Passionately Following Jesus

I was raised in a Christian home with Christian values. Regardless, I’ve struggled with practically everything: body image, porn, gossip, anger, selfishness, etc. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, my image of God was misconstrued. Every time I sinned, God seemed like a disappointed father who stood menacingly above me, shaking his head and folding his arms. I imagined him saying, “Are you kidding me, Sam? I thought you said you’d stop.” My God image was far from aligned with truth.  

In my junior year of high school, God did a miracle in my heart. While attending Camp Patmos, I was prayed over after one of the messages. Through this prayer, God tore down the image I had constructed of him and replaced it with something much better. I felt his hand on my shoulder, his love, his mercy, and his forgiveness. I knew that I was forgiven. There was no fear, no shame, and no more pretending! God was and is pleased with me.  

Recently, two Scripture passages have been on my heart. In II Corinthians 5:15, Paul encourages believers to “no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died was raised.” And in Romans 12:11, Paul writes, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”  

It’s become evident to me that following Jesus is not a passive activity. Reading through the Gospels, I’ve noticed that many people didn’t reach Jesus through ordinary ways. You see the apostles dying for their faith, friends of a crippled man cutting and tearing off the roof of a house to get him to Jesus, or even a blind man stumbling around crying to Jesus, all the while being rebuked and shushed by others. Friends, a godly life is not lived out through sedentary efforts. The people who saw and got to hear Jesus were those who showed up early! I do not mean to say you earn your salvation; rather, a walk with Christ isn’t always peaceful and tranquil.  

For most of my life, I’ve lacked this fervor for pursuing Jesus. I thought to myself, “Why am I not scrambling to reach Jesus?” I was afraid to miss out on the things of this world or even look crazy. The truth is, I am not missing out on anything by following Jesus! Moreover, God’s Word says that by following Jesus, the world will think we are crazy (II Corinthians 5:13). Look at John the Baptist. He understood that the kingdom of heaven is worth more than comfort or being accepted in society. John lived outside of society yet was given the greatest task of all—preparing people for Jesus. I want to lead people to Jesus because he is deserving of it. I have absolutely nothing to lose.  

Christ’s return is as sure as the rising and setting of the sun. Psalm 130:5–6 says, “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word, I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”  

The morning is coming! It’s undeniable. We know it’s promised. So, why wait? Paul wrote to Timothy, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (II Timothy 1:7). With the Spirit, you are empowered and equipped! Share the good news and go all out for King Jesus, because his love and faithfulness will sustain you through all hardships.  

Sam Monseth [FLBC second-year student] is from Saint Michael, Minn. 

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