Sometimes I like to imagine myself transported into bible times. How it must have been to actually witness Jesus perform miracles, heal people, and straight go savage in the temple on the Pharisees (haaa)…it must’ve been amazing! What’s funny about Jesus is that He wouldn’t just go in on the religious leaders at the time, but He’d go in on regular people, too. Like for real, ya’ll. Imagine following Jesus with ya sandals and robe on. I’d probably have on some fly head scarf (lol). He got the flowy Brad Pitt hair thing going on, and He’s going about the city, just doing His thing while you’re close behind. As you and the crowd continue to follow Him, He turns around, looks directly at you and everybody else and says: “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. ” (Luke 9:23-24)
Whoa Whoa Whoa Jesus! Who said anything about losing their life? What the heck, Jesus? What are you talking about? I just thought you were a cool dude to follow. I didn’t think watching You meant something was required of me!
Yeah, that’s Jesus. It’s nice to follow Him. He’s awesome to behold and quite Someone to marvel at. But Jesus doesn’t just want you to stand nearby. Really following Jesus, requires real proximity, intimacy, and death to self. All things that most days, I want no part of. I’m just being honest. I have spent years calling myself a Christian, yet doing the same things over and over (insanity, I know, but still). I call myself a Christian and then still drink like a fish. I call myself a Christian and still sleep around. I call myself a Christian and bad mouth the very man or woman that was created in the image of my Creator. Who’s the Christian? Jesus was probably looking at me like, “It ain’t you. How you a Christian and the worldly Key and Christian Key look the same??” This “Christian” version of myself that I have been proclaiming for years would’ve left the early church cringing. Because in those bible days, those people, they gave their lives LITERALLY to follow Jesus. His fire disciples, the amazing apostle Paul, and many others laid down their lives and everything else…all to follow Jesus. And if they did that back then, what makes me think for a second that I can get away with my watered down version of Christianity??
I don’t know what’s happening to me lately. I have changed so much that it’s insane. The very things I used to do are literally tearing me apart. Like seriously. Most nights, I feel torn in two over things I do that I know God isn’t pleased with. I wrestle with things I know He wants me to give up. The sins that I wouldn’t think twice about are starting to crush me. I’m feeling God asking me to let go of stuff and I really don’t want to. I know I sound insane saying no to God (like you don’t do it, too), but I like to do what I want to do when I want to do it. But this walk with Jesus, ya’ll. (Sigh) It’s costing me so much. I wanna do right and then I feel like wrong is always somewhere close by.
Just this week, I messed up with something I thought I really had under control. Like I really thought I had this sin on lock and clearly, I was wrong. Usually when I mess up, I don’t talk to God for days. I just kind of go through the motions. I go to work. I make sure I do everything for the week as far as Ethan is concerned. I kinda just try to avoid God. I make sure I’m not anywhere too quiet. Because I know that once it’s too quiet, it’s over and I’ll have to face the music. Well this time, I couldn’t sleep. I seriously felt a pull in my spirit causing me to get up, and I could’ve sworn I heard the Lord say, “So, we gonna talk about it or not?” For the first time ever, I talked, like really talked to Him about it. I repented. I really repented and meant it with everything in me and after that I didn’t feel that normal guilt and condemnation crap that the enemy loves me to wallow in. I felt peace. I felt the Lord be soooo gentle with me. I wish I could properly describe how I felt, but it wasn’t like anything I ever felt before. God started revealing things to me that I’d been stressing over. He started showing me my deepest dreams in real time, ya’ll, but it was way more beautiful than what my mind could ever comprehend. I could also hear this echo in my mind to remind me that even though I messed up, He still got me. “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death” (Romans 8:1-2, NLT)
After that, I literally decided right then, I’m done for. Key has to die to self. I can’t keep saying I love Jesus and doing my own thing. I told Jesus, whatever you want, I’m doing it. Whatever I gotta give up, I’m giving it up. If that means I have to lose friends, if that means I gotta really avoid certain places, if that means I have to block some people or cut them off, I’ll do it for you, Lord. Whatever the habit, I’m giving it to you. All the areas of my life that I red taped off from God, I’m now giving Him full access to it. Because I love Jesus, I HAVE to die. There’s no way around it. It was confirmed that night I repented. It was confirmed when I went to our church’s young adults ministry meeting earlier. To hear our minister say that we shouldn’t want to sin anymore because we love God, because we are thankful for what He did to save us, because He is such a great great Father….that DEMOLISHED my heart because that right there is why I’m undone. That right there is why I will trust Him with my life and my heart. Jesus gave up all of Himself for all of me to make sure that I got salvation. I. can’t. live. the. same. It’s a true spiritual and sometimes physical struggle to live for Christ, but I know because Christ’s Spirit lives through me, I WILL and CAN live this Christian life for real.
To let the old me die in order for the new me in Christ to live sometimes feels like pure Heck. But for you Jesus, I’ll die daily now and always.