Is Following Jesus a Drag?

Yes the free gift of eternal life is good news.  Is this reality synonymous with inconvenience?  Let me put it this way: Yes.  Since it is natural to go along with the program the world sets for us, it takes a compelling truth to willingly die to desires and acknowledge an authority over us.   Here are some aspects that a Christian walk has in store for us:

Suffering through Trials
Want problems?  Sign me up.  I always want to be like the chosen ones, you know those Jews who had it easy for millennia.  I mean do they  get all the luck or what?  The Bible says plainly that whether we belong to Him or not it rains on us both.  “You mean we can’t we get a special protective leaf or umbrella held by an angel to provide shelter when we need it?” Life is hard.  There is no charmed path for anyone.  It is also a tiring battle to be rooted in God and called to be a mature example in a culture that is morally and ethically declining.

No one to blame but yourself.
It takes strength to set aside my pride and admit that I’m not perfect, I have to work on many deep flaws and need to depend on God every day.   This is difficult in a country where we are so entitled as a consumer who is used to being catered to left and right.  I have a section in my notebook where I write take home ideas and thoughts during sermons or studies.  It is titled “God is right and I am wrong” which is a reminder not to give myself credit and not take any opinion over His.

Is it all rules and regulations?
Limits = lame. Like when our parents try to protect and teach us to avoid unnecessary trouble and foolishness. Psh. Who needs that. It’s just easier to be yourself and go with the flow. Society is looking out for me and my well being is safely invested in trends and popular opinions of the day.

You mean I have to go to church?  With other Christians (gasp)?
There are days where I am unmotivated to attend service and would love to sleep in or veg out instead, the same way I would battle with classes or any form of exercise.   This has to do with how introverted and lazy I am, but I imagine there are infinite cases out there involving drama and awkwardness far more compelling.  Just like any other group, you’ll find all types of members.  We are all one family but there are those that take being a child of God seriously and there are fans who subscribe then wander off to do their own thing.  We struggle but we can encourage one another in our teaching for the best and ideal way to live for Christ.  On one hand the teaching will call us out and challenge us to be better which is never fun.  On the other hand messages unify, bring us to  freedom, and closer to God when we deal with our sin.

Things that seem to be no-no’s/ off limits:

– FML
– “My way or the highway”
– Devotion to celebrities (even Christian ones)
– Suicidal
– Conditional/ selective love
– People suck
– Drugs/ drunkenness
– “I will never forgive you”
– Revenge
– Foul language
– Sex outside marriage

It’s a pain to be aware of the fine balance between liberty and honorable behavior.  There are moments when I am tempted to say the swear words already in my head out loud.  If truth or belief is evidenced by only feeling, then I would consider myself a Christian on a handful of days.  I don’t have a sense of victory when I wake up every morning and I can’t say I always anticipate heaven without fear of death.  It takes effort to evaluate our habits and attitudes or its affect on others then consider another healthier course.

Q: So, why would you want to commit to Christ anyway?
A: Glad you asked!

Equality
Jesus offers everyone an opportunity to know Him and be in His presence forever.  He accepts and welcomes us, especially if we are misfits and rejects, because He was one also.  We are all God’s subjects; there is no hierarchy at the foot of the cross. No one has an advantage over the other. We are all part of the body that has their own part and talent such as the eye, ear, nose, etc. There is no point system counting money given or hours in church. We will all be judged and rewarded according to our heart and obedience.

(Real) Epic heroes/ villains
The Bible is hardcore.  Against it nothing can stand.
There are mighty manly examples with Joseph, Moses, Daniel, David, and Paul, to name a few.  Don’t forget Esther, Abigail, and Jael who took care of business too!
And we also get to look into all the colossal failures stemming back from Eve, the bloody side of David, the folly of Solomon and Samson, as well as the greatest traitor Judas. They are reminders that no one is less susceptible to temptation or depravity.
And then we have the 3rd act finale, Jesus’ power over death, the destruction of of Satan in Revelation, and establishing a new heaven and earth (NSFW)
Like Greg Laurie says, sure there’s Spiderman, Batman, and Superman.  That’s cute.  We have Godman!!

Transformation
There is a difference between going through life and growing through life.  Hopefully no one will stay stuck in their state lacking progress but instead renewed day by day through interaction with the word and a Christian community. Through Christ we are healed of the darkness that plagues humanity with rejection and pain. I love to hear speakers share their stories of how God made them over and lead them to unexpected people and places.  Jesus is the example and way to characteristics of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

Our worth and identity is in Christ
When the creator of the universe cares for you and says he loves you, there is nothing that can top or remove that.   We can worship external things that leave, fade or die.  The things of the material American Dream are meaningless and empty on their own.  It will cost you everything to surrender to  God, the definition of wisdom and love, but He will bring rest and satisfaction.   There is no thought or action that God does not know and yet He still wants us completely because we are broken and no sin committed is news to God who sees throughout all time.  It’s not a matter of who you are but whose and it’s wonderful when that is an association with the glorious and mighty king!

 

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