What a great question. This question was posed to me by BeckyLynn Black who lives in Southern Virginia with her husband, Dave and is a missionary to Ethiopia (Dave too) and is currently trusting the Lord as she is going through chemotherapy for uterine cancer. She is one of the most dedicated, committed Christians I’ve ever known. She totally trusts the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver her in her illness according to His plan and purposes and she’s completely surrendered to that. Talk about someone allowing Jesus to affect their lives. These two saints (and I say that sincerely) are sincerely allowing Jesus to “affect” their lives with great “effect.” The question of “How Jesus Affects My Life” was posed to all individuals that are considering making a mission trip to Ethiopia in June/July of 2010. After having travelled there earlier this year with my daughter (Katy, 15), I am ready and willing to go back and serve again.
As I think about my own life and how to honestly answer the question, I realize that I’d rather have someone else answer the question for me. It would be more comfortable to do so as well. But, that’s not the case. So, I will genuinely give my best to answer accordingly.
I want to be succinct in my response in that for most…they would not be interested in reading about “my” life. What I want to share is how Jesus affects me daily. ultimately, as I consider how He affects me, I see my many deficiencies and sins of omission. In fact, trying to answer this question is actually helping me to see where I’m weak. Christ is my desire. I want to live for Him in a dedicated and sincere way. I am a person of principle and the Lord created me to be a worker and I am. Yet, I find that often my “work” for Christ takes me down a road of “performance” instead of a road of relationship and “walk along, talk along” faith. I just work! I just serve! I counsel, I send emails, I visit the sick, I console the bereaved, I encourage the hopeless and compel the lost for Christ. That’s wonderful! But, sometimes I hear the voice of the Holy Spirit say to me, “What about me!” “What about time with me?” He’s not mean or judgmental. He’s kind and gentle and cajoles. Praise the Lord for His goodness and His sweet Spirit. This “comforting” I’ve receieved teaches me and “affects” me in that I’ve learned to encorporate in how I pastor and try to shepherd the dear flock I serve. Oh how gracious the Lord is to His children.
Jesus has shown me over the last 4 to 5 years what it means to totally surrender my life and Pam, my wife, has been through this with me. We’ve learned what it means to live for God’s kingdom instead of our’s. This life is not about what we want. It’s not about our comforts or our pleasures. It’s all about the glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ. Does this sound oppressive? To some it might, but let me assure you it’s the most freeing experience and journey you could have on the face of this earth. God created us for good works Paul told the church at Ephesus (Ephesians 2:10). Truly to live for Christ is gain! Indeed, I choose to be crucified with Christ…because then I live. I relish in taking up my cross in following Him because that is joy! Oxymorons you say! I know…but, it’s true!
I’ve learned you can’t truly know Christ and He NOT affect your life. He influences every facet of my life and that of my family. He affects how we spend money, what we watch on TV (very, very little I may add…mostly old DVDs of The Walton’s, Little House of the Prairie and Andy Griffith Shows), what we do in our leisure time (we’ve learned to find our leisure in our “work” for Christ), and how we reach out to people who aren’t like us and need Christ (even though we’d like to curl up in the cocoon of our home). So we live outside of ourselves and serve when we don’t feel like serving. Oh how Jesus did that. Tired, worn out, hungry, destitute, yet always loving and always serving. So, we’re working on that daily…a continual “dying to ourselves.”
I mentioned that Jesus affects how we spend our money. Boy, has this changed. We’ve never “blown” money, but our priorities have changed greatly. We’ve adopted two precious children from China.
- Andrew and Clara “loving” each other