A friend of yours finally convinces you to go to church.
“I’ll go, but I’m not drinking the kool aid,” you joke to them.
You get there and you are a little skeptical. This isn’t the first time you’ve tried to understand this whole Jesus thing, but what’s one more time going to hurt, right?
The worship band comes out and you start to hear the words. The band is decent, you can tell that they are into it. You start seeing people around you raise their hands and close their eyes. This is weird, you think to yourself.The worship team drones on the same two lines 15 times, and you start to get a little annoyed. “Why can’t they just end the song,” is what you want to say, but you are trying to be respectful. Finally they hit the last note, completely off key, but you don’t even care. It’s over, phew. The worship leader has everyone bow their head, and they say a prayer. Respectuflly , you lower your head, but glance around your immediate right and left noticing people whisper “yes,” and “amen.”
Wow these people are really passionate.
The announcements, offering, and a soloist all happen, and then the pastor comes up. They introduce themselves, and they start to speak. You start off with your hands folded across your chest, but then they say something that catches your ear. They hit a note in your life that you didn’t want people to know about, so you start to listen. You hope that maybe this person can tell you how to solve the issue you have been too afraid to discuss. As you listen to the sermon, you start to feel something pull at you. You’re not really sure what it is, but something just feels, weird. It’s as if the pastor knew you were coming, knew your life story, and decided to write a sermon specifically for you. It sure feels that way. You feel something stirring up in you, and you suddenly feel like you cant breath without tears starting to well up in your eyes. You look around to make sure no one is looking and then quickly “scratch your nose” to wipe away the beaded tear that is rolling down your cheek.
What is happening? You think to yourself, what are these feelings I am having?
Then the pastor starts to close up their sermon, and they ask everyone to bow their heads. “If you came here today, not knowing who Jesus is, or you’ve heard about him before, but never thought much about Him. If you are feeling moved to know Him more. If you are moved to invite Him into your life, would you raise your hand?”
You don’t know what these feelings are, but something tells you to raise your hand. You have to know more about what is going on. You have to know who this Jesus guy is, that just so happened to speak about the issue in your life today, 2000 years ago.
The pastor prays, and when he says amen you say amen as well. You open your eyes. The worship team is back on stage, but suddenly the last song hits you differently than the first 3 did. You hear the words, and tears flow down your face. You are absolutely blown away by how meaningful the words are. As they repeat the final lines over and over again you find yourself repeating them; each time with more conviction and more tears.
After the service you go up to the front like you said you would with your raise hand, and an old guy starts talking to you. After some small talk about who Jesus is, he hits you with the question. “Do you want to invite Jesus into your life?”
“Yes!” You tell him.
I know there are so many out there that have been through a scenario like this. Maybe exactly or even relatively close. If that is you. It doesn’t matter if it was yesterday, 3 months ago, or 30 years ago. Something a lot of people don’t tell you is this. That’s not even the honeymoon. We think that when we give our lives to Christ that that’s it, kapow! You have Jesus in your life and you are good to go! No, my friend. That was just the first date. You are nowhere near the wedding yet. We oversimplify the idea of Jesus telling people to stop what they are doing and follow Him, but we rarely discuss how the people who followed Him had ample time to get to know him, and get to see his good works. We don’t discuss that there are people who witnessed all kinds of his miracles and glory, and then still chose to walk away. We skim over the fact that these people, in the flesh, had a relationship – that grew over time – with Jesus.
While the pastor may have asked you to give your life right then and there, Jesus is asking something completely different. Jesus is asking you to take the time to get to know Him. He’s letting you know that this isn’t going to be easy, and that a love for Him is the only way you will truly be able to follow him.
Being a Christian does not mean knowing all the right answers, it doesn’t mean you go to church on the weekends, it doesn’t mean you had that feeling once and so now you just call yourself a Christian. Being a Christian means taking the time to build a relationship with Jesus Christ so that when he asks you to move, you instinctively do. It means when life gets tough you learn to lean in on Christ, and not blame him for what is happening. It means being encouraged enough to know that His love for you is more than enough to get you through.
It’s okay to be honest. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know yet.” Take your time. Learn to pray to Him, learn to understand who He is, and who you are to Him. Read the Bible and learn about Him. Ask him to guide your feet, and then when you make the decision to truly follow the path that God has for you, you can say “Yes!” with confidence.