BY BRANDON MORROW - LEAD PASTOR — GOOD NEWS COMMUNITY CHURCH OF OKOBOJI
What am I to do?
As of writing this, I'm a day out of a new tattoo. It's a lamb with a banner that covers its eyes and wraps around its feet. The banner reads, "Caritas Christi Urget Nos." This is the first line of 2 Corinthians 5:14, "For Christ's love compels us," which of course raises the question: what does it compel us to do? I've thought that to be a good question for some time now. What are we to do? What am I to do? This question, I think, really sets the tone for Christian living and disciple making.
Historically, there have been a lot of confusion and many misconceptions on what it means to follow Jesus and what it entails. Too many well-meaning folks have begun a relationship and that's all there was to it. It only started and never grew. They were like a horse led to water but never saw another horse drink. They were left with the question, "What am I to do?"
Let's take a bigger look at 2 Corinthians 5:14-15: "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again."
This answers our previous question in an almost painful way. What are we to do? Die and follow Christ.
What kind of death? Well … the text says it really well. We must put to death living for ourselves. A friend of mine put it perfectly one day when he said, "I must have died a thousand deaths."¯ To follow Jesus, to drink from the well that is life with Him, to embark on the journey of making disciples, we must die. We must die to our wants, our desires, our hopes and our dreams. When we put to death anything that interferes with Christ as Lord of our life, we are giving permission for our hearts to be shaped to His. As our hearts are being shaped to match His, our wants are His wants, are desires are His desires, our hopes are His hopes and our dreams are His dreams.
We have to be careful with this type of information, though. We live in a microwave culture that thinks that discipleship, or following Christ, is something that happens overnight. Don't deceive yourself. This will take you the rest of your life. You will, as my friend said, "die a thousand deaths,"¯ or more, in your pursuit of following Jesus and answering the question of, "what am I to do?"
I liken this journey to getting a tattoo. It can be a terribly painful — and very long — process. The healing afterwards can also be uncomfortable as damaged skin heals. But what's left in its wake? Something beautiful. Something changed. I think that's our story, too. So, what are we to do? Die and follow Christ.