December 22, 2017 – Following Hard – Pr. Lori Nagaoka

The one who loves his life [eventually] loses it [through death], but the one who hates his life in this world [and is concerned with pleasing God] will keep it for life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must [continue to faithfully] follow Me [without hesitation, holding steadfastly to Me, conforming to My example in
living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]; and wherever I am [in heaven’s glory], there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. – John 12:25-26(AMP)

Jesus always shows us a way to live that is so much better than we have ever known. However, it will cost you everything to follow “hard” after Him. In choos-ing to follow His Life, His Words, His Ways, our old self must die so that the beau-tiful new spirit of Jesus (Holy Spirit) shines. We no longer desire our own ways, thinking, life but LOVE to live for and as Jesus.

Before I chose Jesus to be my everything, I really had a pretty amazing life. Both my husband & I had incredible & high level jobs for brand named companies (that anyone would recognize that brand) on the island of Maui. We went to many cor-porate parties & rubbed elbows with minor Hollywood celebrities and all the “big-gies” of our community. However, every month for a few days (*note not related to hormones!) I found myself completely feeling utterly dissatisfied with my life, my marriage, my entire being! This emptiness and discontent rocked me and my husband over and over. Fast forward, we move to the Big Island for my hus-band’s career. I now need to start my life from scratch: no job, no friends, no family network. I desperately needed Jesus. I did go to church on Maui but I did not follow “hard” after Jesus…so many worldly distractions that I chose
instead. In that season of choosing godly community, His Word, and prayer, my ways began to change. My thoughts were less about me and more about Jesus and what He said in His Word. As time went by, I realized that cycle of despair and discontent were no longer a part of my life. I Loved and continue to Love my new life of following “hard” after Jesus.

Thank you, Jesus, for all that You have done for me. I can live in Your peace knowing that I no longer live for selfish gain but choose to live for You. I am forever grateful for my new life in You where peace and joy are real to me each day. Thank you Holy Spirit for always leading me to Truth and Peace and Comfort.