I mentioned in the Story of Us that my husband and I met on-line. In fact, June 28th marked nine years since I first winked at him. (Yes, I winked at him first. Scandalous!) God was fulfilling promises when I met my man: a marriage grounded in Christ and a precious daughter to call me mom. But, along with these awesome blessings came trade-offs too.
I am extremely close to my parents. Moving to Texas moved me away from them. We take our family vacation every summer to visit them in West Virginia. And they visit Texas. But, the bottom line is that I am blessed if I get to see them three or four times a year at best. My mom and I talk most every day. I utilize Facebook to keep them connected with pictures. Yet, I find myself missing them and wishing they could be a more active part of my life and my family’s day to day activities. And oh how I would love for my daughter and husband to know these two amazing people more intimately. Bitter sweet trade-offs.
I think as followers of Christ we have trade-offs too. To truly follow Jesus, we must die daily to our old self, our sinful nature. I just came back from youth camp with over 130 middle and high school youth from our church. The main speaker pointed out that we are called to be followers of Jesus Christ, not simply fans. When we decide to go “all in” as a follower, there are things that we must give up, let go of, turn away from. In other words, there are trade-offs. I pointed out to my Sunday School class this morning that the gains we receive from following Jesus are so much bigger and better than anything that we give up. We receive freedom, security, hope, joy, peace, forgiveness, grace and an easy yoke. You see, the trade-offs of following Christ are not bitter sweet. Not at all. They are wonderful and completely worth it!
Fans sit on the side lines, cheering. They are not in the game. No, not by a long shot my friends. The action is when you get in the game and give it your all, pouring everything you have into the challenges ahead. I urge you today to get in the game for Christ. Give up your old, self-serving ways. Roll up your sleeves and let God use you! Run your race hard! In the end, you will have lived the most exciting, fulfilling, purposeful life you could ever imagine. Follow Jesus!
Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus , who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there , in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Hebrews 12:1-3 MSG