One of the hardest parts of following Jesus is allowing him to take control of my life. As humans, we feel vulnerable and frightened by the idea of not being in control of what happens in life. We want to be the final say in all our decisions. We want our own desires to be the most important factor in making those decisions. We don't want to give up our own desires (no matter how good or bad they might be) for something else that we don't want as much. That is all part of the human nature. We need control over our own lives and, if we will admit it or not, we will fight to the death to keep that control.
This is the problem when we give our lives over to Jesus. By committing to follow Jesus, we are giving back to him the right to be the final say in our lives. We are asking him to lead us where we must go. We are asking him to show us how to live. We are asking him to tell us what to do and what not to do. By following Jesus, we are declaring that Jesus has the best life for us. Not the better life. Not an upgrade in life. The best life. We are saying that following Jesus is the best option for living. I could possibly live a decent life on my own (...maybe...), but following Jesus (as he guides me in life and teaches me how to live and love) is the best possible life I could find.
It's hard to let go of control and to hand that over to someone else. It's hard to give the "ultimate veto" power to someone else when it comes to your life decisions. However, this is the life that is chosen when someone commits to following Jesus. I think that a lot of us who follow Jesus tend to treat him as if he is following us. "Come here, Jesus. Come with me as I go here. Help me out when I need it. Thanks. No, Jesus, don't get ahead of me. Stay behind me and just follow where I go."
Have you ever played Marco Polo in someone's swimming pool? Most of us tend to treat Jesus as if he is the one who is "it." We want Jesus to close his eyes, continually yelling "marco," and we want him to keep following us and our movements as we yell "polo." I shouldn't have to explain why this is not the way it should be. We should be the ones who are "it." We should be the ones whose eyes are closed, not even able to see our next step in life. We should have to yell "MARCO," waiting in full anticipation of hearing a voice call back to us, "Polo," so that we can take a step in the voice's direction.
I write all this to say that I continually see this struggle within my own life. I was pondering why I so often don't completely follow Jesus and continually fall short of his message of loving God and others. Then, this question came to my mind, piercing my heart: If you won't follow Jesus in all areas of your life, in all circumstances, in loving people, in loving God, then do you really trust that Jesus has the best life for you? I hate to even think that, but I think that if each of us who follow Jesus would be honest with ourselves, we would each be shocked with our candid answer. I have to say that I don't always live like I trust Jesus to make the best decisions for me. I don't always live like I trust Jesus to come through for me. This is the struggle inside each of us who follow Jesus. This is the struggle that has to be faced, candidly and honestly, and has to be fought with ferocity and ruthlessness. Otherwise, this struggle will continue to gain ground in our lives.
Analyze your life. Analyze your decisions. Think through the areas of your life that don't line up with following Jesus, whatever they may be. Why are we not following Jesus in those areas? Why are we not loving those who get on your nerves? Why are we trying to find "love" or "acceptance" around every corner? Why are we gossiping about others? Why are we trying so hard to find happiness in all the wrong places? Could it be that we have not fully sold out to trusting Jesus? Could it be that we don't completely believe he will come through for us? Or that he holds the best life possible for us?
Live like you trust Jesus has the best life for you.