Did Jesus Really Say That?

Follow Me and you’ll be trouble free.

This is from my devotional today. I think there may be some of you who might need to know this. If so I hope it blesses you like it did me.

A normally rowdy eight-year-old boy came home from school in tears and marched straight to bed. Instead of his sneakers tearing through the house, something horrid was tearing through him. He’d gotten in trouble again for talking in class. He was crying as if he’d lost the family dog and forfeited his chance to ever eat ice cream again in a future life as a monk who would only ever do chores and take naps whilst sitting silent at under-sized desks.

Joking aside, it was really bad. He was heartbroken.

After peeling him off his pillow and then prying into his little life, Dad dug up a painful root. “I don’t think I was ready to be baptized,” the big-hearted boy said through streaming tears. “I thought if I followed Jesus, I wouldn’t make so many mistakes.”

I thought if I followed Jesus I wouldn’t: struggle with addiction, nearly lose my marriage, lose my temper, get divorced, struggle financially, lose a loved one too early, deal with doubt, watch my kids leave their faith, experience temptation, miss the promotion, miss the promotion again, get talked about behind my back, lose popularity, or make so many mistakes. Which thoughts have you had?

That’s not a cute, made-up story about an imaginary boy. He’s as real as you. He was broken for the same reason anyone’s broken: He misunderstood who Jesus is and what Jesus says. Jesus never said, “Follow Me and you’ll be trouble free.” He said things like, “Follow Me and: I’ll make you fishers of men; Let not your hearts be troubled; You will experience troubles, but I have overcome the world; Deny yourself; I’ll give you real rest; Lose your life for My sake and you’ll find it.” That’s a paraphrased list, but you can read Jesus’ words for yourself in today’s Scripture reading.

So, Dad looked the little boy in the eye and said, “Following Jesus doesn’t mean you never get in trouble—it means you’re already forgiven. It means He’s with you now and next time you need help doing the right thing. It means He loves you even when you make a mistake bigger than talking in class.”

Jesus didn’t invite us to some kind of trouble-free, easy life. He invites us to give everything yet receive more than we could ever want or earn.

Pray: Jesus, will You show me how I’ve misunderstood You? Forgive me for trying to pursue ease instead of Your presence and for trying to secure my perfection instead of accepting Your grace. Thank You for not only forgiving me, but for being with me today. Amen.


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About HCliffCraig.com

“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”. I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full. “ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”. ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been. I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten. I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis. I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change. I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life. If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad. One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather. One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness. All part of a story that has had many twists and turns. I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs "As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles" And so it is true for me. But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed. The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins! "" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns". Philippians 1:6 My hope is that as we all run our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written. And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you. Further up and further in!
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