While this coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted almost everyone in some way, one group of people finds themselves better off than most: the “preppers.” Preppers are people who make preparing for worst-case outcomes — anything from losing a job to nuclear Armageddon — part of their lifestyle (see Doomsday Preppers on Netflix for some ridiculous examples of things people are prepping for).
This pandemic is basically the ultimate “I told you so” moment for preppers. Once ridiculed as crazy, they now sit upon a throne of toilet paper rolls, scoffing at us unprepared peasants.
As a financial advisor, prepping has always been part of my job duties. I help people prepare for retirement, the unexpected (via insurance), and emergencies by encouraging savings. I’ve been a prepper all along — just with money instead of food.
This pandemic has showed me prepping comes in a variety of forms, but the real revelation came when I was reading through a passage in Luke.
Prepping should be physical (food and medicine) and financial (savings and planning), but prepping also must be spiritual.
Jesus says this in Luke 14:27-33 (ESV):
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
It’s interesting how Jesus not only makes it clear how costly it is to follow Him but also goes on to explain the importance of weighing that cost before beginning this journey. Rather than blindly following Him, Jesus invites us to do a little spiritual preparation to ensure we are committed to seeing our faith walk through.
As I look back on my own faith journey, I realize just how important this reflection and preparation has been in spiritually working through my sexuality.
As I first considered what God and Scripture asked of me in my sexuality, my gut reaction was to find an answer as quickly as possible. I just wanted to know if I was wasting my time trying to be celibate, or if that was really what God wanted from me.
Without realizing it, I found myself beginning construction of the tower with only half the funds needed. I found myself entering a spiritual battle without considering the size or strength of my enemy. I was moving full speed ahead in my sexuality without taking any time to reflect or prepare for the task ahead.
The truth is that it’s tough to find spiritual reconciliation with sexuality; our spirit and our flesh directly oppose one another in a more tangible way than any other aspect I’ve experienced in my faith.
I found myself being ripped apart trying to discern how God could ask me to give up something I wanted so, so badly.
And then, at last, I wised up and took a step back. Amid the chaos, I realized I had moved onto questions for which I was not yet ready.
All followers of Christ will find themselves in nearly unbearable conflicts between flesh and spirit; this is the cost of denying ourselves and bearing the cross of Christ. This tension is nothing unique to same-sex attracted (SSA) believers.
It’s what Christ forwardly states at the beginning of that passage in Luke — following Him costs everything. Our family, our friends, our jobs, the whole of our lives.
Can I honestly say I’m willing to give up that much?
What is Christ’s value to me? He costs everything, yes, but is He worth everything? Would I, like the man finding buried treasure in a field, sell all that I have to acquire that field and the treasure therein?
I found it difficult to honestly ask the question about what God wanted with my sexuality without first asking if He would still be worth following, even if it cost me my dreams. If I could never accept His saying “no” to a husband for me, then why go on asking in the first place?
I am not yet prepared to ask if I’m not ready to follow Him regardless how He answers.
If the answer is no, if I could not follow Him even into celibacy, then the problem is my faith — that Christ isn’t worth everything to me — not my sexuality. I’m destined to do more harm than good building my tower or fighting my battle.
Effort must be spent spiritually developing my faith until I find myself able to follow Him no matter the cost, regardless the “side” He tells me to settle with regard to same-sex marriage.
Discipleship is a journey, and we should not expect ourselves to be perfect in it. We will have our moments of doubt, and we will find ourselves needing to grow spiritually in a variety of ways.
The key, however, is to take time for honest reflection so that we may know what battles we are ready to step into.
Through this honest spiritual assessment, we glean the wisdom to prepare ourselves for the battles yet to come. Like preppers taking stock of our supplies and investing in a firm foundation with which we can face the spiritual unknown.
Have you experienced a particular instance of counting the cost to follow Jesus? What have you given up to follow Him with your sexuality or otherwise? Do you feel spiritually prepared for this journey ahead with Jesus?