Dealing with tension is a difficult thing. Tension is that feeling you get when you are being pulled in two different directions. Like when your two favorite teams play each other and you don’t know who to cheer for. Or when your children bring you their art projects and ask you whose is the best. Like when your mom and your wife ask you to do things two different ways. Tension. Most of us live with some sort of tension and finding the balance in it all takes constant work.
Living your life as a follower of Jesus is no different. If you are truly trying to follow Jesus, you should be in constant tension. On one side is your nature. You are a sinner. You will not stop being a sinner. You will never be perfect. You will never have it all together. Your old life will always be tugging at you to just give in and stop fighting in the other direction. On the other side is Jesus. He won’t let go, but at the end of the day you control the tension. He has redeemed you, bought you, and loves you enough to give His life for you. So this creates tension in our lives that can sometimes be hard to manage.
I am broken, messed up, and a sinner, but Jesus wants me anyway. How do I live my life in this tension? If you accept Jesus, He will never let go no matter how much you lean back to your old life. So we have a few options. We can grab Jesus and run back the other way. Back in the day we called this getting your “fire insurance.” You accepted Jesus, but your decision to accept Him has not changed much about the way you live your life. There is really no tension involved here. Jesus is there holding the rope and you are dangling at the other end. The other option is to pull your rope all the way to Jesus and completely withdraw from the world. There is no tension here either. You might have heard these people called “turn or burn Christians.” You accept Jesus and try to live your life “holy.” Which is not a bad thing at all, but when you do this you lose credibility with those who do not know Jesus. There can sometimes be a fine line between “holy” and “weirdo”, and this option falls into the weirdo category. Following Jesus is neither of these alone. There should be tension when you are following Jesus.
You should be pulling in the direction of Jesus and not just living in your old life but you never ever forget where you came from. You will always be a broken, messed up sinner. But if you follow Jesus you will be a trophy of his love and redemption. Learn to live in the tension – the tension between being a sinner and being redeemed by Jesus.