And so I thought . . . until I would break up with her. Then the next one would come along and I would tell myself the same thing. In picking and choosing which parts of Scripture I liked and how they applied to my life, I made one mess after another, leaving broken hearts in my wake. And my heart didn’t fare so well either. When I did ultimately marry one of the girls, it ended in divorce two years later because I failed to establish my life on the complete counsel of God.

Instead, I counseled myself, made up what I thought Scripture should say, all the while calling myself a Christian. I lived as a non-Christian for years. But God will let you wreck yourself in order to save you, and that’s what He did for me when I surrendered my whole life and will in a tiny jail cell. My life (and peace) have never been the same all because I’ve stopped picking and choosing and embraced owning my faith.  

 

Disown It

Who are you? Are you the owner of your faith, are you just faking it, or picking and choosing it, or have you just thrown your hands up and walked away? When someone disowns an idea or even a person they give up faith in or love for something or someone they used to call their own. They look at that idea or person as a royal mistake, and they most often replace it with something or someone else, even if it’s just self. Either way, they reject their former belief and so disown, or give up the right to, what they used to have full access to.

When you disown your faith, you turn your back on it and that can leave you feeling all kinds of junk. Resentment for the lies you used to believe; distrust or disgust of those that still believe them; fear that you may be wrong; anger for being wrong for so long before. It can be a mix of any of these emotions or one compelling one, but either way walking away from your faith isn’t easy. And in a lot of instances, the pain can come from those you left behind. Because that’s just how they feel—rejected along with God Himself—their resentment and anger can build.

Their fear over your eternal destination can also cloud their emotions and leave them thinking all kinds of thoughts that only affirm your rejection of their faith in their so-called God of amazing grace. How can they preach His grace and offer you none? How can they speak of His love and forgiveness without sharing in it? And who do they think they are in their wrath and judgment . . . the savior? Their inability to know how to handle dissension can only make matters worse, but that’s why this book has found its way to your hands, to remove the human ability to make other’s decisions personal and to remove demands that not even God Himself makes.

When Jesus was face-to-face with people who disowned Him, argument was not His response. He didn’t pursue them, explain the errors of their ways to them; He allowed them to be whoever they were made to be and to make the decisions they would make. There is a story often told of His encounter with a very rich young man who wanted to follow Him. He believed in God. He lived an obedient life, trying hard to do all that God and the Scriptures asked, but when he asked Jesus what more he could do, the answer he got froze him in his tracks: “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:21–22 esv).

But the story doesn’t end there. The most intriguing part of this exchange isn’t that the man left when he realized God wanted him to give up his obsession for stuff, but that Jesus didn’t run after him. He didn’t grab his arm and try to explain Himself better. He wasn’t worried, or upset that the young man wasn’t getting it. Jesus allowed the man to do what he would, free from the pressure of His presence.