What Difference Does Jesus Make In Your Life?

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43 Responses

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    Hope.

    And lets hope this comment section doesn’t degrade into questioning each others faith.

  2. Dan from Georgia says:

    BTW, great question Josh!

  3. Michael says:

    I’m embarrassed that this is such a difficult question to answer.
    Part of the reason it’s so hard is that the Jesus I’m coming to know has been buried under piles of doctrine and systematic theology like a lost coin buried under the ground.

    Since I was a small child I’ve been haunted by the sense that things weren’t the way they were meant to be…that things were terribly broken.

    That haunting has only increased as I’ve grown old.

    I became an obsessive “fixer” whose fixes never stayed fixed.

    Jesus is the way things were meant to be, how we were meant to be.

    Someday He will make it so.
    He is my hope.
    How long, Lord, how long?

  4. Michael says:

    Corby…amplify…

  5. Josh the Baptist says:

    Thank you for wrestling with the question Michael.

  6. Xenia says:

    I cannot tell. There was never a time in my life when I did not believe in Jesus, never a time when I did not consider myself to belong to Him.

    There have been some milestones… when I “walked the aisle” my Baptist church as age 12 with a baptism in Lake Erie soon after. I have to confess that this episode had almost no impact on my life. I do not know why.

    16 years ago I was chrismated into the Orthodox Church. That was a big deal and I do tend to view that as the point in my life where everything is either before or after the chrismation. This ceremony is where I was renamed “Xenia” and many other good things as well. This was the event where I truly believed my sins had been forgiven.

    But it is still the same Jesus who I have always known. When I think of life without Jesus, I panic. I am too terrified to even think of such a thing. He’s always there, someone to thank for the flowers, to ask to take care of people I love, to forgive me when I have sinned. Always there, always present. I can’t do much of anything without thinking about Him.

    I can’t remember a time in my life when this wasn’t so.

  7. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    That was good stuff…I don’t remember a time without Him either…nor a conversion experience.
    It’s just always been so…

  8. descended says:

    I was raised in the church
    When I came to a crippling sin I could not overcome I decided I should use the Spirit.
    And then I found out I didn’t know Jesus nor have his Spirit.
    When I sought Him out He found me where I was.
    He has made all the difference by His Spirit.

  9. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Before I was a Christian at 32 yrs old, Jesus meant very little – just one of those guys people made movies about — but he seemed to keep people in line.
    Upon becoming a Christian, and the following 25 yrs, Jesus was savior but more than that, best friend and moral example.
    The past 14 yrs, he has been my protection against God’s wrath.

  10. Chris says:

    I “prayed the prayer” at 17 and really allowed the Lord to reach me at 20. Before, I was extremely insecure with no self confidence, afraid to talk to strangers, teachers, etc. Afraid to try anything for fear of failure. As I’ve grown in Grace and more deeply understood the new identity, much of that has given way to a boldness, a comfort in my own skin to just be who I am in Christ, and not who I think I need to be or who someone else is trying to be.

  11. Duane Arnold says:

    When I encountered Christ at the age of 16, I simply recognized Christ being with me. His presence was not extraordinary. Later in life, when I was given responsibility for hospital visitation in the AIDs wards in NYC it changed. It was before the “cocktail”. It was simply death all around. One year I felt like I was attending the funeral of a young man everyday – actually I almost was… Christ became more to me in that time – a different presence in my life. That sense of a “different presence” has recently returned as I realize that there are fewer years in front of me than behind me. I get the feeling that I’m in the last stretch of the race, but Christ is not just waiting for me at the finish line… he’s running alongside of me as well…

  12. Jean says:

    “What difference does Jesus make in your life?”

    Jesus has given me value, a future and a purpose:

    Jesus valued me enough to ransom me with his life;

    Jesus has promised me life here and into eternity; and

    Jesus has given me a purpose. To live for Him and for others.

