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By Makenna Nahorniak
As I sat in my bedroom during my freshman year of high school and read the Gospel aloud to myself, I came to one life-changing and inescapable conclusion: the Lord calls His followers to a life set apart. I wept because this meant leaving things behind and humbly submitting to Jesus all the things I had found myself so desperately clinging to. It meant letting go of myself and allowing Him to fill every empty corner in my heart. It meant deciding to do the thing that appears to be most illogical in the eyes of this world simply because I know the Lord has chosen something different for me. It’s difficult to arrive at the turning point. There is pain in submission, but, dear friends, there is incomparable joy found in the moment we choose to release every inch of ourselves to a God who plans only good.
You see, choosing life in Jesus isn’t a quick contract to be signed out of fear or obligation only to be left in the basement of the church building. Out of this choice to believe in the name of the Lord and His salvation should come a deep and burning desire to become more like Him. This means observing His ways and ultimately obeying His voice.
The Lord doesn’t wish to hold us captive in commanding us to follow Him with every area of our life, but rather, He seeks to set us free.
What a sweet blessing it is to no longer be under the power of sin and death. How beautiful it is to become alive in the presence of a God who desires our whole hearts!
So what exactly does it look like to release ourselves to the marvelous purpose of Christ’s Kingdom? It all begins with picking up the life Jesus provided at the cross and simultaneously laying our own lives at His feet. It’s choosing to find sustenance in His promises rather than our own dreams, plans, desires and knowledge.
Jesus says some startling words to His disciples in John 15, but ultimately, as His followers, I am confident that we can find renewed purpose and calling in these difficult, yet highly important words of truth. Jesus begins in verse 18 by saying,
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
Hate is a strong word, but it’s an honest one nonetheless. The truth is that darkness trembles at the name of Jesus. Seeing as though this world is absolutely invaded by darkness, and Jesus is light, our sinful, fallen world isn’t particularly welcoming to the overwhelming sense of goodness He brings. Instead, the darkness flees. It may push back, it may persecute, but ultimately, this darkness is absolutely overcome by the brightness of Jesus. I have good news for you, fellow believers. We are called to carry the light of Jesus in our daily lives. The painful truth we need to come to terms with is that the world doesn’t voluntarily invite light to permeate the dismal darkness our sin has created. Scripture says, however, that Jesus has chosen His followers apart from the world— we don’t belong here— we belong with Him.
Scripture says, however, that Jesus has chosen His followers apart from the world— we don’t belong here— we belong with Him.
Let’s take this calling seriously, Church. Let’s continue to pursue light and a set-apart life despite the challenges we may face in making this decision. May we choose to spur each other on toward heavenly things. Let’s bring our faith into dark places though we may not always be invited. May we find our home in His Kingdom and press on as we seek His glorious plan and purpose.