I remember when I first felt the call to serve Jesus; I tried to ignore it at first. You know, the way most of us have tried to ignore the bill collectors when they call (Caller I.D. was such a beautiful invention). And, just like with the bill collectors, I knew what Jesus wanted when He called. He wanted me, not just some of me and not just on Sundays. He wanted all of me, all the time. I knew this, so I tried to ignore the call. I knew that like the bill collectors, He wanted more than I wanted to give. But lucky for me, He can’t be easily ignored like they can. I couldn’t just turn off the phone or change my number and I eventually answered that call. I remember my body trembling, the tears falling and even being afraid of what I was feeling because I had never felt anything like that before. I had so many emotions that my mind could not sort them out and I had no other choice but to surrender them to Christ. The experience of turning my life over to Jesus was beautiful. Thank You, Jesus for being more persistent for my soul than bill collectors were for my money!
Now, being born again will always be the most beautiful experience that could ever happen here on earth but, Jesus never promises that it will always be pretty. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. In 2 Timothy 3:12 Paul writes, “Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” He said everyone will; not some and not maybe. I’m thinking Timothy gave an Amen when he read that. I’m thinking all Christians can give Paul an Amen to that. Sometimes, it seems that we have a “no money down and no payment until...” mindset on our salvation but, it seems the “until” part never comes. When we first become born again the down payment is easy: confess and repent your sins and believe Christ is the Son of God and He is you Savior. Confess, repent, believe; I can afford that. Then we sport our transformation around like a brand new car, showing it off to anyone that wants to see. We’re armed with all the specs and perks His grace has to offer. Then, we turn into salesmen to let everyone know they can afford all this too. But, then, the payments start becoming due and that shiny new car starts to look a little dull.
The question is not whether or not we can still afford His salvation but whether or not we want to pay for it. Sometimes, it’s not pretty. Even though, we could never pay what His gift is worth; we should strive daily to pay with our obedience, even if that means to sacrifice. Not only is not always going to be pretty but sometimes it is going to downright hurt. It could cost us relationships or financial stability, the freedom to go out and party or even the bitter taste of some humble pie because you have to forgive someone you don’t want to. In my case, I had to learn to love everyone, not just those who loved me or that I felt deserved my love. When Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross; trust me, it hurt. Just like when He was here on earth, He never asks anything of us that He isn’t willing to do Himself. Even if He didn’t want to, even if it caused Him pain; He obeyed and paid the price that was ours to pay. Matthew 26:39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine."
Like I said before, He doesn’t want part of us, part of the time. He wants all of us, all of the time. When the call is answered and we give Him all we are and could ever hope to be; the reward will be great because we will stand before Him when He calls again to bring us home. Even if the journey to get there comes with sacrifice or pain or isn’t pretty; it will be absolutely beautiful.