Too often, to our detriment, we attempt to soft sell difficult news. Organizational leaders will often espouse a policy of “honest feedback” and yet the individual leader tasked with sitting down with an associate will gloss over the hardest truths in order to make getting to the end of the meeting an easier path. When recruiting someone to an important assignment, we talk up the benefits and downplay the challenges so we can get a “yes”. But in the end, no one wins when the associate doesn’t improve performance or the new hire flames out because they had no idea what they were getting into.
No, the truth is always a better option, and – truth be told – it is the difficult endeavors that are worth our time. Those who are seeking to live out their purpose actually want to know that what they are doing is not necessarily an easy road, but a road filled with the fruit that comes from effort and endurance.
This happens in the church as well. Those who keep up with my writing know that I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Too often, to our detriment, I have heard talks about becoming a follower of Jesus Christ being “as easy as ABC”. Simply Admit, Believe, and Confess, and just that easy you are a follower of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, these steps make you a believer, but not necessarily a follower. Many people flame out because they had no idea what they were getting into. So, I would like to invite you to explore a worthy path that is “As Difficult as ABC”. It is worthy of your effort and endurance.
First, admit. The road to discovering who Jesus is and what he has to offer you is found at the end of yourself. Once you can admit that you are not able to live under your own power, once you trade pride for humility, you discover that accepting help from outside yourself is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. I can offer you assistance, yes, but ultimately my source comes from the one who helps me because I know I have nothing to offer you on my own.
Then, believe. Immortality is the stuff of movies and dreams. Almost everyone thinks in terms of legacy even if they don’t have a faith framework that deals with eternity. Believing in Jesus is the only path to immortality. That sounds exclusive, but as a friend of mine once said, “Jesus’ words are actually the most inclusive we’ll ever hear”. While Jesus says “I am THE way, THE truth and THE life” (John 14:6), he also says that “WHOEVER believes in me should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He is the ONLY way, but EVERYONE (yes, everyone) is welcome.
Easy enough so far, but then we must commit. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Jesus’ words as recorded in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 9, verse 23 say, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Setting aside your dreams for those of God is intuitively a good decision, but practically a very difficult thing to do. This self-denial and allowing yourself to be remade as a follower of Jesus is not designed to be easy, it is designed to be worthy.
The good news is that when we commit ourselves to being followers of Jesus Christ, we find that what we get in return is sometimes exactly what we were willing to give up, but if not, always better. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” All his promises are available to those who admit, believe and commit. Let’s explore and walk this difficult path together.
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