I have a confession to make: I don’t really want to follow Jesus.
Don’t worry, I’m not going off the deep end. It’s just that, as I look at my life, it seems everything inside of me wants to run the other direction from what Jesus taught.
Loving my enemies is fine in theory, until I really have one. Then I want to pound him into the ground. Not returning evil for evil is a great thought, until I’m on the receiving end, then I want to dish it back in large doses. Mercy, forgiveness, making peace, and turning the other cheek are all things I’m not fond of doing.
Those things are hard. They take sacrifice and dying to myself — two more things I’m not naturally excited about. I want the benefits of following Jesus. I want the things that HE brings to ME. But when it comes time to lay down my agenda, my rights, or my desire to protect myself, I’m not so sure I’m ready for that.
Unfortunately, I can’t have one without the other. Jesus said I’m not worthy of following Him if I’m not willing to die to myself. He said I won’t be forgiven if I don’t forgive. He said that following Him would mean loneliness, rejection, and a loss of my rights. Not what you might call “brochure material.”
So I have a choice to make. Follow Him or follow my own way. It’s a choice I have to make every minute of every day. It’s a choice I have to make when it would be easier to hate my enemy than love him. It’s a choice I have to make when it would be easier to follow my natural inclinations that to live the beatitudes.
That’s hard. But, then again, maybe that’s why there are only a few who walk the narrow way.
#1 by Mark Murdock on March 22, 2011 - 1:20 PM
You’re not making Jesus sound very “seeker sensitive” here! 🙂
#2 by Jeff on March 24, 2011 - 4:45 AM
Your comments are right on target! God never promised it would be easy; in fact, words from the mouth of Jesus include “persecution,” self-denial,” “narrow,” and “die.” It was no accident that He said we should become “like our Master,” words that speak of rights denied, painful rejection, and early death. Length of life is not a good measure of godliness. “Comfort” is not guaranteed. While “joy” is poured out with buckets, “fun” seems nowhere to be found.
Quality of life requires self-discipline, personal denial, delayed gratification, all alien to our list of preferences. “But God….”
#3 by Guy on April 5, 2011 - 12:19 PM
I enjoyed reading your post. It looks like you really do want to follow…or at least you want to want to follow Jesus. that’s sort of where I am. I know it’s not supposed to be easy. The old law almost looks easier. I take comfort in Phil. 2:13 (i.e. God working in us to will and to do…)…but i must admit I don’t feel that work going on very evenly. Of course maybe I’ve got too defined an idea of how His work in my life will feel. Anyway, thanks for getting me thinking.
#4 by Dave Kirby on April 5, 2011 - 10:00 PM
Thanks for reading. Yeah, I don’t claim to have it all figured out, but as you said, I want to want to follow Jesus. I do know it means something very different from the “God in a box” way I was brought up, and I’m committed to exploring what that means.
Don’t give up. God’s grace is all you need, and it may feel and look totally different than what you expect. I have found the old law to be a dead end, because I always bang into that wall of not being able to keep it up. The freedom comes in realizing I don’t have to keep any of it up…the appearances, the image, the actions…in order to experience God’s love. In fact, the more I reject my own way, the more I experience Him.
Glad I can be some part of the journey for you!