Like Godzilla on the Streets of Tokyo – Reasons NOT to Follow Jesus (part 4)

One of the biggest warnings I can issue against following Jesus is one that should be taken seriously if you’ve made it this far.

If you choose to follow Jesus, you’ll have to change. Completely.

You come to the Father just as you are (that’s a beautiful truth) and He welcomes you like His long lost child (which you are) but then like a loving Dad, He enrolls you in The Academy of Extreme Soul Makeover.

In his second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul exclaimed “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17 NIV)

That sounds beautiful, doesn’t it? We become a new creation. Wow.

And sometimes the process of becoming that creation is beautiful – like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis all full of wonder and color and wings and the ability to fly. Others watch in breathless awe.

But sometimes it’s more like a scene from Alien when some horrible creature writhes and spews and claws its way out of its host. And people run like Japanese extras in a Godzilla flick, shielding their heads with newspapers (from the spew), averting their eyes and screaming “Why, why is this happening to you?”

In my experience, the process of transformation in Christ is more often like the second scenario than the first.

(Perhaps I need more work than you will.)

And the change process NEVER ends – well, not this side of glory, anyway. Peter writes this to believers, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV)

Does that sound like a summer stint at charm school? Heck, no. This is like getting a medical degree on top of a PhD in engineering with a double major in rocket science and Latin with a minor in Greek.

You must change. You must be transformed. The old you must die and the new you emerge triumphant.

(I know, I know. You’ve met Christians who haven’t changed in years – not anything – not their character, their hairstyles their hemlines or their ties. I don’t understand it either. Maybe they’re reading a different Bible.)

So you’re changing, right?

And sometimes the people around you welcome the changes and they cheer you on and support your new way of being and operating in the world.

And sometimes the people around you look at you funny and act like you’ve caught leprosy. They’re not happy with you, in fact, they’re down right annoyed and if you think they’re going to change, too, you’ve got another think coming. And they ask if maybe you’ve joined a cult or gone all fundamentalist or think you’re better than everyone else or worse, become a religious fanatic.

Because if you change then maybe you think they should change and that’s unsettling on a relationally seismic level and sometimes it causes a great fault and you’re standing on one side and they’re left standing on the other.

There’s nothing fun about that. You don’t stand there feeling like a beautiful Monarch with amazing new wings. You feel like that spewing, snarling creature in Alien.

And in those moments, following Jesus doesn’t feel like getting your best life now. It feels more like screwing up everything that worked before and making life much, much, much worse then you imagined it could be in that moment that you heard Jesus call your name and you said, “Here am I.” and it felt like coming home.

Now you’re hoping there’s Dramamine in the communion wafers because you are definitely feeling seasick from the waves of change.

Coming to Jesus is an event. Becoming like Jesus is a process. And sometimes you feel like an amazing wonder of butterfly engineering and sometimes you feel like Godzilla on the streets of Tokyo.

So, if you’re not up for the process of changing, don’t bother to attend the event.

Following Jesus is not something that happens in a moment. It starts in a moment and is followed by another and another and another and each of those moments is about building the Kingdom of God starting first in your own heart.

It’s not always pretty. If you don’t have a strong stomach, maybe this life with Christ isn’t for you.

If it’s still appealing, I’ll see you at my next post.


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13 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Have you ever had a “lesson for the week from God for you” thing? I label it such when every devotional, every song on the radio, every message, even comments from friends all point out a truth I obviously need to hear. I just wanted to let you know that you have been part of the “lesson for the week from God for Miriam.” I’ve been enjoying (is that the right word?) your posts. At least, if I wear my steel-toed boots I enjoy them. 🙂 Thanks!

  2. I get those lessons of the week all the time (I’m a slow learner so God has to come at me from a bunch of different angles.) Thank you for coming by, Double Cousins. I love the steel-toed boots – very fashion forward for God!

  3. Carmen says:

    You have the ability to bring humour into very serious topics, and it’s refreshing. You had me laughing at the ‘horrible creature writhes and spews and claws its way out of its host.’ It’s just so true though. I’ve been thinking about this very thing for some time now. Christians aren’t changing after their conversion, or they’re welcoming back their ‘old man’ and living that life–like a dish of greasy grace. It is cause for prayer and concern, and we are all so easily ensnared in this. Thank you for a very funny, but serious post!!

  4. Thanks, Carmen. I try to take the Lord seriously but myself, not so much. Glad you dropped by!

  5. Cheri says:

    Lori,

    Love the new look of your blog. And a new profile picture. Cool.

    Also really liked this post, because it is so very true. And if folks are going to follow Christ, they deserve to be warned that it’s not always the walk in the park that some make it out to be.

    Hugs,
    Cheri

  6. Thanks, Cheri. Time for a blog change in time for the post about changing – go figure. When I was considering my new haircut the owner of the salon told me “It’s much better. You were looking “frumpy” before that.” Wow, friends should mention something like that, don’t you think. 🙂 Thanks, Cheri.

  7. Cheri says:

    I had similar comments when I changed my hair style a couple years ago! Wonder why they wait to tell you until after you make the change? Go figure.

    Hugs,
    Cheri

  8. Maurie@GraciousInteriors.blogspot says:

    Lori–so you’ve changed the hair and given the blog a make-over, don’t you wish the interior changes were this easy? Maybe I am not malleable, but God usually has to turn-up-the-heat before I change. Thanks for the post.

  9. Absolutely, Maurie. Change is a challenge – even more so the older I get.

  10. Lovely, wise, and challenging

  11. Why, thank you, my friend.

  12. Pam says:

    I am so glad I ‘found’ your blog, Lori. It’s like a breath of fresh air for me.

    My husband is STILL waiting for me to ‘change back’ into the old me, like this is some sort of fad. It’s been a rough ride. Thanks for the encouragement and wisdom here.