We sang one of my favorite worship songs at church this morning. The chorus alway pierces my soul. “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back…” The Lord has been reminding me today the simple truth that He is enough. Receiving eternal salvation from Him is enough. There are several times that if I’m honest, I wrestle with feeling like the song should be, “I have decided to follow Jesus…. As long as He blesses me.” But the Truth is that Him saving me is enough. No matter what else happens, no matter how little I have, or how hard things get, God doesn’t owe me anything, but has already given me everything.
While the Lord was already stirring this simple reminder in me this morning, I was also struck with one glaring difference between everything else and Christianity. A lot of times our goal is to avoid negative things and pain. A lot of philosophies emphasis the importance of getting rid of greed etc, but the root is to get rid of the disappointment and pain that we can experience when we don’t have what we want. We go to great lengths to avoid pain. And then there is Jesus, who calls His believers to pick up their cross and follow Him. As Christians, God asks us to go I the very opposite direction of the world. He doesn’t just warn us that there will be suffering, but He tells us to expect it and ensures us that the choice to follow Him will bring more suffering. Not that suffering is fun, or that I enjoy it, but there is something surprisingly important in the middle of the junk. While human nature, philosophies and other belief systems train people to run from pain and fear, Jesus calls His followers to follow Him right into the middle of pain and destruction. He lives in the midst of our junk and searches to save us while we are trapped in the mud. He doesn’t wait for us to get out and clean ourselves up. And this is what He expects and asks His followers to do. To embrace the messy parts of life, to run into battle knowing that there will be injuries, to purposefully join the battle instead of hiding from it. What a beautiful contrast!