Matthew 7:13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
My life has changed so much in the years that I have found Jesus. I used to live my life as a popularity contest. Who could I please, impress so that I could be a part of the crowd, a crowd? What could I say or do to gain their acceptance? It was how I lived my life. Then I found Jesus and it wasn’t an immediate change it was a slow transition that picked up momentum as I grew in Christ. Some people have the “come to Jesus moment” its and immediate change and I have witnessed it, I am just not one of those people. The more I grew in my relationship with Jesus, the less I needed to be accepted by people and crowds.
John 15:5-8 (ESV) 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Limiting myself through misconceptions
I thought being a follower of Jesus would result in restrictions and confinement to live under rules and regulations. If only I would have done my research and realize there is freedom in Jesus. Living in the world we are bound by rules; social, moral, ethical, political, society and governing rules. Living in Jesus we are bound by love, unconditional love.
Galatians 3:23-25 (NIV) 23 Before the coming of this faith,we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
Just like my quest to be popular and I wanted to do, say, and act a certain way. The same can be said for my quest for the kingdom. I still want to do, say and act a certain way but it’s not because of rules, it’s because of a change of heart. There is a switch when you choose to follow and accept Jesus as your Savior. I always thought people were romanticizing the idea but now that I follow, I realize its not all that I had made it up to be, it’s so much better.
God really does change you for the good. One of the best part is that God changes you no matter where you are, what your past was or how you got here. He can change stubborn 80 year old man, a rebellious 19 year old young adult, or a now humbled 30 something year old women who has ran from God for years (me). It can be like a light switch off and on or can be a gradual appreciation and acceptance. It’s never to late and no one is excluded. Unlike people, God takes you for who you are. Flaws welcomed; foul mouths, step on up; addicts, He has something for you too; those seeking acceptance, you have come to the right place! He loves us unconditionally, although we were made in His image there is nothing like the original, God. The biggest fear I had about being too “religious” was guilt, judgement and condemnation of people in the Church. My concerns were misplaced and not about God but was still people pleasing and how those in the Church would accept me. The very same people who are flawed enough to judge and condemn someone trying to enter his kingdom, even though they walked and lived in sin daily themselves was the ones I was concerned about.
Galatians 1:10 (ESV) For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Don’t let people ruin it for God
I feel like people sometimes ruin it for God. They make it harder for those who are new to get to Him. I think that is why televangelist are so popular and accepted. You don’t have to go through the trials of the people of the world to receive a message. You can turn on your television, podcast and over streams of media and received the message directly. If you are new to Christ and you are struggling sometime people of the Church can make it intimidating by being judgmental or unwelcoming.We have to overcome this and just go to the source, God, that’s where you will find the unconditional love and total fulfillment. You will never be fulfilled by people they will always let you down. I still pursue acceptance and still want to join the crowd but it’s a different crowd that is made up of only three. I am living and pursuing the acceptance on the Son, Father and Holy Spirit and in return it is make me whole, builds me up and completely satisfies all my needs. Have you ever sought popularity? How is God helping you overcome your pursuits of the wrong things?