We can only follow Jesus when we cut ties with those things that suck the life out of us and hold us back from the abundant life. Becoming a Christ follower implies that we're going to have to walk away from something, and it's for our own good. In order to move ahead toward God's bigger yes for our life, we have to learn to say no.
How do we break away from anything that’s destructive and stealing life from us–Walk Away! The real genius and power of Jesus’ call to “follow me” is that it implies we need to leave something. Jesus knew that if we’re going to get victory, we have to break free. And to break free, we have to walk away. The things that hold us back almost always hold us down.
The wisest counsel I ever received was to walk away from destructive systems I had set up for myself. To break away from Cocaine, Crown Royal, reckless carousing a huge shift had to happen. Now, God would never ask us to leave a spouse or kids to follow Jesus, but he will ask us to walk away from deadly patterns and obvious sources of temptation. For me to follow Jesus meant I had to fly away, literally. Thirty years ago I boarded a plane. I left a good job, from a monetary perspective, but it was filled with coworkers who lived for the weekend and the next gram of coke. I left a small circle of friends who didn't understand, but as I soon found out, didn't really care. I walked away from the only city I knew to go to a town I'd never seen. And at this new town I was met by a man and a woman who I barely knew but I was certain they loved me and wanted to help me follow Jesus. I doubted at times, got hammered with shame often, but I soon discovered that living as a disciple is worth any earthly price we might have to pay–even to look at the life we’ve made and walk away.
Too many new born Christian's become derailed disciples of Jesus, because we fail to follow Jesus no matter how crazy we may seem. When Jesus said “follow me”, he essentially gave us a clear plan to break free. What’s holding you back and holding you down? By faith we need to take a big first step. Walk away from that group of friends who suck you back into destructive systems. Walk away from that job that keeps stealing life from you in ways you’ve never told a soul. Walk away from that emotional affair, possibly that physical affair. Not another thing has to be listed, God has already placed on your heart what is holding you back and holding you down. So by faith, walk away, and watch what God has just around the bend.
In my next blog, I’ll share one of my deepest failures and the resulting pain that came just after I followed Jesus. Many of our greatest battles happen just after salvation. Maybe me sharing my failure will encourage you to keep moving.