You Don't Need To Change To Follow Jesus
I'm not good enough.
I'm not ready.
I don't have it all figured out.
I don't have enough faith.
I don't know what I believe.
These are just a few of the things we say when we're doing our best not to live the abundant life that Jesus promised us when we follow him.
And for most of us, it's not our fault. At some point in our journey, we were told that in order to really follow Jesus we had to get ourselves squared away first.
We were told that we needed an abundance of faith. We were told that we needed to change. We needed to follow a bunch of rules and regulations (most of which made absolutely no sense).
We were told that we had to have the right set of beliefs.
What we didn't know was that all of those things we were told we were supposed to have down cold, were actually limiting our ability to follow Jesus more fully, and live more abundantly.
Far too many Christians have fallen in love with the process of Christianity at the expense of their relationship with the person of Jesus Christ, who (according to one New Testament writer) is actually the beginning and the end of our faith.
I've learned that when we mistakenly lift up the process over the person, we might have all of the appearances of being "sold out" or "all in," but are really just going through the motions.
And so many people who claim to follow Jesus actually find comfort and safety in the process whereas the thought of letting go of that comfort and simply following the person frightens them to death.
C.S. Lewis once wrote that when you get hung up on the process rather than the person, you never really experience the fullness of the life God means for you to live.
"This is my endless recurrent temptation: to go down to that sea and there neither dive not swim nor float, but only dabble and splash, careful not to get out my depth..."
But God wants so much more for you. God desires a real relationship with you as exemplified by the great love God showed to all of us through the life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus himself.
Mother Teresa once wrote her version of a beautiful love letter from God to all of humanity. In that letter she imagines God saying:
"You don't need to change to believe in my love, for it will be your belief in my love that will change you."
You may not be ready. You may not have it all figured out. You may not have enough faith. Stop worrying so much about the process of it all, and just start following the person.
Start stumbling after Jesus, and you'll soon discover the kind of abundant, fulfilling life that you were meant to live.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.