I once observed a mother and daughter arguing quite intensely over the topic of a haircut. I could not help but hear every word, and the emotions that they delivered! As I sat, I quickly ascertained the two contrasting points. The daughter desired for her hair to become as long as possible and did not want to alter it’s length at all. The mother was attempting to make a point to shorten it by just a little by removing the dead ends would cause her hair to grow faster. I am bald, so I had no dog in this fight, nor did I know the answer, but it did make me think of my relationship with Jesus.
As I sat there and listened to this argument and the different opinions one thing resonated. They were both attempting to achieve the same goal. This happens so much with Jesus. It was true with his disciples, and it is true now, many want to ADD Jesus to their lives, instead of replacing their existing dead ends with Jesus. I must admit that I was guilty of this thinking for a long time after becoming saved. I had a good family, a good job, good friends, etc. Some fire insurance in the form of Jesus would be a splendid addition to my collection of things! After all who doesn’t want to have everlasting life! It sounds awesome!
One day an unfortunate reality smacked me in the face, and in my JOB like moment I was confronted with a harsh reality. It just does not work that way. I was not going to experience the everlasting presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit while they were tucked neatly in my dresser like so many of my other possessions. This realization was not one of my favorites at first. I took a long time praying and meditating over it and struggled with the end result. Then it washed over me like a tidal wave. If I wanted Jesus to change my life, I was going to have actually change my life. What sounds so simple is really difficult for most, myself included.
I was encouraged to be reminded that I was surely not alone in this struggle. Jesus is recorded as saying: “Matt. 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it..”
When I read that, I asked myself one question. Am I willing to lose my life as I know it for this relationship? Am I ready to allow the “Dead Ends” of my life be removed in order to grow? I discovered that I spent more time justifying why certain areas of my life remained than I spent developing my new relationship with Jesus. I had asked Jesus into my heart, but I was putting my limitations on what “rooms” he was allowed to help me clean up. I was in pursuit of a one-way relationship. I wanted to take, but I did not want to give. There is a compelling account in the book of Acts, which I feel is appropriate to explore.
Acts 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
The setting here is: In the early stages of the Christian church, it was much like a commune setting. Whoever joined did so voluntarily; however, upon entering you made yourself subject to the constructs of the church. One of these was to share property, and wealth amongst one another, and to necessarily give up your previous life spiritually, and materially and submit it to God. No one forced this husband and wife to join. They desired to experience the benefits of a relationship with Jesus in the fellowship of his followers without removing the dead ends of their previous life.
What a Dead End this turned out for the both of them!
As you reflect on the story of this couple, and how it turned out for them, I urge you to ask yourself.
- Are there areas of my life that need to be “cut off”?
- Are there areas of my life that I am lying to not only God but myself?
- Are there areas of my life that I “justify” to make them SEEM O.K.?
- What “Dead Ends” do I want to surrender to God?
- Do you want to grow?