WHAT HOLDS US BACK?
Key Scripture: “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” —Philippians 3:7
My husband and I are praying for a relative to commit their life to Jesus. My husband has shared his testimony about finding forgiveness and new life in Jesus with her. We share our hope for her to find Jesus with her and urge her to consider the consequences of not choosing. We love her unconditionally and attempt to weave our conversations around truth about sin and love and mercy. We keep planting these seeds and continue hoping and waiting. We have not heard or seen evidence of a decision. Not yet.
She came close when her beloved grandmother passed away. Why do funerals often open a door or soften a heart towards faith? Maybe because she was in an environment where faith, God, prayer and heaven were regular topics, and comfort, hope and peace were regular offerings. Maybe because she experienced a level of care by men and women of God that she wasn’t used to; a level of care that outweighed the previous perceived hypocrisy, self-righteousness or pretense that she had experienced around Christians before.
Recently, she initiated a short but important conversation with me. We have something in common. I always wanted to have children but never did—not meeting my husband until I was 40. I wrestled with God for many years over marriage and children, but have found peace over that reality because of his wonderful presence and work in me. This young woman finds herself in a similar situation—desperately wanting children but not in a relationship that will lead to that.
Her sadness is deep. Her sadness is familiar to me. So, one day she asked me, “How do you handle that?” I told her the only answer I know, the only answer there is: Jesus. I try to explain how my relationship with Jesus is incredibly fulfilling and that he not only brings me peace in my disappointments and sadness, but that he also brings me purpose in the life that I am given.
She still seems to be in a place of indecision. As I pray for her, I wonder: What is holding her back? What is standing in the way of believing not only “in Jesus” but believing that He is worth it? That seems to be the missing piece.
I wonder if deep down she realizes that if she chooses to follow Jesus, that she’ll have to be all in? Is it pride that’s getting in the way? Is it that it is just too hard to admit that she can’t figure out life and make it on her own? Or maybe, does she realize, rightfully so, that following Jesus will mean that she will need to change some things about her life?
We see it in Mark 10:17-31 with the rich young ruler who is unable to give up everything, especially his possessions, to follow Jesus. We see it in the gospels with the crowds. At first they are attracted to Jesus but when his teaching gets hard, they choose to turn away from him. (John 6:60-69.)
Having children would have been wonderful, but following the Lord’s plan for my life brings ultimate fulfillment and peace. Knowing Him intimately as Lord and Savior, having His Spirit abide within me and having the opportunity to be with Him in heaven one day, that is worth giving everything else up.
I want to continue to be able to share this message well: In testimonies, lessons, devotions and sermons, but I also have to ask myself these questions:
- Does my life speak it as well?
- Do I live out the message that Jesus is worth it?
- Is it getting through to the people I know, love, walk beside?
- Am I disciplined and intentional about forsaking the things that don’t align with God’s will?
- Do I quiet my complaining tongue about the things I don’t have and rather trust God for his will in my life?
- Do I refuse to let the burdens of this world obscure the joy in my soul?
- Do I face trials willingly and walk through them well rather than blame God?
I will ask these hard questions and want to continue to grow in how I live my life. Wouldn’t it be great if people could say about us, “Wow, Jesus was worth everything to her!” And I will resolve to patiently keep praying and having conversations with those who haven’t yet discovered that truth!
Steps of Faith: I praise you Jesus for being everything and all! Lord, help me share with words and with my life that you are worth it! And when I fail, forgive me. When I fail, I will rely on your powerful Spirit to keep speaking and revealing this truth to others’ hearts. Thank you for the work you do in pursuing us and in perfecting us!
Deeper Walk Scripture: Philippians 3:7-11, John 6:60-69, Psalm 27:4