[Jesus] did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person. John 2:24
My friend Matt has worked in college ministry for years. After seeing hundreds of kids come and go through college, from all different backgrounds and interests, this is what he says, “College is an amplifier.”
The new environment of college, with all of its temptations and stressors, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t really change anybody. It simply amplifies what was there in the first place.
Here’s what I think he means by that. The desires and dysfunctions you had going in, tend to be the ones that get expressed once you get there—once some of the routines and restraints of high school are lifted. If you didn’t party much in high school and then raged in college, don’t blame it on the roommate who led you astray. The desire was already there.
Now, let’s think about this new environment we’re all experiencing. Many of the rhythms and routines that gave us structure are gone for the moment. In some ways, we have more freedom, even though there’s not much “to do.” There’s more room for what’s truly on the inside to come out. No sports to watch on TV. No tournaments and competitions to run kids to. No rush hour traffic to battle.
So how are you handling it all? What is coming out now that was already there?
Jesus didn’t need a global pandemic to see what was on the inside of people when he walked this earth. The rich young ruler cared about his stuff more than anything else. The woman at the well was beaten down by bad relationships. The Pharisees thought their strict obedience to the letter of the law put them above everyone else. Jesus could always see the inside, what was underneath the outward expressions of wealth, sex, and power.
That’s where grace comes in. That’s what Jesus offered then and offers us now. Grace at its most basic level is God giving us what we need. More on that tomorrow. To receive it, though, I need to see that I really need it in the first place. As long as my hands are closed, I can’t receive much.
Sometimes I need my need amplified.
What is being amplified in your life right now?
Lord, help me to see what I can’t see so that I can open my hands to receive what I don’t think I now need.