Following Jesus is a lifelong adventure. You may have heard that before, but it is something I truly believe. Perhaps you aren’t the adventurous sort, or at least you haven’t been for years, and the prospect of adventure is not that appealing to you. Maybe you enjoy the safety and predictability of your life and adventure is the last thing you are looking for. Worse yet, you may be so burned out spiritually that life has become an endless string of monotony, a “holy grind”, if you will. Regardless of where you are, or what your inclinations may be, one truth remains: following Jesus with all your heart, mind and soul means you will engage in a lifelong series of adventures.
This should not frighten us, but instead it should invigorate. The life of Jesus was lived with purpose and passion. He knew exactly where He was going because He simply walked in the will of His Father. In the same way, we too can have a definiteness of purpose if we will but devote ourselves fully to following Jesus. I’m not talking about saying certain prayers, abstaining from a taboo list of activities or showing up at a church service for an hour each week. I’m speaking of an all out, unbridled, passionate pursuit of Jesus Christ. Jesus made radical statements to those who desired to walk His path. He told them He had no home and no place to sleep. He told them if they wanted to follow Him they needed to drop everything and sell everything they owned. He instructed them to forget the responsibilities of tradition and to forsake even their own families to join Him. On the surface, these are reckless statements. Followers of Jesus may have no home, no possessions, no money; they might be forced to live on the fringes of society and to be rejected by their families. What kind of plan is this? If we look a little deeper, we will see that there is indeed a method to the perceived madness, a strategy of divine proportions. Peel away the outer layer of uncertainty and you will find that everything Jesus demanded of His followers was for the purpose of leading them to a life where they had no one and nothing to depend on except Him. He told them not to worry about what they would eat or drink or what they would wear; God would provide. Herein lays the great adventure. All bets are off, and all of our plans are cast away. We throw ourselves into the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, not knowing where we are going, but trusting in Him to lead us there. To have no plan other than to devote our life to Jesus means we trade in our false sense of earthly security for eternal peace. It means we surrender our plans and dreams in exchange for freedom like we have never known. No longer will we be held back or enslaved by traditions or societal pressures. We are free to live the life we were created to live.
As with all adventure, the reward is not without its peril. Following Jesus is both difficult and dangerous. It is not for the half-hearted or the uncommitted. The work can be treacherous and heavy, but the results are both freeing and fulfilling. Jesus doesn’t promise a life of ease or security. He prayed for our safety; why would He do that if He was not fully aware of the dangers we would face? We are called to carry on His mission, and if we follow in His footsteps we should expect trials similar to what He endured. In my mind, the trials are more than worth the rewards. Trials last for such a miniscule amount of time, while God’s presence lasts an eternity. We may sacrifice a little now, but we gain a lot later; isn’t that the lure of all adventures?
Following Jesus means we always know where we are going but that we will rarely have any idea of how we’re going to get there! We can’t foresee the trials or joys that will invade our path, nor can we scarcely imagine whom we might meet or where we might travel. These very facts are what make the journey so exciting. We know where the path ends and we know who waits for us there. Everything between the then and now is simply the grand adventure of a life spent following Jesus. Today is the start of a new piece of that same adventure. Attack this day with vigor and passion, knowing that wherever it leads will be one step closer to Jesus.