The old hymn beckons a with these words:
“Just as I am, without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me.
And that thou bidst me come to thee.
O Lamb of God, I come. I come.”
The lyrics ring true. All Jesus asks of us is that we come, just as we are. His blood is more than enough to cover our past, present, and future.
But that is only the beginning of the relationship. If we come, we begin to learn more. We ask questions, dig deeper, meet some new friends who can help point us in the right direction. It’s a trailhead for a lifetime journey, not a freeway with frequent entry and exit points.
In other words, Jesus definitely meets us wherever we are. We don’t have to do anything to work up to his level. He created us. He loves us. He knows our story better than we do.
But He never intended for us to stay ‘just as we are.’
The Bible is filled with stories of people who encountered Jesus personally, but not once did he offer to continue with them on a path they had chosen. The path that broke them and caused them pain.
To the woman at the well, he said, “Go, and sin no more.”
To Peter and Andrew, he said, “Come and follow me. I will make you fishers of men.”
To the man who had been paralyzed, he said, “Rise, take up your bed, and go home.”
It would make no sense for him to heal the paralytic, then tell him to go back to the life he used to live.
But as much as Jesus longs to show us a better life, he defers to us.
To the rich young ruler, he said “Sell your possessions, and give to the poor.”
This young man chose his possessions over Jesus. And Matthew 10:22 tells us ‘he went away grieving.’
Following Jesus cannot be a one time occurrence any more than a bride and groom can go in separate directions after the wedding ceremony.
True. Jesus loves us enough to meet us wherever we are, but He loves us too much to leave us there.
He longs to heal us. To show us the keys to an abundant life. To stop lugging our pain and heartache every where we go.
He chose to be our Savior to save us from all of that.
Like the rich young ruler, the choice is ours.
But you have to let go of one to accept the other.