Following Jesus has caused me to give away some uncomfortable things. We have given the majority of our saving to single moms or a church, we have let abandoned teenagers or single moms live with us rent free, we have given away a car we couldn’t afford to replace. At first it was really hard, then I found none of those things were mine anyways. I had given my whole life the Jesus and all by “stuff” belonged to Him. My role was to be a good steward of His stuff. I learned He didn’t take anything from me. You can’t take what you have already given away.
Over the years, starting in elementary school I have been called so many names. People have labeled me a liar, a cheat, bible beater, gay, poor athlete, stupid, unqualified, poor leader to name a few. Before I knew Jesus, these phrases stuck and grew like a cancer in me. My identity was shaped by other peoples words. Then my identity started shaping my behavior. These words sucked the life out of me and shattered my self esteem.
When I started following Jesus and started reading scripture, I found other people that had the same issues that I did. Men and women who had shaped their identity off of other peoples words or the sins of their past. Then they would have an encounter with God, and God would speak to their identity. One of my favorite examples of this is Jacob when he wrestles with God in Genesis 32.
Genesis 32:28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”
Jacob means “liar, supplanter” and God says he is now Israel “May God prevail. He struggles with God. God perseveres.” What a shift! People still tried to label Israel according to his past. But he found a new identity in the identity that he gave away. Here is what he learned. People can’t take what you have already given away.
For the rest of you life people you care about and many who don’t will speak terrible things about you. People will try to label you and shift your identity. But they cannot take what you have already given away.
Who own’s your identity? Who owns the words your heart hangs on? Who owns your stuff? What would your life look like if you gave your identity, purpose, your stuff, and your life totally to Jesus? Would you like who you become in 10 years? Would you life be richer and fuller as a result?
GO DO IT!!! Go meet with God and let Him speak to you!
Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus