D-Day. June 6, 1944. Allied military forces invaded Normandy, France. The goal was to drive the Germans from France and ultimately destroy Hitler’s Nazi regime.
I read over some of my recent posts from Just Pilgrims and True Discipleship, and I confess they weren’t very encouraging. In fact, most were critical of us as individual Christians and critical of organized Christianity, the church. I expressed several times my realization that I have a long way to go before I’m living as Jesus expects me to live.
Let me be clear. Although this world is not our home and we are just pilgrims, being a true disciple of Jesus is not meant to be drudgery or an overwhelming burden. It’s not meant to be an energy sapping exhausting life. Not at all.
We Christians have been called to go on an adventure. Really, Stan? An adventure? Yep. Not just any old adventure, but a great adventure. Our lives should experience no less of a radical change than was experienced by those early followers of Jesus.
Peter was just a fisherman and, had he not have had a personal encounter with Jesus, probably would have remained a fisherman until the day he died. But Jesus changed his life. He healed a disabled beggar, saw prison shackles drop from his hands, and spent time with Gentiles. Jews didn’t talk to Gentiles. Jesus changed all that.
James and John the sons of Zebedee were also fishermen. Their encounter with Jesus radically changed their lives. James was beheaded. John was exiled to an island. He wrote five books of the New Testament. Fishermen didn’t write books. Jesus changed all that.
Paul was climbing up the corporate religious ladder and probably would have died as a high ranking member. But while travelling to Damascus, Jesus literally knocked him off his high horse. Paul left his religious calling and pursued his true calling. He stopped promoting a religion of rules and regulations and began promoting a relationship of grace, forgiveness, and service to others. Jewish religious leaders didn’t talk much about grace. Jesus changed all that.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. None of these were forced to follow the life Jesus had planned for them. They chose to follow. Maybe more importantly, none of them were forced to continue on the path Jesus put them on. They chose to continue.
You may wonder how being beheaded was such a great adventure for James. Like the others, he could have opted out of his involvement in the early church. It was no secret that the early Christians were being subjected to an ever growing persecution. James knew the risk. For him, as well as the others, the adventure was great because of the potential results. He was part of something so much greater that his life. He died while he was really living.
Now it’s our turn. We were created with specific talents and abilities, and when we accepted Jesus as our savior we were also give specific spiritual gifts. There was a reason for that.
At an early age we were given some options all of which could be classified as “a typical life.” But we’re not supposed to be like everyone else. We’re not supposed to live as the rest of our society lives. We were not created to have “typical” lives. For the follower of Jesus, our lives should be lived “off road”.
Scary? Yep. Lots of unknowns? Oh yeah. Will there be dangers? Maybe. Missionary Jim Elliot was killed by the very people he was trying to share Christ with.
If you and I completely surrender to Jesus and follow Him no matter what, will you die? Will I? I can’t answer that, but consider this. On your current life path when you take your final breath what will cause Jesus to say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”?
If you’re drawing a blank or stumbling around for an acceptable answer, maybe it’s time for Jesus to change all that. We were created for so much more than the lives most of us are living.
The Holy Spirit is ready to stage an invasion in the life of anyone who is serious about a committed I’m-all-in relationship with Jesus. A relationship that goes way beyond showing up on Sunday morning, occasionally serving on a church project, and writing a check for the offering. It’s not about doing. It’s about being. But like the Germans trying to defend Normandy, we need to cease firing excuses, drop our weapons of fear and resistance, and wave the white flag of surrender.
Regardless of our ages, God has something in store for us that goes way beyond the lives we’re currently living. What’s missing? Are you totally satisfied with your life or is there something nagging at you? Is there a restlessness that you can’t identify? Do you constantly wonder if there’s more to life that your current life?
I’m restless. I know something is missing. I constantly wonder and am convinced that there’s more to life than my current life. I know God has given me gifts, talents, and abilities that can be used to serve others and give my life meaning.
I haven’t completely honed in on what that life is, but I know God is leading me on the path of His plan for me. One day I’ll say goodbye to my day job. I hope when I tell them why I’m leaving I’ll hear, “That makes no sense.”
Are you living a life that to all your friends, family, and co-workers “makes sense”? Jesus can change all that.