Being a follower of Jesus changes everything.
The way I see my life and the world surrounding.
The way I treat others.
The way I choose to invest my time.
The way I learn, work and play.
What I do with my time,
Knowing Jesus - if indeed I know Him and continually strive to know Him more - changes every single thing. Every single aspect of my life.
As C.S. Lewis brilliantly expressed it, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
Knowing Jesus changes everything.
I feel the tension between sin and righteousness more acutely. I experience the searing and nagging feeling of estrangement from God whenever I choose evil and self and lust over goodness and truth and love. I feel it more drastically. I feel like I've betrayed God's love. And rightly so, I have trampled on Jesus' sacrifice again. I've crucified Him again by my words and actions. As Paul said, 'I weep because many still live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach and their glory is their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.' We profess to believe, to even know Jesus, and yet our lives do not reflect it at all.
But even in my failure, my weakness, I thank GOD - there is hope. If I turn back to Him. No matter how many times I fail, what matters is I come back with a genuine heart.
And so knowing Jesus, seeking Him, continues to open up my whole being to the reality of the invisible world, to the things unseen, to the silent ripples that could be consequences of just one prideful, lustful, godless act. The ability to tune in to that conscience, that still small voice; the ability to see the ripples that many people fail to see when they do or say something that will eventually reap terrible consequeces, is vital.
I cannot deny it. Once knowing the truth, there's no turning back. It's either total surrender and life-long commitment to live by the truth or outright - and sometimes even passive - rebellion.
And I think to myself, after all I've experienced and received and encountered from God, how could I live with a rebellious heart? It would kill nobody but me. Like King David, I have to always come back! And boy do I thank God that I have Him to come back to! Believe it or not, you and I are not cosmic orphans. God cares about each of us personally, individually, just like a parent would care for each of her children. It is the rebellion of mankind, the sin, the corruption, the deception of the devil that separates us from God, and it is what makes Him weep.
Sinning is no way to live, although our human nature persuades us that it is the only way to live. Yet you see, it kills us even before we get any short-lived pleasure out of it. That is the depravity of our human condition -
'I am the way, the truth and the life.' With three big the's. And only one man in all of history said this: JESUS. Which either makes him a lunatic or the REAL DEAL. And all my reading, seeking and research about the words He spoke, the things he did, the people he influenced, the life he lived, suggests not for one second that Jesus was a raving mad man. You and I would be raving mad men if we chose to think of Jesus as a raving mad man. But what intrigued me and convinces me the most is that the world rejected Him. They crucified Him. I believe if Jesus came to live among us today, we would reject him and his message just the same.
You see, it occured to me, that the Truth will always be 'too radical', too much, for people who have lived under the deception of lies. The Light is always too searing, too bright for the eyes of those who have been living in darkness all their lives. And true love - unconditional, sacrificial, agape love - is always too glorious, too unexpected, for people who have never known love and for them to accept it so easily.
So for me, it's clear. It makes sense now. As C.S. Lewis said, by it I 'see everything else'. Knowing Jesus explains and changes everything.
The way I see suffering, injustice, hypocrisy, failure, brokenness, criminals, victims, poverty, art, music, vocation. Everything. And furthermore, it influences the way I choose to respond to all of it.
I conclude with this thought that keeps bringing me 'back': what John wrote in his book 1 John 2:6 ~ 'This is how we know are in God: Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.'
Walk as Jesus did. That changes everything.
~ j a n i e ll e