and let Him loose in my life…

was end of grade 10 or 11 [or standard 8/9 as we used to call it in the days when we had to trudge 50 miles barefoot in the snow just to get a glass bottle of milk!] when that happened, but let me back track.

i was five years old when i asked Jesus into my heart – looking back now i may have not understood the metaphor – at least i’m hoping not, cos i’m not sure at 38 that i get it now – but i am convinced that i knew enough about what i was doing for it to matter – my parents had taught me well about the love of God and how that was demonstrated through Jesus and more importantly lived that out in loving ‘the least of these’ who constantly seemed to be in and around or near our lives… and so it doesn’t really matter that the terminology may have been a bit off, what happened was important – i believed in God and i did something [asked Jesus into my heart] to demonstrate that belief.

when i was nearing the end of school though i had some youth leaders pray for me to be filled with the Spirit – again, terminology a lot of people may not be happy with or fully get, and again i don’t think it matters… what changed pretty dramatically in me at that time was that i moved from believing in Jesus to following Jesus – instead of just my heart, i invited Jesus to be a part of every part of my life… and my life changed.

i have never looked back. it has gotten bumpier for sure and there were many moments of struggle and wrestling with doubt and confusion and there was a near death moment which coincided with a crisis of faith ‘well do i really believe this stuff or not?’ moment [Malawi, 2000 – nothing like a near death moment to help you figure out the answer to the do you believe this or not? question, by the way] and there have been times of experiencing the Presence of God and seeing Him work in powerful ways and other less fun times of feeling so far away from God and wondering if He really cares cos it doesn’t feel like it so much right now… and yet through it all i have continued because i know that i know [deep, deep inside of me the Truth lives and is real and burning and nothing will put it out]

following is way different to believing
while Jesus was locked in my heart, i was safe to live life as i wanted to, pretty much
but He is not content with that – He wants everything and i needed to give it to Him
and that is a decision i have not regretted no matter how hard it has been at times

i just think it might be helpful for anyone still using the ‘invite Jesus into your heart’ language to consider moving to a more Biblical ‘invitation to follow Jesus’ especially where children are concerned. i think it might be a lot easier to understand. and a lot harder to be unaware that you’re not living it.