Following Jesus isn’t easy. Although it is one of the most incredible things in the world, it is still a very hard job to do. As we seek to know Him and become more like Him, something pretty incredible starts to happen. In our pursuit for Jesus, He shapes us and molds us to become more and more like Him, and He pushes us to become the absolute best we can be! Many times though, as we’re changing and moving forward and living to serve Him and to walk the path that God has destined us for, often times the reality is that that path can leave us very lonely. Although we are becoming closer and more present with things above and in the Spirit of the Lord, many times that draws us farther away from this world, and farther away from the things that seem normal to many of those around us. I can say that it has happened more than once where a friend who has loved me and cared about me so deeply, no longer wants to be in my life anymore because they don’t understand why i’ve changed or why I don’t want the same things that I used to. It has also happened many times that people slowly fade out of my life because they know what I am doing and they see where I am going, and they don’t want me around because they don’t want to be reminded of it. And the truth is that following Jesus can mean giving up things that most people could hardly comprehend giving up.. and when you move in one direction that others around you are not, it’s easy to become misunderstood. And it’s easy to become unwanted by this world. And trust me you don’t have to say it because I already know, it’s not fun. Everyone desires to be loved and cherished. Everyone wants someone that just knows them, someone that understands them, that wants them for exactly who they are.. but sadly many times instead of having those things we’re left being mocked, being judged, being ridiculed, being torn down for what we believe in and its all because no one seems to understand why it is that we live the way that we do.
I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t like being alone.. I don’t like being misunderstood and I can become really discouraged sometimes because I don’t feel like I have anyone to walk with me or to really know me or even want to for that matter. So I am writing this letter to you, misunderstood, because I would like to say..
DONT BE DISCOURAGED
The truth of the matter is that we serve an amazing and incredible God that loves and cherishes us and understands who we are and where we are going. Although we may feel alone on this earth, we know that we are never alone because we have God by are side! The same one who created us, the same one that calls us His masterpiece, the same one that breathed life into each and every one of us. When you choose to follow Jesus, it is for a reason. In Jesus we have freedom. When things are hard and the waves come, we have a God that raises us up and carries us to safety and provides us with peace. When we are faced with a struggle, we have a King that rounds up his army of angels and raises us to victory against those who have come to harm us. When we are hurt and lonely and feel like we are hopeless, we have a Savior that reaches down into the deep, dark pit that we have made for ourselves and rescues us without hesitation. Once we have seen and experienced these things, it changes us. When we experience a love that is greater than the one of this world, a love that is indescribable, one that awakens a part of you that nothing else in this world is able to.. we are no longer satisfied with the things that this world has to offer. When we draw near to Jesus and accept the love that He offers, we no longer want to be away from it. Yes, we are human and we get off track and walk away from that love… but I know that even when I get off track, that I cannot keep myself satisfied with the way i’m living.. Because i’ve been shown a brand new picture of what it means to have a good life.. And i’ve seen His glory. It’s ok to be misunderstood, because you know who else was misunderstood? Jesus. And there’s not anyone else who could understand you more then the creator Himself. And we know that just as Jesus was called to a greater purpose, we have also. Matthew 7: 13-14 states,
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
We know that walking the narrow road isn’t easy.. it can be lonely and it can leave us being misunderstood. You will lose people you love and things of this world that you desire.. But I don’t know about you, but to me, Jesus is worth it. Sure, it would be easy to complain, to turn back, to walk away and give into satan and his schemes. It would be easy just to throw in the towel and say “Well, sorry God I tried, but i’d rather do my own thing.” But Jesus Christ died for me. He shed His blood for you and I so that we may experience freedom, so that we may live a life filled with peace, joy, love and hope! Jesus Christ rescues us from our fears and overflows the hole inside of us with an everlasting love that constantly completes us. So although this way of living can be tough and can cause us to give up some of things that we absolutely want to cling on to the most, it’s worth it. Jesus Christ isn’t concerned with making us happy, He’s concerned with making us holy! And the process of making us holy, or in other words sanctification, does not always involve the easiest and most comfortable way. Thankfully though, God has made many promises to us, one of those being this:
And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.
When we obey God and seek to serve and glorify His name despite the fact that the rest of the world urges against it and can leave you lonely and unwanted, Jesus is honest and faithful and will transform your life to become anything but average. He will lead you and guide you to a life that is greater then any of us could ever imagine and will rise you up to be an example to all those around you.
In my personal bible, often times it will have an excerpt to the side that follows certain passages. In Psalm 22 the people are crying out for God and asking why He has abandoned them. They cry out for the Lord and pray earnestly for His help.. and then it changes. They turn their mourning and crying into dancing and shouting praises of joy because the Lord answered them, and He rescued them. The excerpt that followed ended like this:
When life gets tough, obey God, and you’ll suddenly find more peace and hope then you ever imagined. No matter what the results of your plans or dreams are, and even if it feels like God totally let you down, trust him, believe, and know that this too shall be used to make you holy if you will just let it. Like the psalmist, get good at knowing that even if things seem miserable, God is always there and always in control. Let praise and not complaint be the final word in your talks with God.
Even though this walk is not always the easiest and even though it can leave us undesired, unwanted and misunderstood on earth, we know that we are the opposite in Jesus. In Jesus Christ we are loved and cherished and understood and when things seem tough on earth, it’s time to just trust and obey. Jesus Christ is supremely interested in everything that happens to you and is ready to make something beautiful out of the pain and suffering that we might have to face on earth in our pursuit for Him. Draw near to God and don’t be discouraged by those around you who are stubborn or lack faith. Do not be discouraged by those who try to fight for their own life. Because although their dreams and plans might be coming true, if we choose to be living by our own strength and not the Lord’s strength, then our energy eventually begins to run out, and our success eventually turns to failure.
In a song called “Outsiders” by Lecrae, he says this
I tried my best to fit in
Looking for a suit to fit in
Standing outside of your prison
Trying to find ways I could get in
Now I realize that I’m free
And I realize that I’m me
And I found out that I’m not alone cause’ there’s plenty people like me
That’s right there’s plenty people like me
All love me, despite me
And all unashamed and all unafraid to speak out for what we might see
I said there’s plenty people like me
All outsiders like me
And all unashamed and all unafraid to live out what they supposed to be
You’re not alone. Being different and being misunderstood isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it can just mean that you’re not afraid to live out the life that God has planned for you. That you’re moving farther away from this world because you’re becoming closer and closer to Him. So keep moving forward and don’t be discouraged by the things of this world. At the end of the day, you’re in greater hands than the world could ever supply you with. And if Christ reigns over everything, then whose hands would you rather be in anyways?