A couple of months ago I had a conversation with my three-year-old son that changed my life. The two of us were driving home on a rainy afternoon listening to the radio.
“Mommy, what is this song about?” I heard my son ask from the back seat.
“She’s singing about how much she loves Jesus.” I answered while turning the rear-view mirror seeing him swinging his feet back and forth. I saw the wheels turning in his head as he tried to come up with the three millionth question of the day. No one can prepare a mother for all the questions that a toddler asks within a twenty-four hour time period.
“Mommy, Jesus loves us so much! He died on the cross for our sins like this!” I looked into the rear-view mirror to see his arms stretched out wide on both sides.
“Yes he did!” I smiled on the outside, but was trying not to tear up on the inside. Since my son started going to Sunday school at New Life Church he has learned a lot about Jesus and the Bible. As someone who was not raised in church, it makes me proud knowing that my son, at only three years old, knows more about Jesus than I did as an adult.
“Guess what else, Mommy?” He continued. “They put Jesus in a cave, but he’s not dead anymore!” He shouted with enthusiasm.
“That’s right, bud! He’s alive!” I spoke with my heart full of pride.
“Yeah, Mommy! And Jesus is going to come back! He’s going to pick us up and take us to his house in the sky!”
It grew quiet in the car. The rain pelted the windshield as hard as the conviction was stinging my heart. Don’t get me wrong, I was very proud of my son for all he knew about Jesus. But there was a sobering question that had hit me out of nowhere. As this thought pierced my mind, nothing else seemed to matter. Not my QVC order, not what was for dinner, not the argument I had with my sister, or the plans for the weekend. The question was simple: Am I living for Jesus?
I believe we all come to a point in our life where we are faced with the decision of whether we are going to live a life that glorifies Jesus or a life that glorifies the world. Even Jesus himself was faced with this decision while being tempted in the wilderness by the devil. Matthew 4:8-10 says,
Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”
“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the scriptures say, you must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.”
The first thing we need to recognize about living a life for Jesus is that it is more than merely believing in Him. I went most of my life with the mindset that as long as I believed in Jesus, prayed to him every now-and-then, and went to church on Sunday that I am living a life for Him. But James 2:18-20 says,
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder.
After I read that passage for the first time years ago, I felt like I needed to make the decision on whether I was going to live out my faith with actions or not have faith at all. What made such a simple decision so hard was the fact that I felt torn between what other people would think of me and what Jesus would think of me. I didn’t want my family and friends to think I was ‘weird’ because I was living a life for Jesus. So, when it came to living for Jesus or living for the world I did something that I thought would be the best decision. I chose to be on the fence.
Maybe you are reading this and can relate to being on the fence when it comes to choosing Jesus or choosing the world. It seemed like a good idea to me, you know, living
for Jesus enough to not go to hell and enough to barely get into heaven. As harsh as that sounds, let’s be real with ourselves! In fact, if we must be honest with ourselves, we need to understand that there is no ‘fence’. Jesus explains in Mark 8:34-38 that you cannot live for both Him and the world.
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
So, if Jesus makes this black-and-white, why is it that there are so many Christian’s today that have watered down Christianity to fit in with the crowd? As Christian’s we need to be truthful with ourselves and our lifestyle. We need to self-evaluate if we are truly living for Jesus. John 10:10 tells us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” It feels ‘safe’ being on the fence because the devil wants you to believe that there is a fence! The devil wants us to merely believe in Jesus because he doesn’t want us to be putting action behind our faith. He doesn’t want us to know that faith without deeds is dead. The devil will do anything to keep us from pursuing Jesus with a passion like the first disciples did.
The Bible describes the first disciples following Jesus ‘at once’ or ‘immediately’. It was not a situation where they hesitated and decided to be on the fence. They pursued Jesus with a hunger by going all in! Of all the times that Jesus has knocked on the door to my heart, I always felt hesitant or insecure about following Him the way I knew that I should. In the same way the first disciples chose to follow Jesus, we should choose do the same every morning.
It was in the car with my son that I chose to stop being on the fence and go all in! Just like Jesus chose to go all in by shedding His blood on the cross for our sins, I’m going all in with: my worship, my prayer life, and studying His Word! I’m going all in to show my three-year-old son what a true example of Christianity is, and not what the world has made it out to be. I’m going all in to help serve Jesus’ people with the Love that He has shown me, no matter how weird others think it is! Today I am making the commitment to live my life for Jesus! I’m going all in! What about you?