Listening to Abba: April 2017

Why you probably should not be my friend

I’m no saint

There are times that . . .
I have harbored and expressed extreme disappointment with God, the Church, friends, and  Christianity. I have been bored, uninspired, and disenchanted with it all, and cried, “What’s the bloody point?”

I love comfort.
I want an easy Christian life.
I would rather give money to needs than actually get my hands dirty.
I would rather stay home and pray while others carry out the mission.
I would like to convince myself that prayer and financial support are my spiritual gifts.

My heart is dark.
I’m proud, arrogant, demanding, unforgiving, greedy, self-righteous, and self-centered.
I know how to talk and look loving while my heart holds contempt for my fellow man.

And I'm just getting started.

You probably shouldn’t be friends with me.

Unless . . .

You want to know the full story.

What I just wrote?  It's all true.  But so is this . . .

The Hound of Heaven would not let me stay spiritually anemic.  He chose to rip the foundations of my life from under me some 11 years ago.  He came in with hurricane force because the subtle cues completely escaped me.  He blasted me out of my comfort zone and let me know pure and simple that my happiness and comfort were never a part of His glorious plan.  Not. At. All.

Transformation, on the other hand, was high on His list of priorities.   So instead of fixing my circumstances, He challenged my beliefs and went to work on my heart. Like a silversmith who tends the fires and the metal, He's been cranking up the heat, dredging off the dross, and ever looking for His reflection.

In the fire I have learned that following Jesus is painful and uncomfortable, but also wonderful.

I've learned that
  • In order to experience life, real life, I have to lose my life. 
  • To be great, I must serve the least.
  • For anything to have any value at all, it must be done in holy love. Period. 

I would love to say that I’ve mastered these teachings; I haven’t.  But I have experienced them to be true, and I am experiencing them to be true quite routinely.

I have often thought I would write a book about what I’ve learned, but someone beat me to it. No Easy Jesus, by Jason Mitchell, is hot off the presses and unpacks the critical truths that God has taught me over the past decade.

No Easy Jesus is a must read for every believer who is willing to admit that they want something more to their Christian life. Or for those who have also lamented, “What is the bloody point?”

Get the book.  Go directly to the store, do not pass go, do not collect $200.   Jason delivers a weighty message in a refreshingly simple style.  It's like someone throwing you a punch in the gut without it hurting.  You will strangely desire that he throw more punches. Weird, I know.

No, He is not an easy-Jesus but a beautiful, glorious, delightful Jesus that shows up and makes us new.  Makes us better people.  Makes us more like Him.

I now know a different kind of joy. I don’t live on a continual spiritual high but the valleys between the peaks are shorter and shallower, and He's there too. The reflection in the silver is starting to faintly resemble the Savior.

This can be your story too.  The Christian life was never meant to be comfortable.  It's meant to be difficult, exciting, challenging, and liberating.

But don’t take my word for it, read No Easy Jesus and discover the better way.

 
©Kinsey Oglesby, March 12, 2017


“Too many Christians I know have grown bored and frustrated with just ‘believing’ in Jesus. They’ve settled for salvation someday, not realizing they can experience a fuller life today.”

Many Christians share a secret. Few of us dare to speak it out loud, because doing so would feel like taking a slap at God—and it wouldn’t make us look good either. Yet this secret is affecting us painfully on the inside every single day.

Here it is: Believing in Jesus has left us disappointed.

At one point we were thrilled and hopeful about living a life of trusting in Christ. But over time our experience has failed to live up to our expectations or make the difference we thought it would. So we’ve begun to think: “This can’t be all there is to being a Christian.”

If that’s what you’ve been thinking . . . you’re right.

No Easy Jesus holds the key to moving forward when you’re bored, disillusioned, and beaten down by faith-as-usual. It’s a clarion challenge to wake up each day and choose Jesus all over again; to make the tough, gritty choices that align your way with His and lead to true fullness of life. Because when you decided to follow Jesus, you didn’t sign up for what was easiest—you signed up for what was best.
©Kinsey Oglesby, March 12, 2017