  13. Michael says:

    “That sense of a “different presence” has recently returned as I realize that there are fewer years in front of me than behind me. ”

    Boy, do I get that…

  14. ( |o )====::: says:

    The Jesus of The 4 Gospels is the only true connection to God I have, otherwise that God would be Ha-Shem, Whose Name is the unpronouncable YHWH.

    My roots are Roman Catholic.

    My discovery of Jesus came with my reading of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John’s “Red Letters”.

    I personally chose to embrace Jesus on Good Friday, 1971 after paying attention to The Stations of The Cross.

    My journey was sidetracked into Calvary Chapel’s Premillenial End Times Evangelicalism, a detour into the Pauline Christ at the loss of connection to Jesus.

    My journey back has been to a peaceful contemplative return to the simplicity of Jesus of The 4 Gospels who said, “Lo, I am with you always…”

    My confidence remains in Him, breathing in His presence, stilling my soul to recognize I am in Him as He is in all of His creation, inescapable, inseparable, engaged, working all things toward good, partnered with Him in my small ways toward making this a better world.

  15. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael said in #3:

    “Part of the reason it’s so hard is that the Jesus I’m coming to know has been buried under piles of doctrine and systematic theology like a lost coin buried under the ground”

    I get that. There are so many today who are going thru the process of deconstruction…some would call it apostasy…but those that say this, in my view, are still buried in all the piles of doctrines and pet theologies.

    For me, Jesus has been constant, despite my inaccurate views of him at times.

  16. Michael says:

    Dan,

    I own many systematic theologies and affirm without question the need for sound doctrine.
    However, I ended up having a lot of books and very little relationship with Christ.

    If it was all about doctrine He could have just sent a book and stayed home…

  17. Dan from Georgia says:

    True Michael…I think my comment was geared toward more “pop” theologies and doctrines…certain end times stuff comes to mind…I could have rephrased my 16.

  18. ( |o )====::: says:

    Michael,
    I just Messaged you.

  19. Babylon's Dread says:

    Difference in life?

    This is very easy for me. I had one moment that defined life, gave life, and has determined all of life since then. Difference? He is everything. He is all things. There is nothing in life at all that does not come to be lensed through the transformative power of his breath.

    There is no life other than Jesus. He is all the difference. None of that commends me and many might refute it by the coarseness of my impact upon them. But without Christ I would long ago have been dead or worse. This is my conscious sense of it.

    Jesus is life itself.

  20. Babylon's Dread says:

    Guess that was a little too ethereal,

    Before Christ there was despair and hopelessness
    After Christ, there is purpose and meaning

    The Sum of All, Dread

  21. Josh the Baptist says:

    I’m gonna re-read every post in this thread multiple times.

  22. Chris Long says:

    While there was a point in my teens where I did choose to accept Christ for myself and believe I crossed from death to life in that instant, I can look back even as a young child and see God’s working in my life. These 2 songs I wrote and recorded 10ish years ago now kind of sum things up for me:
    http://www.laughandlift.com/music/In%20My%20Life/01-You%20Are%20The%20One.mp3
    http://www.laughandlift.com/music/In%20My%20Life/13-In%20My%20Life.mp3

    For me, though, if I could pick any one word other than hope or life (since those were taken by others HAHAHA), it would be “love”. As one that faced a lot of rejection early on in life, God’s love has been salve to my soul. And through and by His love, the ability to truly love and care about others. My whole purpose for living is wrapped up in Jesus, and my goal is to do a better job at it today than I did yesterday etc.

  23. Victor says:

    I know that I would have destroyed my life x times over had He not saved me in 1987. He is still saving me just as much today. The older I get, in every aspect of life, the more I think and say, “I don’t know.” But I still know that Jesus is the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I’ll take that to the grave and beyond. And as the old poem says, “…that has made all the difference.”

  24. John 20:29 says:

    Even though I grew up in my devout grandparents’ home, for some reason they honored mother’s request that I not be indoctrinated with Christianity… she, however, had me brainwashed to believe that all of the world’s ills could be traced to believers in God… she took on a force that was too big for her to control, however… God had me in His sights and eventually, like BD’s #21 I passed from death into life – simple as that
    Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for those who’ve never lived in darness, never felt what it was like to “come in from the cold,” as it were. ..

