Maybe It’s Time for You to Quit Jesus

It might be time for you to quit Jesus.
I want you to consider that.
Seriously, take time and ask yourself some hard questions.
Why did I start following Jesus?
Why am I still following Jesus?
What if following Jesus starts to make my life uncomfortable?
What if people I know start to dislike me because I follow Jesus?
Or it costs me my job?
Or it separates me from friends, family, my own children?
What if this war for souls gets more real than a culture war?
What if it’s more real than liking some posts on Facebook or sharing a well-written op-ed?
What if I feel Jesus wants me to open my mouth with people I see every day,
Or change my life
Or take a major risk
Or give up my security?
What if following Jesus draws the attention of the enemy towards me?
What if following Jesus costs me my plans, my status, the respect of my peers, my dreams?
It’s time to ask these questions, loved ones.
It’s time.
Recently, there was a big controversy because World Vision made a decision to embrace employees in gay marriages and then reversed their decision when people withdrew their support of their mission because of it.Gay marriage isn’t Biblical but neither is refusing to care for orphans, so, go figure.
Some celebrity Christians spouted off about being disillusioned with evangelicalism because of it.
Good.
There is no “-ism” that died for you on the cross and it’s healthy to lose our illusions.
War does that.
It strips us of our illusions
and forces us to consider what we truly believe – what hill we’re willing to die on.
But I have to wonder if all these Christian talking heads have read one of the gospels recently?
Jesus loves us. He loves us enough to die for us
but He said some tough things
Absolutely tough.
Jesus didn’t tell us to believe in ourselves
or to accept ourselves the way we are
or to hang out and be authentically “us”.
Jesus told us to give up on ourselves.
To abandon our lives where we stood.
To shed any illusion that this story is about any one of us
and to pick up our crosses
to follow Him
Or go home.
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his lifewill lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” Matthew 16:24-27 (ESV)
He said this to the crowds.
To hard-working citizens with bank accounts and stable situations he said – deny yourself
To lesbians, gays, and straights he said – deny yourself
To the holy and the hard-up he said – deny yourself
Or following me isn’t the life for you.
And when masses of people turned away after hearing those words – He didn’t chase after them,
Or send out follow-up questionnaires
Or ask His disciples how He could tailor His message to win them back.
Nope. He let them go.
Believers in other countries already know what I’m sharing with us in the Western church in this post: this whole war for souls, this kingdom come, is getting real and it’s only going to get harder from here.
So, now is the time to ask the hard questions. This is a time for courage. The Holy Spirit counts cowardice and faithlessness in the same list as idolatry, sorcery, and murder:“The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:7-8 (ESV)
If it doesn’t take courage to live the life you’re living for Jesus, if you don’t have to deny yourself or lay anything down then maybe it isn’t Jesus you’re interested in following but just an “-ism” or a movement or celebrity or a life philosophy.
That’s fine. That’s your choice.
But following Jesus, well, that’s a narrow road.
So, loved ones, maybe this is the time for you to quit Jesus.
Or to reacquaint yourself with His word, put your armor on, and take your stand behind Him.
If that’s your choice, brace yourself.
It’s going to be a bumpy ride and it’s going to get darker before we all see the Light.

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25 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. You always challenge me, Lori – thank you for allowing God to use you to make us think.

  2. C.M. Sturm says:

    Lori- you wrote the very things that have been on my heart. You stand for truth and I appreciate you and the encouragement your blog brings. God’s richest blessings to you!

  3. Terra says:

    This is a post that challenges me and that is a good thing. One thing we Christians can rightly want is to be covered with the dust of the rabbi, as we follow Him.

  4. Asher Blake says:

    Why do I follow Him? Because He is Love and He is holy. He is dear and ardent and the End of all seeking. Where else would I go? He died to make us like Him and that means being self-sacrificial too and freed from ourselves. I need that work of the cross to save me from myself. There is a resistance to the long work of the cross, taking away our selfishness. But if we belong to Him we are predestined to conform to our Holy Lord. If we can count ourselves dead to the world and only fortunate to have the opportunity, a hope, to serve the Lord in the specific ways He desires. And the world is for His glory. Let our affliction comfort our brothers and sisters, and let us also share in our God’s comfort. Lori, thanks for the great post. They are very helpful to me. – Asher, unfailingword.com

  5. Lori Heyd says:

    Lots of good truth here……it’s a good thing to ask ourselves every single day!

  6. Hi Lori,
    Les shared some wonderful things about you and I was motivate to check out your blog. I truly admire your desire for following God’s call. May you continue to share with others what He’s placed on your heart! I would be honored if you would check out my blog. I was told we have a similar passion for creativity!
    Many Blessings,
    Danielle Street
    http://www.journeytowardsmaturity.com

  7. As you so often do, my friend, you have stopped me in my tracks; forced me to take inventory and ask myself some questions. I pray my answers are the right ones. God knows, and with that I am content. Thank you for the way you stir the pot…..it really does help to keep this stew we’re in from settling to the bottom to burn.

  8. jscotthusted says:

    Wow Lori! This is good! Can I re-post this on my own blog — with credit, of course.

  9. Lori this is the same message God has me teaching. I have been challenged by His call to “Chose this day whom you will serve” and “Pick up your cross” May I share this when I teach? I love you my dear sister in Christ. I love Christ in you

  10. Jayne says:

    From someone who has been comfortable far too long I say Thank You. Your words are an echo of the things God has been speaking to me of.

  11. Carmen says:

    I think about this often. I wonder what will happen and how it will affect me, my family, my friends. Will we be victorious? Peter thought so….and yet he fell, though he got up again. Sometimes I think I reflect too much on what is happening in the churches, the world and what is and will be required of us….and yet I feel like I am so lacking, so undeserving, so lost. Anyone else feel that way? I’ve been a christian for 36 years…but I’m just being honest.

  12. I think about this often, as well, Carmen. Will I be courageous enough to stand? Are my adult children and grandchildren ready? Have we prepared well? I am concerned that the Western church is too soft. Thank you for the post. We need to prayerfully consider our faith … whether it is precious metal or wood, hay and stubble.

  13. Rosa says:

    Yes and amen.

  14. Margie Hoffman Johnson says:

    I’m still choosing Jesus. It has been a very rough year in our family’s life – surgery after surgery – limping and moving so much slower- a daughter denouncing Christ- our 75 year old business becoming obsolete. And – So much sin and hardness keep surfacing from my heart . I’ve had my head buried in the Psalms and Lamentations and done a lot of crying out to Jesus. It has been a fight to give thanks and count it pure joy. But He is still my Lord- my anchor- my heart. He has never stopped loving me – and when you’ve been rescued like I was- there’s no turning back. With every ounce of strength I’m hanging on to you, Jesus. Help us all persevere and glorify Him to the end.

    • Denise says:

      God bless you. Hang on to Him who keeps you and know that you have encouraged me to keep on. Lord, please bring peace, comfort and Your strong presence to Margie and her loved ones during these awful, stormy days. Lord, bring her daughter back to You. You promised that none of Yours would be snatched from our Father’s hand. We claim this promise for this situation and give You the glory. I ask this in the name of Your precious son, Jesus, Amen.