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White Flag Life

John 10:10 NLT
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun. I tend to agree. Over the years I have heard people talk about Christianity as a get out of jail card. You know what I am talking about. “If you died tonight do you know where you would spend eternity?” This question has been around for as long as I have been alive.
The question has a huge problem in it though. Many people are more concerned about the current hell they are living in than a possible future hell. Divorce, drug and alcohol addiction, depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, cutting, burning, self harm and the list goes on and on. Seemingly the self destruction list is endless. Once you add in destructive behavior that has been done to a person like, rape, social injustice, abuse, murder and the like you can begin to see why many people do not care about a future hell. They are already being consumed by the flames of hell in this life. They do not have time to worry about a future hell they are trying to survive their current hell.
And it is here where I believe the message of Jesus is most potent, most productive, and most life giving. It is in the midst of real life hell that the message of Jesus is tested and proved. Can Jesus save me from my current hell? Can he save me from self hate? Can Jesus rescue me from my addictions? Can Jesus bring life, joy and beauty into my world which seems to only be filled with death, anguish, and sorrow?
I am reminded of a young 17 year old boy. He was sexually abused as a small child, made fun of during his middle school days, hated himself and was full of suicidal thoughts. His only escape came in the form of illegal drugs and alcohol. Yet this very escape began to take his life and destroy any meaningful relationship he once had. In a spiral of gloom he dropped out of school and lived on the streets in a small Oklahoma town. Life had become death. Why keep going?
It was in the midst of this hell on earth, that he meat Jesus. Not the Jesus he had heard about, not the one who will save him from a future hell. No he met a Jesus, the Jesus that offered to save him from the death and hell he was experiencing in the present.
The salvation he needed so badly came in a very interesting form. “Come, follow me.” “Come”. But I am a drug addict. “Come”. But I hate you and what you have allowed to happen to me. “Come”. But I hate myself. “Come”. But I am not good enough. “Come”.
This was not a message of get your life right or your going to hell. This was an invitation to follow him even though my life was hell. This was an invitation to give up control over my life and circumstances and follow him. He was saying, he loved me just as I was. He was saying that he would free me simply by following him.
This young man raised his white flag. He surrendered and began a life of following. Bit by bit, his life began to change. Hope, life, joy, beauty began to fill his every day. When the garbage of the world hit him in the face he began to rely on this Jesus rather than a pipe.
I know this story well because it is my story. It is my life. And the life I so badly wanted but could never grasp was given to me. Not through a religious ceremony but, through following this Jesus. I raised my white flag and he brought me to life.
Maybe what you need is not another line, drink, pill. Maybe what your really looking for is a white flag. If you are reading this it is because he is calling out to you, “Come”. Will you raise your white flag and surrender? I did and now I am alive.
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