lord. I’m not sure I had many dreams when I was younger.

Being a very average student, I didn’t see myself as “college” material, but when I met Jesus, He had plans for me that I never imagined for myself. And it doesn’t matter your age or station in life. If you’re alive you have a purpose. Jesus is the real deal.

It’s not about religion, keeping rules, or checking boxes, it’s always and only about Jesus. Following Him becomes the adventure of your life. Anyone who believes life is boring doesn’t know Jesus. He’s the only One who can give your life meaning, purpose, adventure, a reason to get up in the morning.

Being in the proverbial “picture” with Jesus is all that matters to me. Submitting to His authority in my life has freed me to be more than I ever imagined I could be. Over the years I’ve written hundreds of sermons, and it was challenging and, on many levels, deeply satisfying. But having the privilege of sharing these posts with you is a dream come true.

Are you seeing yourself in His picture yet? He loves you and will fill and empower you to become the person you were always meant to be.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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