I am certain someone warned me before I re-dedicated my life to Jesus, but I was too far in the honeymoon phase to listen. I had blinders on.
So, I decided to share some rather helpful information that I gathered and have found to be extremely valuable as we move forward in our faith walks including growing our relationship with Jesus.
I was excited. My heart wanted to re-commit to Jesus for some time, but I kept putting it off and putting it off.
Before I committed to Jesus, I asked myself time and time again, what does it mean to follow Jesus?
Does it mean that when I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior that I will no longer face temptation and life will almost magically “get easier?”
Not even close.
However, I foolishly thought I would be good, meaning free from all the ups and downs that is life as we know it. Personally, I think life actually gets harder. It gets harder because being a devoted believer requires effort and hard work on your part. It means sharing your heart and love for Jesus boldly with others. It means usually being the minority and standing up and honoring God through what you allow and do not allow in your homes.
Every relationship in your life requires effort to be given. The relationship you have with Jesus is no different, in fact, it is THE RELATIONSHIP that you use as a template in your life for all other relationships.
I polled some friends that I attend church with and their responses were exactly what I experienced- and sometimes continue to experience.
One friend shared that they thought they had to have their life together prior to investing in salvation or simply seeking Jesus. God does not call the qualified, he EQUIPS those he is called. Your testimony and God’s Word are the tools necessary for discipleship.
Here’s the thing. Looks at who Jesus did life with- a mother, a fisherman, a tax collector: Jesus chose a woman with a tainted past who was deemed an outcast to disciple to others. Jesus seeks the lost. He does not care how or what allowed to become lost. He wants them regardless.
Jesus never asked you have to have it all figured out before seeking Him. In fact, He will meet you right where you are. He will meet you at your weakest moment as well as your strongest. He will mend your brokenness. Your heart story will be used for His glory.
Another friend felt that she needed to really know the Bible before she could carry on conversations about Jesus, almost to the point where she needed to be like a biblical scholar- able to recite the Bible from cover to cover. An overwhelming common misconception of not being “Christian enough” to reach anyone.
Another friend shared that she had expected to have an undeniable desire to read and study the Bible and that it would all click. The Bible is intermingled and the books of the Bible tie to each other. The more you grow in reading God’s Word the more you begin to see these words come to life and how interwoven the books of the Bible really are.
No one, even God is not asking you to become a Biblical Scholar.
Sharing your testimony is your greatest asset when it comes to your willingness to be used as a disciple. Do you know what draws people in? Honesty. Realness. Genuineness. I wish I would have followed the path of least resistance to Jesus, but those times of heartache, brokenness and hitting rock bottom are part of my forgiving heart creating a love letter to Jesus. My testimony, your testimony- they are beautiful love letters to Jesus. Testimonies are a way to acknowledge the sin, seek forgiveness and to genuinely disciple to others. Your testimony is just the beginning of healing the brokenness, hurt, anger and sin and begin working on the master piece of complete surrender of the old ways and the emergence of a disciple.
Healthy relationships are a struggle for new believers. Heck, I would dare to say that healthy relationships are a challenge for all folks. Believers and unbelievers alike.. Lifestyle changes are tough. They require hard work and dedication.
Sometimes that hard work means analyzing the relationships you had BC (Before Christ) and if they encourage you to maintain and grow in your relationship with Jesus.
If these relationships do not speak life into your relationships after salvation, then there comes a time when you have to evaluate that relationship and determine if it can be continued or if it is has run its course.
Another struggle for all believers is the trap of comparison. This sneaks into every aspect of a believer’s life. Without a doubt the enemy loves isolation. Comparison is a great way to isolate people. Comparison traps are an issue that all believers tend to struggle with.
Comparison is the enemy’s greatest weapon when it comes to stealing, killing and destroying a believer.
Comparison will create division.
Comparison can create a trench where believers go when their faith walks becomes stagnant.
One friend stated that she felted stuck because she was constantly comparing her journey with everyone else. “Why can’t I have faith like Jennie? Why does Priscilla make it look so easy?” Her faith seems so effortless and I have trouble finding time to read my Bible, join a small group or find Godly friends to do life with.
Well, let me tell you, behind closed walls, in her war room, Priscilla done cried her heart out to the Lord. She went to battle and laid it all at the feet of Jesus so she can keep pushing forward in her faith. She knows that she had to pour it out with Jesus so she can then pour into others. It took her longer than she cares to admit, how hard to she had to fight for her relationship with God to be what it is. She makes it an effort to fight hard for this relationship everyday. She remembers the alternative of fighting against this relationship and never wants to go down that path again.
For longer than I care to admit, I expected no suffering. I actually thought life would be miraculously easier. I thought that there would be this spiritual bubble that would surround me and protect me from any form of suffering or hurt.
Oh man, I could not have been more wrong.
This was a huge wake up call to me, and many others who are new followers or possibly experiencing a season of stagnation. Let’s say…I was naïve and innocently ignorant.
I am certain I was told that accepting Jesus would not create a euphoria of sunshine and roses and keep me free from hurts. We were never promised that we would not have disappointments, trials and heartache in life.
In my opinion life gets harder because you will feel more convictions from the Holy Spirit and from experience, here’s some free but valuable advice, do not ignore that little voice. That voice is there for a reason. That voice is a sweet spiritual insurance policy if you will.
I re-dedicated my life to Jesus years ago. I was excited to be on this adventure. Almost immediately that newly found hope in Jesus was tested.
Hurt came and I was caught off guard because I thought life was supposed to be easier.
I did not realize that all the ups and downs of life would still be happening that was not going to change.
It was the manner in which I would respond that would change. In all honesty, I was a disappointed when that first blow came. I was certainly ill-prepared, and questioned my faith during that initial blow.
I also found it hard to believe that the enemy strikes almost instantly after you invite Jesus in your heart and seek salvation
That one got me pretty good. I did not see that one coming. The enemy does not want us to be in community with other believers. He wants us isolated and alone. Why? Well, let’s talk through this together.
Why would the enemy want you to be around like-minded folks who would continue to encourage you, support you and most importantly pray for you and you situation?
Covid was a prime example of the toll of isolation and how it affects a person’s mental wellbeing and their relationships, including their relationship with Jesus.
The truth is…the ways of the world are coming for you. The enemy is seeking to steal your soul, kill your faith and destroy your relationship with Jesus.
It is our job to continue to grow in our relationship with Jesus to combat the enemy before he has a the opportunity to attack. And love, encourage and do life as a community of believers who are champions for each other.
Our God is so good and there are miracles happening all around us. Take some time and stop to acknowledge some of the every day greatness of waking up to another day, food on the table and warmth during lovely Kansas winters. He’s all around us. He is encouraging us to step up and step out in faith. Heal from past hurts. Stop letting life hold you back from the most amazing relationship anyone can have. Be bold. Be courageous. Be a champion of community. Turn from the isolation, turn from the ways of the world. Take a friend to dinner and boldly pray together in that restaurant. Boldly fight for the lost sheep. Boldly worship like no one but you and Jesus are in the room. Fight the good fight till the end so you can hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:7