Part of our Mission as a Church is to Equip every member of Harbour City for ministry in all of life. In this series of Blogs, we will share the stories of ordinary people in our Church who are following Jesus and seeking to live out their faith in every part of life. We hope their stories inspire you to do the same.
What is it like for me to follow Jesus in Durban today?
Jesus has become central to every aspect of my life: teaching, being a husband, being a friend or brother or a son. It hasn’t always been like that, not by a long shot. I left the church for 6 years while I studied and did what I wanted, when I wanted, with little thought of who I hurt or how it hurt me.
When I came back to church I remember wondering if I could ever change from the person I am, to being like Christ. He is so good, all of the time. He literally didn’t sin. And now he’s supposed to be a part of my life? Not a chance. If he really was God, surely he would stay far away from me?
Slowly, degree by degree the love of God changed my heart. I started considering others, sometimes. I found myself becoming less angry, less often. I started drinking less. Smoking less. I even started dating a Christian girl.
Following Jesus today, in Durban, for me is remembering where I was and realising that the only reason I am where I am is because of the grace of God. He didn’t force me to change, but forgave all of my monumental sins and just loved me. And slowly that love changed my heart from a block of cement to marshmallow softness.
One of my biggest struggles living out my day to day life as a Christian is daily surrendering my life and trusting in God. I’m learning to surrender control of whatever I’m upset about, or irritated about, or hoping and planning. I’ve tried the whole ‘earn your salvation by hard work’ thing. It didn’t work. I’ve tried to hide my sins, that didn’t work either. I tried running. I ran for a long 6 years. But the patience and love of God won that race.
I’m learning that in my weakness God is strong. Society tells everyone how we need to be strong and rich and sexy and in control. “This is how you become happy!” the world declares. And when you fail the world shouts louder and says “Worker harder! Be better!” And its rubbish. When we surrender control of our lives to God, he comes through. Every single time. When we depend on ourselves, we fail.
As a high school teacher this is massive. I stand in front of students for 5 to 6 hours every day, talking and discussing, disciplining and counselling. When I’m tired I pray for strength. When I’m frustrated I pray for wisdom. If I didn’t actively depend on God I don’t think I’d be able to get through a single day. So following Jesus is an active, continually dependant thing in my life. Yeah, sure I fail and go out on my own every now and again. But then I fail and I come back to God, all the more grateful of his grace and mercy and love.
I’m also a husband. While teaching is something I could maybe do on my own, being a husband I know for a fact is 100% all God. My wife has shown me, time and time again, what the love of God looks like because of how she loves me. She knows every corner of my heart. She has grown with me, fought with me, cried and laughed with me. I know that the only way I can give her the love she deserves is because God gives that love to me. The ‘love’ that comes from me is selfish, and imperfect. I give her a foot massage because I want a back scratch. Or attention and romance is traded for sex. But the love of God is selfless love, and it’s because of how much Jesus has loved me that I can selflessly love my wife. And yeah I fail, but then the grace of God is right there, comforting me and leading me and loving me.
Walking with Jesus brings me joy and strength, and comfort when life is hard. I learn and I fail and I grow. By his grace I am learning from him endlessly, and that he loves me endlessly.