The Christian life is amazing. I was hit with this thought yesterday and I have been pondering it all morning. Jesus has invited us into this amazing life. Abundant life you might call it. Isn’t that what everyone is searching for? Happiness, purpose, contentment, unconditional love… Jesus’ invitation is to follow Him. But hold on for a second. Everyone wants abundant life, but we so often want to do the leading. So we lead away, dreaming of the life we want to live, and then doing everything in our power to make it happen. This is when our dreams can so easily become nightmares.
Humans are dreamers, but if our dreams are based around personal gain, power, authority, and fame, then the root drive is to save ourselves. “If I have power, then I have control. And If I have control then I will have what I want and be ok.” Dreams can become temptations in disguise, an attractive looking life-path attempting to be in control and save ourselves. If we let truth shine in, we know that if we try to save our lives, we will lose it. This is how our dreams can so easily become nightmares. But the opposite is the good news: if we lose our life, we will find it. This is the upside-down Kingdom of God in action.
I’m after abundant life. I’m not following Christ just to be safe. I’m in this thing because my heart is crying out for life, love, joy, purpose, and contentment. And I’ve realized I’m powerless to find this life I want on my own. When I was in high school, I found my identity in being a musician. Drummers I thought were the coolest, and my desire for acceptance was driving me to excel as a drummer. So I practiced and practiced. But before I was ever any good at drums, God placed the desire in me first. In his timing He would begin to unfold the bigger picture for me playing drums. But in the mean time holy frustration would be my companion. I took what God gave me, and I entertained thoughts that it was my gift and I slowly fell to the age old temptation to take control and use my gift for my own gain. There I went trying to save my life. I wanted to be the best. Then I could have friends, find success. Then I would be happy right?
Jesus interrupted my life the summer of 2003. I was walking into the trap of destiny, something that God can only plant to save me from myself. I stumbled to an IHOP youth conference called “One Thing” – up to this point I was a dedicated church drummer. But missing was my heart engaging in worship. I gave my drumming, but withheld what God was after…me. It it was here that I watched a small petite girl (now I know as Misty Edwards) pour out her heart on just the piano and her voice. She kept singing the same line “Jesus, here I am your favorite one, what are you thinking, what are you feeling, I have to know. For I’m after your heart…” 5 minutes go by and I’m thinking she’s really getting into this. 15 minutes and I’m wondering if it’s ok to keep singing the same thing. 30 minutes it hits me. She really means this. It’s as if there’s no one in the room but her and Jesus. She really loves Him. And musically, she’s really talented. I knew that God was requiring this of me. Not just my drumming, but me. I went to the front and knew everything was going to be different from this moment onward. For the first time I encounter the passionate Jesus that was jealous for all of me. But at the same time He was kind, and was inviting me to follow Him, to trust Him and give Him my life. I was already saved in the theological-I-believe-in-Jesus sense, but this moment was when I gave up my power to lead my life.
Jesus interrupted my life with his hand extended, an invitation to follow Him. This is when I began to trust. And he’s proven to be faithful. Over and over and over again. Every day He reveals a new side of himself, and new promise, and new revelation of His goodness. I have found the abundant life I was looking for. Yet it keeps getting fuller and more complete every day. Something amazing happened when I began to follow Jesus. His dreams started to whisper in my ears. I found myself dreaming with Him. I started finding my passions being about His Kingdom, not mine. And the cool thing about God’s dreams, is that He believes in them more than I ever will, and the resources of Heaven flood down to earth, looking to show strong support to those whose hearts are completely His. God’s dreams happen, and it the believer s joy to get to partner with Him.
As followers of Jesus, we must come to believe that there’s greatness inside of us, that our life is to be significant. There’s lie that says that as Christians, to aspire to greatness is wrong, and we must be humble and lowly. But could it be said that humility is only a positive trait when we have something to be humble about, where we choose humility instead of pride? Here’s the catch….In our world, it easy to chase after notoriety and fame, but that is about what I do for myself. Significance is about what I do for others. And if our life is living to see God’s Kingdom come and His will to be done, then we just found our significance. God is love and perfect love is when we lay our life down for a friend. It’s when we lose our life to help another. It’s the geniuses of God that life works this way. He knows best. Let’s trust Him. It is only here that we find the abundant life we’re looking for.