Following Jesus doesn’t, oftentimes, assure us of life’s comforts.
Sometimes, it means living on tents, no accessible water, no mobile signals for weeks, being away with your family and loved ones for a long time, or not spending holidays or special occasions with them, and much more.
I’ve heard wonderful testimonies from fellow servants of God, which I could testify, too, how they gave up life’s comforts not because God doesn’t want them to have material abundance but because they know what God offers them is a life full of SO MUCH MORE!
Paul’s life gives us a wonderful picture of a life fully yielded to God. He did not live in much abundance or prestige especially when He started professing Jesus Christ to others. Indeed, he has lots of things to boast of, his circumcision, being a Hebrew of Hebrews, and being a faultless man as to righteousness from the law, yet to all of these he freely laid aside.
He devoted himself to live like Christ. Why so? Because he fully experienced the love and transforming power of Christ in him. He can’t just sit and relax and see people wandering in this life. He can’t let the light of Christ in him be hidden any longer.
To all of the things he accomplished, Paul didn’t take glory to himself. He would always point himself and others to Jesus Christ, declaring the finished work He has freely done on the cross.
In Jesus’ time, the cross bears a lot of shame and disgrace if one happens to suffer for it. The big difference of what Christ did and the two other people who died with him that day, so with many others before him, was that He died without sin.
There was no sin found in Him! The purest blood of all became sin’s atonement to save the whole humanity.
As described in Philippians 2:6-8, Jesus, “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing… and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!”
There’s no other way for us to repay that but to obey Him.
It has been three years since I’ve decided I’ll stop pursuing my own plans and start living my life on purpose.
I remembered telling God, “Lord, ayaw ko paadtoa sa place nga wala ka nag-una sa ako!” (“Please, God, don’t put me to a place where you haven’t come ahead of me!”) At times, it becomes a desperate cry every time I move out from one place. I have that common humanly fear of the unknown.
First, you’ll consider the place and the people you have to connect, second, observe some culture changes especially to not offend some people. Next, you’ll wonder how you’ll be supported financially and all with all the others things that you need.
What I learned is, having faith doesn’t mean I should go hastily, out to the world blindly, but I get to see, know, and believe where God wants to take me and yet uphold the risks, counting the costs – figuratively and literally! And while I am at it, I got to be amazed of how, who, and what God will use to accomplish His will in me.
At times, the answers of prayers weren’t the way I asked it to be but in ways that are far better off than what I expected.
Throughout those not-so-long years, I didn’t have a praising-God-Hallelujah kind of feeling every day, but there were hard-to-praise-but-you-must moments as well. I remembered a couple of times when members of my family needed a rush to the hospital. We aren’t financially well-off so it was challenging for us to be admitted in a hospital or undergo major operations. But to our amazement, God never failed to show His favor and provision at a timely fashion! I praise God for moments such as that for it allows us to fully rely on and experience the reality of Him.
Life wasn’t always that comfortable but I know I need to obey Him. There are times when I don’t have enough faith yet God would use even a little ounce of it so that He can show off His omnipotence and might. Times when I don’t know what to say or do, but, whenever I put my trust in Him, receiving a deep assurance through His word, He gives me the will to do. Times when I don’t have the courage to go on, yet His Good Spirit gently prods me to. Times when I feel so small and discouraged yet I need to lift and fix my eyes to Him alone.
“Living by faith” doesn’t nullify your senses by not feeling any pain, regrets, sorrows, doubts, or fears, but you can be assured of the things that are coming, assured of the things hoped and longed for.
God is calling us for so much more and He wants us to walk with Him and follow Him. Stepping out of our comfort zones may mean rocky hills, raging waters, or muddy planes, but, let’s step on it anyway. Let’s turn away from life’s mediocrity and pursue His will in each of our lives. It doesn’t always mean that we should all become pastors or missionaries, but we should start evaluating our ways and see if there’s more of Christ in us. This may mean intentionally sharing Christ to your friend, hangout with friends you don’t usually go with, spending 15 minutes of prayer rather than 15 seconds, or just consciously acknowledging Christ’s goodness with family, workmates, or acquaintances.
The moment I started to believe in Christ and had that hope living in me, I know that my life would never be the same.
I remembered that time when Jesus was deserted by His own disciples and asked the twelve disciples left if they would do the same. What changed my life was their response. Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68).
Once you have tasted Life, you know you have to have it! Pursuing Him and that longing to see His Kingdom come has been my life’s anthem.
Remembering the humility of Jesus Christ, being brought low in human form, born in a cramped manger, walking the earth without prestige, rejected, despised, a man familiar with suffering, would go out His way to reach out to us, fuels up my passion to pursue Him.
I know I can do all things through Him! I haven’t traveled that far but knowing what God had done compels me to make Him known to others as well; to go, or stay, wherever He wants me to, in want and in need, and, in plenty and in full, out of the comfort zone.
Rosen Mae Guillermo is a lover of life. She was born in Surigao City, Philippines. She enjoys having fellowship with Christ’s believers and loves to serve them. She is passionate about kids and teaching. She also likes to explore new places and study new cultures.