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The Adventure of Finding & Following Jesus

When I think about what it means to find and follow Jesus, I  remember what I once thought it was.  Do you remember those "choose your own adventure" books?  The library at school was full of them.  I read with such anticipation until the page turned to where it asked you to "enter the cave" or "cross the river"...This is where my 10 year old mind started to struggle.  Surely one of those led to impending doom.  I didn't want to make the wrong choice.  So, I would read ahead!  I needed to know what the character was getting him/herself into.  There were still twists and turns coming and that made every decision a bit more trying.  

I thought finding Jesus was a lot like moving along this linear path of carefully planned and executed tasks so he and everyone else would know I was good.   What I found was that Jesus doesn't wield time and tasks over me to see if I fail and then leave me to my demise. I've found that I get to know who he is through the people he's placed in my life; those that I get to celebrate with and even those I've sat and shed some tears with.  The more I open God's word, his living and active truth, the more I began to see the depths of his love; his leading.  Not earned, but chosen.  

I get to follow Jesus.  Think about that.  We get to follow Jesus!  Jesus said in John 16:33
I have told  you these things so that you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  Take heart!  I have overcome the world.
There's an exclamation point after the words "take heart."  When Jesus tells us to take heart, he means: to be encouraged, have hope, do not give up, have cheer.  He already knew that we would face some things that would make us lose heart.  It's part of living in a fallen world.  

2020 isn't far from our rearview, right?  Jesus also said "I have overcome the world."  I thought about that a little more. That is the finished work of the cross.  A promise!  Unlike my adventure stories, when I follow Jesus I am proclaiming that I trust him beyond my imperfections, my abilities, and my circumstances because he IS the good news of great joy for all people.  Encouragement, hope, cheer--those are the actions that invite others to find and follow after the Savior, Jesus.  Take heart!

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