MY FRIEND, JESUS

 Photo credit: KABOOMPICS.COM

Photo credit: KABOOMPICS.COM

The best friend anyone could ever ask for. My wish for everyone in the world is that they could experience the profound and powerful love that Jesus Christ offers us.

A free gift and a relationship that completely transforms you from the inside, out should we each recognize our need for a loving Savior who through His shed blood on the cross, redeems, reclaims and restores us.

I spent many years searching for the next big thing that would make my life have meaning. A college degree, a great job, marriage, relationships, beliefs, activities, being a star in my own eyes, the list could go on and on.

I looked every where else for my value and for truth, but my Creator.

The god of this world, Satan (formerly Lucifer), thought the same thing many of us do. He wanted to be GREAT! But the truth was, he already was. The Bible says he was the most beautiful angel, with influence, I wonder if other angels looked at him and ever thought, "mmm, wouldn't it be nice to be him." 

It wasn't enough for Lucifer. He wanted more, he wanted to be god. His search for power and pride was his downfall and ultimately what led to him being cast out of Heaven, taking many angels with him. The story can be found in Revelation 12:7-12.

God created us also to have free will, we have the choice to choose Jesus, to live a life for His kingdom or to build our own. I am not saying having dreams and desiring to be someone is bad, but as one who yearned from a young age, "to be famous," I can tell you with certainty, that's the world and enemy's way of instilling significance within you.

Earthly success never brings lasting joy, fulfillment, peace or freedom. 

Please don't believe the lies that your worth is wrapped up around your performance, set of beliefs, financial status, online following or level of spiritual enlightenment. Your worth and identity is found in your Creator, Jesus Christ and the love He has for and towards you.

What I love most about my relationship with Jesus Christ is that my "marriage" to Him has completely simplified my life. In years prior, I said yes to everyone and every opportunity without questioning whether my choices were in alignment with God's Word and the plans He had for me according to the priorities He'd placed in my life. 

For the first time in a long time, I know exactly what and whom God has called me to in this season of my life and though life is full with many projects and to do's working with my talented husband, life feels totally and utterly complete.

Previously, every opportunity to become something I thought I needed to be in order to be OK with who I was and create "success" (by the world's standards) as a person layered more and more layers of disappointment and bondage.

So what did I do? I tried harder. Surely my efforts would pay off. Don't be like me. If you're wondering what your purpose is, it's to get up, glorify God with the gifts He's instilled in you each day, go to sleep and do it all over again, day after day until He calls you home.

When it comes to career advice, I'd share: "pursue what God instilled in you to love, don't just do and be something to get love." That could apply in all aspects of life. If I'd really grabbed a hold of my relationship with Christ sooner and understood my worth in Him I believe I'd have saved myself a lot of time, money, heart break and wasted years chasing business endeavors and beliefs I thought would make me happy.

However, God graciously allowed me to walk my own journey and only in retrospect can I appreciate how He was with me, waiting for me to "wake up" to the realization, I could continue trying to create life according to Nicole and the many influences around me or find true peace, value and freedom in my relationship with Him.

For years I was deceived, believing because I'd become a success to onlookers and had so many admirers, followers and people who wanted to be in my life, that this was a "sign" I was on the "right path." It was a sign, but from the wrong source, the enemy. The path I traveled for several years was broad, filled with spiritual deception and beliefs that took me away from the true and living God.

Over the past year, I've discovered the path to lasting truth is the "narrow path" and cherish it deeply. Despite what the world or others might tell you, following Christ is not narrow minded and certainly not a list of do's and don'ts. It's freedom, true freedom. 

It took a long time for me to let go of the pre-conceived notions and twisted opinions about the Lord based on past hurtful experiences and other influences in my life before I got to know my friend, Jesus. He has been faithful to restore so much in my life, the joy and contentment I feel on a daily basis compared to years previous does not even compare.

My prayer is wherever you are today, you'd invite Jesus in. Whatever path you've walked, Jesus is calling you to His "narrow path." It may take awhile for you to find yourself free from the deception, demonic influence, bondage, relationships, addictions and burdens that have attached themselves to you along the way, but Jesus will be with you as you discover what plans He has in store for your life.

The first step to building a solid relationship is communication. Talk to God, pour out your heart to Jesus. I must emphasize that if you desire God's best for you and to build a relationship of trust with Him, He has to be the only source of spiritual influence in your life and I encourage you to turn away from all other practices, beliefs and influences as you study the truth found in the Scriptures. 

To make the first step, if you don't know where to start, begin with this prayer.

Jesus,
I believe you are real. I've lived my life so long, trying to be a good person and working my way towards making something of myself. While I don't know what a REAL relationship with you looks like, I'd like to accept your invitation of friendship. This friendship between you and me is new, I believe you will be patient with me as I learn to follow your ways and to trust you with my life. I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that nothing I do or what others do on my behalf replaces my need for you in my life, for the significance and importance of your death on the cross as payment for debts I cannot pay. I believe your blood shed for me washes me clean and that through faith in you and sincerity of my repentance of my sins you will walk with me as a loving and caring friend. Please help me to identify what influences need to be loosed from my life so I can focus on building my relationship with you. I don't understand the ways the enemy works to undermine my trust in you, but I ask you'd help me to recognize the lies I've previously believed and the ones he will try to get me to believe in the future to not trust you. Thank you for your love and mercy. May today be the day you seal my past in the past, help me to keep my eyes on you as you call me forward, not backwards. Protect me as I discover the plans you have for my life through your Word and I ask you to fill me with the Holy Spirit so that I may have the gift of discernment and make choices that would guide me on Your narrow path. It's in Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Here's a couple of my favorite book resources and for women, a Facebook Bible group led by Robyn Dykstra.

Churches with live stream options: Ada Bible ChurchShadow Mountain Church

Online resources: iBelieve.comReasonsforJesus.comBillyGraham.orgPalau.org, DoreenVirtue.com, JohnDickson.org

Ending with a beautiful worship song. Had the privilege of singing with several thousand individuals a few months back when Phil Wickham led worship at Resurrection Life Church in Michigan for the City Fest Evangelism event. Enjoy!


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Nicole Zaagman loves Jesus, her high-school sweetheart, Ken and their pint sized Shih Tzu named Hadley. Zaagman is a born again believer, loves Jesus with all her heart and desires others to know the healing power a relationship with Him can bring. She is a full-time entrepreneur as Marketing & Design Director for Zaagman Home Remodeling and Brand & Design Expert of Nicole Zaagman Enterprises, LLC. Nicole is bestselling author to Bee BADASS and Brilliant and Rise Higher - Believe in Your Dream Cuz' No One Else Will. If this post has touched you, Nicole would love for you to share the link. If shared in any capacity please properly credit: An excerpt by Nicole Zaagman at NicoleZaagman.com. May the Lord bless you!