  25. John 20:29 says:

    #24… Doesn’t that begin with, “I took the road less travelef?” what a great application

  26. Victor says:

    #26…yes it does! I could write much more about the difference Jesus has made in my life, but the constant has been His saving me from my sins. Even after all the times I’ve “come in from the cold”, as you say.

  27. DavidM says:

    Truly, all the difference . When I was 19, I was presented with the Gospel. Upon surrendering to Jesus, I had never felt so utterly cleansed, so new and pure. It was extraordinary. It was darkness to light, blindness to sight. That was 48 years ago. Over the years, there have been so many peaks and valleys, times of fruitfulness and times of desert and dryness. But, as Duane said, most of my life is in the rear view mirror. As such, Jesus and His atoning sacrifice have become more acutely prominent in my mind and heart than ever. I have not always been able to say that. But as the end of the race is nearer, I realize that that is the only thing that matters. It influences my relationship with God and my relationships with people. It humbles me, it inspires me. SO, yes, Jesus makes all the difference in my life. Without Him, I don’t know that I would have survived this long.

  28. CaliRob says:

    PEACE! I’m so grateful for the peace in my life given to me. Hope, Purpose, Direction, Healing from bitterness, anger, jealousy, and envy. Thank you Jesus for all of these free gifts, thank you for YOUR peace! Thank you!

  29. Jesus forces me to look life through a different lens. I am constantly confronted to consider and embrace his perspectives that seem so upside down and inside out. Rather than just live my gut and personal preferences. So, everyday I must rethink my relationships, finances, vocation and so on. I think the challenge to live with a transformed mind was most realized by adopting a mentally handicapped infant. I would have never done so without the impression of Jesus upon my heart.

  30. Dan from Georgia says:

    I’ll hammer out my response a little more here…

    Back in Sept 1988 I “accepted Jesus into my heart and asked him to be my Lord and Savior” – those aren’t scare quotes, but that is basically what it was and how I learned to do it. It’s been a journey, with me wandering quite a lot of the time, while Jesus was constant in always waiting for me. I still wander at times.

    For most of my life I lived without hope. I wasn’t suicidal, but just didn’t think life had anything to offer me and I wasn’t very assertive in living. Even after 9/1988, I lived for a long time without much hope. It wasn’t until sometime around 2002-2005 that I started to realize that God was working on this area and I felt like I had hope. He is STILL working in that area to this day.

    So Jesus gave me hope.

    Also, Jesus has been my constant…meaning that he’s always been there while I dabbled in various pop theologies/doctrines/beliefs…end times stuff (I don’t reject all of it btw), the “men’s movement in the 1990s (accountability groups and John Eldredge for example)”, progressive Christianity, and evangelicalism are the four biggies that I have traveled in.

    So Jesus has been my constant also.

    Lastly, having an addiction has been tough with having a faith. Promises of “just read your Bible more and pray more and you will be healed/delivered” failed MOST OF THE TIME. My faith was shaken for a LONG time. For those who were/are addicted and are believers, you understand. I am now walking in young sobriety and thankful for the no-so-spiritual methods I use to to do this walk. And yet, God is doing this.

    So Jesus is my healer and forgiver.

  31. Jim says:

    I avoid details, because my salvation is not “ordinary”. Raised with no belief system, I bounced from atheism to occultism and back. At age 21, I knew full well that the Christian God existed, and a small part of me wanted something to do with Him. This only increased my spiritual pain, which no amount of drugs and booze could temper. At 23, He mercifully backed me into a corner, and I surrendered, placing my full faith in Christ alone.

    I can only echo Dread, with an add-on:

    “Before Christ there was despair and hopelessness” and pain
    “After Christ, there is purpose and meaning” and peace

    I’ve known significant physical pain for over thirty years, but it is a speck compared to the pain that enveloped my soul.

    He is my peace, for the past 36 years, now, and forever. I did, nor do I do, nothing to receive it. I’m just grateful to be a recipient of completely undeserved grace.

