I’m a little over a month into my Jesus Year. I’ve read four books of the Bible and a book called Radical by David Platt which I highly recommend. Dennis and I have been discussing regularly what direction this year is going to take us and where Christ is leading us. A few things have become obvious:
We are supposed to be helping others more than we are;
We are supposed to be going on missions;
We are supposed to be embedded in a community of believers, not so hermit-like;
What the Christian life looks like in modern day America is not at all what it looked like in the book of Acts, and that’s kind of concerning.
The biggest struggle we’ve had is living in grace, which should be the easiest thing on the planet. The problem is when you realize all the actions that should be coming out of your outpouring of love for Christ and then you look at your life, for us at least, it’s been a bit disappointing. I feel like I tell God I love him, but I don’t really show it much, which is not the kind of relationships I tend to enjoy with other people. The temptation we’ve tried to resist is checking off a to-do list of items we need to accomplish to be good enough for the salvation that’s already been given to us. We can never earn the grace we already live under as Christians anyway, and our actions need to be motivated by obedience and love, not fear and an overwhelming joy in checking off a list.
Some of our actions really will be motivated by obedience more than actual desire, at least in the beginning. I love Christ, but I have no desire to leave my family for any amount of time. If I had to name my idols they’d be Dennis, Wren, and Sammy. God wants me to love my family, but Jesus made it pretty clear in the New Testament that He is still priority, even over family. I need to be doing more mission work, more taking the Word to the ends of the earth. And I will. Dennis and I feel it’s inevitable in both a good and really scary way. We already have a trip in mind, though we won’t be going together so one of us will be with the kids. I am excited about going, but I know it will take constant prayer to leave my family and fully live in the moment away from them. I’ll do it out of obedience. D feels the same way. We always thought people needed to be “called” to missions. Turns out, Jesus called all of us. There’s really no loophole to slide through in that department. It is His will for our lives, so we’ll go.
We’ve found a lot of joy in some of the other commands, so they’re easier. Several details are still working themselves out, but the first month of my Jesus year has been eye-opening, scary, and oddly peaceful all at the same time. I’m on the right path, I think. God is teaching me balance, something I’ve never been even remotely good at. When I veer too far into the legalistic, check-off-list mode, He reminds me I can do nothing to make Him love me more or less. That doesn’t free me of the responsibilities I should be willing to take on as a Christian, but it puts the motive in the right place. My whole life feels more balanced than it has in a while, even having just added grad school to the mix. That’s saying something. I’m enjoying the exploration and the fact that I have absolutely no idea where we will be or what we will be doing next month at this time. Probably a lot of the same as now with a few modifications and improvements, but who knows? The question we’ve struggled with the most is will we really take up our cross and follow, do whatever we’re asked or have already been instructed through Gods’ word, whatever that means? I think after a long time as flailing baby Christians, we’re moving towards a more definite yes.