I remember last fall, during a worship night at school, I have decided to follow Jesus came on. It is such a simple song that I have sang my entire life. But for the first time, I realized what those words actually meant.
I have decided to follow Jesus.
Though none go with me, I still will follow.
The world behind me, the cross before me.
No. Turning. Back.
Those words are a commitment to follow God no matter what the cost. Whether I lose all my friends, whether I lose my life (socially or physically), whether I lose all my prosperity or hope of a “future”…whatever it may be.
The lyrics are not “I have decided to follow Jesus, as long as everything seems good to me. When most people go along with me, then I will follow. The world right beside me, the cross before me. Sometimes I turn around and look at my past.”
No, no, no, no, NO.
How did I sing this all those years with a clear conscience? I never meant those words. I thought I did.
That night, I literally chose to follow God no matter what. I sat there as I was listening to the song and imagined never getting married, living in a little hut in Africa and getting martyred. What an extreme that is, but what if it happened? Would I be okay with it? Would I live my life full of joy because it was for my precious Savior?
As I sat there and let all these different ideas of “horrible” futures run through my mind, God quieted my heart and just said, “Why are you sitting here thinking of all the horrible things I might do to you if you commit your life to me? Don’t you know that if you are doing exactly what I want you to do, you won’t think it’s horrible?”
Letting that soak in, I started to feel this tingling inside…this passion just arising inside my heart. Right then and there, I decided that I would follow God and it was going to be amazing. My past was behind me, and I wasn’t going to turn back for it. I was gonna run straight forward to the cross, leaving everything in the world behind me.
I wish it was that easy.
When I got home from school, I thought that it was going to be easy to remember that passion, to remember my decision. For a while, it was. But I can’t pretend or lie and say that I didn’t struggle. Satan weaseled his way in. He told me that it was just this past year that was cool and it was all a facade. I truly believed that the people I had experienced all this Jesus with were wackos and no one else around was like them so I would have to tone down for the rest of the world.
Part of me wanted to take that decision back and have some fun for a little while. I just wanted to forget that I had “decided to follow Jesus”. Thank the Lord that he knows me so so well, and he put me exactly where he needed me.
When I worked at a camp one summer, and I met people that were just as whacked out for God, those lies that Satan had tried to get in my head vanished. I saw God work in just as amazing ways as he had this past year. For some reason, I had thought that if you weren’t in a foreign country or in a Jesus bubble that things like that didn’t happen in America. I was so very wrong.
Last fall when I was singing this song, I was scared and felt like I was making this huge commitment and sacrifice. After this summer, it doesn’t even seem like a choice, much less a sacrifice! This is my LIFE now. There’s no question about it.
How can it be a sacrifice when it’s the only way to live?