Hear me out here, I am not trying to scare you out of a relationship with Jesus, I would love nothing more than for you to come to know Him on an intimate and personal level and get to see for yourself the beauty of His majesty, but this is just a harsh realization of the fallen world in which we live and some of the consequences of sin. But the good news is, that Jesus is ALIVE, and that He will one day come back and take the believers up with Him to live eternally in Heaven with Him. THAT IS GREAT NEWS! But that doesn’t mean life will be easy.
As I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook today, I was gently reminded by a friend, of the truth of the message I heard at Winter Jam a few weeks ago. “I choose Jesus above me”. That phrase struck a chord with me on February 9th sitting in an arena full of thousands worshiping Jesus in unity, and it struck a chord with me today while sitting on my couch scrolling through Facebook.
As I was reading that, I was reminded of Matthew 16:24-25 where Jesus is talking to His disciples and tells them this:
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wants to come with Me,
he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever
wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will find it”.
I don’t know about you, but I have heard this verse many a time and just pushed it aside. If it weren’t important, Jesus wouldn’t have said it, so WHY am I not listening? That verse, along with the phrase “I choose Jesus above me” are just slapping me so hard in the face as I am typing this. That is more than just a verse to some disciples, my friends, that is a COMMAND from Jesus Himself on how He wants us to live our lives. So, if that is a command, what does “following Jesus” really look like? You might ask. Well, I won’t be able to give you the perfect picture of what it looks like, because I am a sinner, like everyone else, and am not perfect. No one is, but I will give you the best picture I can.
To be a follower of Christ, we must be willing to give up everything we THINK we want, and be WILLING to accept the lifestyle Jesus wants. In order to determine the things Jesus wants, we have to first Admit we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), Believe that Jesus is God’s son, Confess to God you are a sinner (Romans 10:9). After doing that you read God’s Word, pray continuously (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), find a church and get involved. Through all these things, especially by surrounding ourselves with Godly counsel–people who give sound guidance–you learn, mature, and grow in faith in Jesus. Then, through studying His Word and growing, you will see the kind of life He desires us to lead.
That all ties in with “choosing Jesus above yourself”. When you make that life-changing decision and commitment, you make a vow before your family, your friends, your church, but most importantly Jesus Christ that you don’t want what this world has to offer, you want Jesus. No matter the cost. Following Jesus is exceedingly rewarding, but it is also costly. What I have come to realize in my years of being a follower of Jesus is this:
Following Jesus isn’t easy. It isn’t attractive. In fact, to most unbelievers,
it’s repulsive. Our society has made Christianity look like a disease.
Following Jesus means ridicule, scorn, and sometimes even death.
The news is flooded with this realization that there are people across
the world dying because of the mere name of Jesus. But they aren’t afraid.
They boldly proclaim “I choose Jesus above me”.
If anything, this picture shows you the extreme reality of what it means to say you choose Jesus above yourself. If you’re in school, choosing Jesus means you may not be the most popular or the most liked. You will be made fun of, told the most terrible lies about Jesus, people will try to lure you away from the Truth–and it will happen if you aren’t enveloped with the Truth of God’s Word and surrounded by people who will encourage you and lift you up in difficult times–and sometimes even say that Jesus doesn’t love you and that you are just lying to yourself. DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM.
In your job or any other aspect of your life, the same thing is true. It may not happen in the same way, but following Jesus isn’t popular, and you will be mocked. But choosing Jesus above yourself also means that you are choosing His ways above the world’s. In my honest opinion, I’d rather have Jesus’ ways and plans than the world’s anyways, because I know He always has my best interest in mind when the world doesn’t.
I could expound upon this forever, but if I do, you’d probably be here for hours, and that would just be cruel ha. So, will you choose Jesus above yourself? I challenge you to choose Him. Choose the Cross. Choose Jesus.
This song linked below is based on that first verse I mentioned in Matthew 16. Take up your cross, and follow Me. The challenge I issued is something I am challenging myself to as well. I want to lead the life Christ calls me to and stop putting it off. I want to become all He desires me to be, regardless of the countless trials and challenges that lie ahead. So join me in becoming consumed with the fire and light of Christ and choosing Jesus.
Selah~ Be My Heart, My Hands, My Voice
Please email me, comment or whatever and let me know your thoughts! I’d love to hear from you!