The day following Christ became difficult wasn’t around the time that I failed my wife or smoked pot or started lifting cigars from the local grocery store. It actually happened long before that, around the time I started noticing what kind of language the other kids were using.
They got to say words like “damn” and I didn’t. One time, I innocently came home from school and dropped the F-bomb on my mother. I was promptly scolded somewhere along the lines “Don’t let me ever hear that word come out of your mouth again.” Emphasis on ever.
Following Christ then was hard not because I was on the verge of temptation or traumatic life change. It was hard because I finally saw the delineation between hearing about Jesus and being different because of Jesus.
Since that time, I’ve lived between these notions that Jesus is a guy who says good things and that he’s the way to a new life. I liked the guy who says good things because he can be followed fairly easy. Just do steps 1-2-3. He’s infomercial Jesus.
Following Christ to new life, now that’s another story. I’m not talking about earning his love. I’m talking about accepting his love enough to know that I didn’t have to curse like the other kids at school.
Man, I wanted to. Confessional sidebar: I occasionally do curse but immediately follow it with prayer and feelings of regret.
I’m a broken guy. Not like a broken toy whose lost it’s functionality. I’m not ‘scratched CD broken’. I’m more like ‘antique broken’. A one-man’s-treasure kind of thing. Except that one man is Jesus. I’ve discovered that my brokenness isn’t because I didn’t buy his product or do steps 1-2-3.
Check it out: There’s not a sideline coach screaming “C’mon innate Christianity, don’t fail him now. You can do it, tiger”.
The day following Christ became hard was when I associated my difference with this world to acting different on my own strength. Those other kids cuss so I don’t and I don’t because I’m a Christian…right?
Wrong. I follow Christ because he takes my brokenness and calls it beautiful. I follow Christ because while I was so incredibly deep in the muck of sin he died for me. What’s hard about that? It’s humbling. I think accepting his love to the degree that it affects my behavior, my thinking, my choices and perceptions…that’s hard.
In some ways I’m still that little kid. Hoping that I can do and say things differently enough to be loved by my father. It’s a good thing I have a big brother to look up to. I think I’ll watch how he and his father love each other. Talk about beautiful…