    Sorry, that was longer that I had intended.

  32. The New Victor says:

    I never remember not being a believer. I was likely baptized in the LC as a baby by my original family, but was baptized at 12 in the American River near Sacramento in 1983 in a church which later affiliated with CC. Many dark years ensued due to a mentally ill mother and my faith in God kept me alive. I figured I could make it to 18 (I left home on my birthday) and then another 50-60 years on earth. What are a few decades compared to eternity?

  33. filbertz says:

    Jesus rescued me, set my feet on a secure place, covers me, reassures me, and grants me peace and on-going grace. He is the steady hand on my quavering life.

  34. Corby says:

    Michael @ 5 – amplify? ok.

    HARDER!

    🙂

    Short version. Before Christ, I was going to do what I wanted to do. After Christ I am to put His calling and other’s needs before my own. That’s harder.

    Losing my friends, harder.
    Being labeled, harder.
    Doing the right thing, harder.
    Seeing others fulfill the dreams I used to have and enjoying it, harder.
    Trying to serve/lead others as a pastor, harder.
    Denying myself and taking up my cross daily, harder.
    Being a Godly husband and father when it would have been easier to leave when it got hard, harder.
    Living on government assistance in ministry when my peers were laying the groundwork for the .com revolution, harder.
    Being fired for wanting to take people deeper in the Lord, harder.
    Maintaining man’s kingdom instead of building God’s, harder.
    Seeing trinkets on the surface being sold to the masses and producing nothing, knowing that if they learned how to dig deeper they would find God’s buried treasure, harder.
    Having a vision and passion from God but not having the energy left to pursue it because of adulting and responsibilities, while 20somethings put a cross on a clothespin and sell it for $20 on Etsy and travel the world off the profits, harder.

    Answering questions like this honestly and transparently, not giving a cheesy Christian answer so that I look “normal,” harder.

  35. Michael says:

    Corby,

    I hear every word…blessings to you.
    It is harder.

  36. John 20:29 says:

    #36 amen to your amen to #35…. I suspect most who follow the Lord seriously can say amen to some of this pastor’s honest list – it is a good thing for the pew sitters to contemplate what a good pastor, not in it for personal gain, faces as a shepherd today

  37. The New Victor says:

    Corby, from my point of view, you’ve carried that cross well, with a lot of faith.

  38. Steve says:

    I’m pretty sure without Jesus I would not still be here. However, Its hard to say what life was like without Him since I was so young when I first accepted Him and I would rather not go backwards and contemplate an empty life.

  39. Corby says:

    Thanks Michael, John, and New Victor. And if I accidentally came across like I was accusing others of not being genuine, that wasn’t my intention at all. Too often people in ministry (which I’m not currently in anyway) have to put on the mask and be “on” but not honest. Or they put on what they want to be, fake it till you make it. I just don’t buy into that and I think it flies in the face of Paul telling people to weep with those who weep. He didn’t tell them to tell those who weep to act happy and you will be happy. At the same time, chronic depression isn’t God’s will either.

    Let’s just be real, in the moment, but also understanding that we are all works in progress who have days/months/years where they are frustrated with Jesus, and other times when it is hope, joy, peace, and love.

  40. AA says:

    I reflect on how Jesus has given me life, and life more abundantly (Rom 5:17). I doubt without Jesus saving me I would even be alive, I was on a path of destruction of myself and harming others who cared for me. In an instant He has given me a life that was impossible without the Holy Spirit guiding me in the knowledge that surpasses understanding. Thank you Lord Jesus!

  41. Kevin H says:

    Lots of good words here.

    I always struggle in identifying and articulating the most personal and intimate of expression. I cannot recall a time in my life not knowing Jesus, so I have no “before” reference point. But I can say in good times and bad, and seasons of felt closeness and those of felt distance, and everything inbetween these circumstances, Jesus has always been my Rock. No matter what, I have always known that He is with me and I am His and things in the end will all be good.

  42. richard says:

    peace
    and no worries
    (almost all the time)

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