I have a confession to make. I don't follow Jesus perfectly. That's not the confession though. If you are reading this, you don't follow Jesus perfectly either. As far as I can tell, Enoch is the one who walked the closest with God, and one day he just wasn't there. I haven't seen that happen with anyone else.
My confession is this: I don't follow Jesus freely. Coming from a background where my actions and obedience counted for more than what was in my heart, it has been relatively easy for me to feel free to do certain things that I was taught were sin. That is not the problem. The problem is that, in trying to follow Jesus, I have been wearing chains that have kept me from freely doing so.
I have tried to be the perfect disciple. I have tried to always say the right thing and always be there for those who need help or are hurting. God has blessed (cursed?) me with a soft heart and in my desire to empathize with people and show them God's love, I have tried too hard. When things go wrong, I beat myself up because I have not done a good job of loving, serving, being a friend, etc. Just ask Jan. I'll even beat myself up because I beat myself up!
I came to the realization today that Jesus has not called me to follow him perfectly. He simply calls me to follow him. He has called me to be free. Galatians 5:1 says that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Think about it. Christ has set us free so we can be free! Free from sin, yes. Free from death, yes. Free from guilt, yes. I realized that he has also set us free from anything that would keep us from following him with a wild abandon. Free from the opinions and expectations of others. Free from always having to do or say the right thing. Free from second guessing and beating ourselves up. Free to fully trust the love of the Father, the power of the Spirit to change lives, and the promise in Romans 8:28 that God does work in everything for the good of us becoming like Christ. I've always "believed" that in my head and gave lip service, but I want to grasp hold of those truths and hold onto them with everything in me.
I want to follow my Lord and Savior with every fiber of my being, to hear only my Shepherd's voice and be trusting enough to follow him with abandon. I want to love others recklessly, to give myself as Jesus did, to simply do whatever my Master tells me to do, regardless. I want to believe without question that my Father loves me even when I'm not perfect, and that he can and will redeem my screw-ups and bring good out of them. I want to not second guess myself, and I want others to see Jesus in me to such an extent that they don't doubt the goodness of my heart or the love of Jesus.
On top of all that, I want to be and do all this without trying. I want to come to know my Jesus so intimately that it all comes out of my union with him. It seems like a lot to ask for, but my Father is over all and I believe he wants that for me. All I have to do is take it.
I want to follow Jesus freely, not perfectly.
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