A good friend sent me a TED talk to watch this week. It was on the power of vulnerability. The speaker’s premise was that there was a direct correlation between a person’s willingness to be vulnerable and their experience of, what she called, “whole-hearted living.” The whole-hearted person—because they embraced openness with others—lived with greater joy, less shame, and a deeper sense of worth than their less-hearted counterparts.
So, in the spirit of vulnerability, a confession: I lost over a dozen subscribers after I posted a week or so ago.
In the writing industry–where the size of your platform is of utmost importance (on many occasions proving to be even more important than whether or not you can actually write)—a shrinking list of subscribers is not a win. It would, perhaps, behoove me then, to knock off this blogging and do something less potentially detrimental to my career, eh?
But something else is at play here that cannot be written off.
Blogging, for me, is obedience. Plain ol’ obedience.
That is all.
I read a quote this week that spoke the truth. It said, “Worship of Jesus is rather harmless and risk-free; actually following Jesus changes everything.” (Richard Rohr)
For those of us living in America, it’s easy to go to church on Sunday. It’s easy to go to a weekend women’s retreat or do a Bible Study with our pals or even join up for a mission trip. (I speak from experience.) What is not easy, is the part of following Jesus that actually requires something of us.
Following indicates that we are no longer in charge of where we’re going. Someone else is leading and, to be good followers, we must go where they go and do as they do. We must obey. And obeying—because it requires submitting ourselves to someone else’s will–is never easy and is rarely fun. But it is where the life change happens.
And life change is critical. Because where there is no life change, there is no true follower of Christ.
I’ve been reading John 15 these last few weeks. (If you haven’t read it lately, go. Now. Read.)
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be full. John 15:8-11.
So, to break it down:
- True followers of Christ prove themselves by bearing fruit, which brings God glory.
- As enormously as God loves Christ, Christ loves his followers. Stay there, in that love.
- How? By keeping his commandments and staying there, in that love.
- Why? So that we will have Christ’s joy and our joy may be full.
Jesus doesn’t ask us to follow him because he’s cruel and demanding and power-hungry (He already has all the power on heaven and earth anyway, so…)
Jesus asks us to follow him, to change (remember last time?), to be obedient, for the sake of our joy. And not just any joy. Full joy.
And, if you’re like me, a weary traveler through these long, slow, quiet days, full joy sounds fully good.
Oh, but what a fight obedience is. I want to follow Christ, I really do, but I am not at all crazy about some of the places he leads.
Yet here I am.
Obeying on the tiniest of scale; writing this teensy blog to a dwindling number of subscribers because, for me, blogging is obedience. Plain ol’ obedience. That is all.
Sometimes our acts of obedience will be small. Sometimes they’ll be huge. Either way, they’ll bear fruit. Bearing fruit brings God glory, and bringing God glory brings us joy. Full, life-changing, whole-hearted joy.
Following Christ–truly following him–isn’t easy, but it is good.
(P.S. Thanks for reading and for not unsubscribing. Unless you do, which is fine too. I’m not in this for the numbers, thank goodness.)