Mark 1:16-20

Too many times Christians forget to mention a very important part of what Jesus has called us to: the fact He is actually calling us to a new life. And amazing as this is, it means a lot more than just being saved from death. It means we are called to live a new way. We are called to a new life.

This isn’t just an eternal version of our own lives but a totally new way of life. We tend to think only pastors, preachers, missionaries, and others of the “spiritually elite” are the only ones who need to be constantly focused on living out God’s will, but we have all received the same calling as the disciples. Even more, we are all called to be disciples.

The drastic, life-altering calling of the Twelve is the same charge we are given? As much as we try to downplay it in our own lives, the answer is yes. Think about what the disciples did with Jesus. Some would call that a drastic comparison, but is it really that different from what God wants for us? We are also called to follow Jesus with everything, love each other, and be witnesses to the world. Though not all of us are going to be sent as traveling missionaries, we are all called to follow our Savior in the same way. Imagine how close missionaries are to God. In Christianity, there is no such thing as the “spiritually elite.” Depending on how you look at it, we either all are or all are not.

This scares a lot of people because they don’t trust God. When you give all of your life to God, He’ll probably make you stop doing a few things and He’ll start using a lot more of your time. They’re not usually blatant sins, but you know He’s probably not supportive of how much TV you watch, or certain things you obsess over, or where your mind wanders sometimes. But you don’t want to give those things up because you like them and they’re comfortable. We don’t like to be outside our comfort zones, so without God’s help, we can dig ourselves into a hole. We dig deeper and deeper into this comfortable area we choose, while God is calling us to an open and spacious life called faith. Faith is how God gives us freedom.

We need to be less focused on our own spiritual sleeping bag and more on the amazing life God has planned for us. One of the best things I’ve learned from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest (more on that later) is the fact that God doesn’t call us to something un-enjoyable. God calls us to a life with Him we will enjoy and love far more than we could ever imagine loving and enjoying our own lives. Life with God is amazing! You’re completely sure in your future because you trust in your good, good Father’s faithfulness, yet you never know what (or who) He may bring into your life next! It’s a bit like watching an adventure movie you’ve never seen before but you already know the good guys live in the end. It’s not something super uncomfortable and hardly bearable, but it’s even better—even if it is uncomfortable or hardly bearable at times, you can get through it because God is your strength! And God will see you through it all! It’s exciting, satisfying, and the greatest thing you could ever do! It’s indescribable; you can only experience it! It’s God’s presence with us.

I often identify one particular person I knew growing up as having one of the biggest and best influences on me for Christ. A goofy and rather awkward high school (and later college) student, he was just what you’d call your standard Jesus-freak. It was an interesting time for my church’s youth group, and I’d had more than enough people stand up on a stage and preach to me about how hard the Christian life is, all the things you had to give up, the constant battle of it, being ostracized from “the norm” of modern teen society, etc. (This is not the sort of thing to focus on if you want teenagers to get pumped about Jesus.) And then there was this one shaggy-headed dude in the corner wearing a concert shirt and wielding a guitar. Anyone who knew him knew that’s just who he was, but he had one quality we could all recognize immediately: this guy was on fire for God. He just radiated with God’s love. While zealous youth pastors tried to beat a hole through the pulpit about drugs and partying (not that many of us participated in either of those), this guy used his life to preach a far more powerful message.

Just live for God. Give Him your all. Sure, parts of it may be difficult, but it is so worth it. God is so amazing you won’t even believe it. His love really does consume all of you. Just do it.

It is so worth it. This guy didn’t focus on the disheartening stuff; he focused on God’s love. He didn’t need to worry with a rule list when he was devoted to pleasing his Father. He sought God’s heart. He was a light in more than one dark time; you can take my word for it.

So that is what the life God has called us to is about. It’s about being fully devoted to seeking God’s heart. It’s about wanting God more than yourself. It’s about seeing how great God is and wanting to see more. It’s God’s love that fuels us. Honestly, it’s about falling in love with God. And yes, He is totally worth it.

Thank You Father for sending Your Son to suffer and die for us so we can be reconciled to You! Thank You Jesus for taking the cross so the world can know You! Thank You Holy Spirit for coming to us so we can always be with You and You can always be with us! Please set us on fire for You, Father! Help us fall in love with You all over again! Please help us devote every part of ourselves to You out of love! You alone are worthy, and You are oh, so worth it all! Your grace is more than enough and Your love is everything! We gain more than we lose. You are so good! In Jesus’ holy and blessed Name we pray, let You be praised! You are Lord of all! You are our Savior! You are our Father! You are our God! Amen!

(My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers is a great book for learning about living the Christian life.)