“The Christian life is going to God. In going to God Christians travel the same ground that everyone else walks on, breathe the same air, drink the same water, shop in the same stores, read the same newspapers, are citizens under the same governments, pay the same prices for groceries and gasoline, fear the same dangers, are subject to the same pressures, get the same distresses, are buried in the same ground. The difference is that each step we walk, each breath we breathe, we know we are preserved by God, we know we are accompanied by God, we know we are ruled by God; and therefore no matter what doubts we endure or what accidents we experience, the Lord will guard us from every evil, he guards our very life.”
Eugene Peterson (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction)
Faith beyond Sunday morning
Going to a church service is not faith. It is an expression of faith.
The biggest mistake you can make in learning how to follow Jesus, though, is thinking that it is only about attendance at a Christian event every Sunday. The experience you have at a Sunday morning production is not faith.
It is a step.
It is most certainly an important aspect of following Jesus. If you read the Gospel stories of Jesus, you will find him in the temple and the synagogue, meeting with people, worshiping God, making friends (and enemies), and teaching the faithful.
But faith is something else. It is not simply church “attendance”.
Faith is a walk of trust in the everyday leadership of Jesus into your everyday life.Faith is a walk of trust in the everyday leadership of Jesus into your everyday life. Click To Tweet
Three Reasons to go into the dark
Following Jesus is not simply going down a path where everything is all clear and certain. It is allowing Jesus to lead you into the places where He is already at work. He will lead you into a habit of regular community with other followers of Him if you are truly following His voice. But He will also lead you out into the dark places of the field where He has already been preparing the soil of people’s hearts.
Today I want to give you three reasons why your faith in Jesus leads you into dark places.
- Jesus is already at work there. We have this language in Christendom (that’s a fancy way of saying Western church “culture”) where we believe God is absent from the world and we are somehow bringing Him with us there. This couldn’t be further from the truth. God is always at work. He is always in the fields working on hearts, cultivating the ground of people’s souls. The reason why our faith should be leading us into dark places is because God is already at work there. If true faith is trusting in something or someone you cannot see, it will require going into places where you understand that God is already at work.The reason why our faith should be leading us into dark places is because God is already at work there. Click To Tweet
- Jesus is making God visible everywhere. Perhaps one of the biggest lies that we have believed in this life is that God is not present in our cities, in our schools, in our workplaces, or in our neighborhoods. THIS IS NOT TRUE!! Here is the truth. God makes His Kingdom tangible through us. Faith is the evidence or proof of things unseen. Our faith. We are the evidence. Jesus is making God visible to the world through us. We are in our schools, therefore we are the visible presence of God there. We are in our workplaces, therefore we are the visible presence of God there. We are in our neighborhoods, therefore we are the visible presence of God there. How else is He going to turn the darkness into light? A people, filled with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit of God must make God visible in all of the places they inhabit. If God inhabits you, then you will live as the presence of God in your sphere of influence.A people, filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit must make God visible in the place they inhabit. Click To Tweet
- Jesus intends total saturation of our world. This thought may make you uncomfortable, but as long as Christians stay comfortable gathering in their houses of worship without ever leaving the doors of those places as missionaries, we will continue to find religion in America uninteresting and un-fulfilling. We have been entranced with celebrity worship, good-feeling entertainment venues, and ill-equipped institutions of irrelevance. Jesus, our leader, is pulling us out of our lives of comfort, convenience, safety, and security. He is leading us into the dark places where it isn’t sexy, it isn’t popular, and it isn’t pretty. We are going to get dirty. We are going to get wounded. Some may even lose their lives. But wasn’t it Jesus who said, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”? Following Jesus is more than celebrity worship, emotional entertainment, and ill-equipped irrelevant church. Click To Tweet
Way, Truth, Life
I don’t know what your life is like today. I’m not sure where you struggle, what your personality is like, how your circumstances have shaped your belief system, or if you even have a belief system.
What I do know is that Jesus is drawing all of us up into this thing called the Kingdom of God. When he offers you an opportunity to follow Him in faith, He isn’t pretending that life is a game or that it won’t cost you anything. Be suspicious of anyone who tells you that following Jesus will make your life easier, I assure you, that is a lie. If the leader of your faith ends up getting crucified, you better count the cost when he says follow to Him.
What I can offer you is what I believe Jesus offers you: a way, a truth, and a life that, you will soon find out are the way, the truth, and the life. His life is good. His presences is real. His peace comes in the middle of the storm, not outside of it.
But I cannot force feed you any of this. You have to begin by dropping your guard and entrusting yourself to Someone you cannot see, but who loves you more than you have ever known. You don’t have to go into dark places alone. That is a promise. And you won’t be prepared to go into the dark unless you first have come and stepped into the light.
Faith in Christ is not for show and it is not for profit. But it is available to everyone.Faith in Christ is not for show and it is not for profit. But it is available to everyone. #followjesus Click To Tweet
This faith leads you into hope.
And this hope does not disappoint.
Where are you on your faith journey? Are you interested in losing your life? Or are you pretty happy with the life you’ve created for yourself? What if God took it away? What would you have left? Do you see why the faith option is necessary? Talk to me. I’d love to hear from you what your struggles are.