I'm currently sitting in the Denver Airport after an incredible weekend and I wanted to jot down some thoughts to let you in on some things the Lord has been walking me through.
You know what I love about the Christian journey? No matter how many years you've walked with God...
He's always taking you through the process.
There's never an arrival point on this side of eternity. As God takes us from glory to glory, He also continues to transform us into His glory with every new season that comes our way. I want to share with you something God has really been challenging me with lately... here's the question:
"Am I carrying the atmosphere of God's Kingdom all around me, in every situation, circumstance and season of my life?"
More specifically, it really boils down to two things: do I live in constant joy, peace and righteousness AND am I living with a constant awareness of the Holy Spirit's presence in me?
Let me explain to you why these things are difficult for me:
You see, growing up - I learned to put some heavy walls up. I was made fun of a lot in middle school. I mean, what kid isn't nowadays, right? But it really impacted me in a way I wasn't ready for. The worst part was that, most of the time, I wasn't aware that people were making fun of me or didn't like me. I have always had a kind of "swagger" if you will - a confidence that comes natural to me. So, instinctively, I just assumed everyone thought I was as awesome as my parents believed I was. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case.
I vividly remember kids mocking me for the way I dressed or carried myself. I was always different - more of a musician than an athlete - so I didn't really fit in with the crowd. They would act one way to me to my face, but behind my back, they would make fun of and ridicule me. Realizing that the world was crueler than I expected it to be, I decided to NEVER let people hurt me again.
Everything changed when I discovered punk rock / hardcore music. I had always loved music but never had I found a genre that truly expressed what was going on inside. As I listened to the lyrics of these bands that sang of rebellion, anger and pain - I immediately connected with their "misfit culture" and adapted my lifestyle to it.
Here's what life taught me: you can't be rejected if you reject them first.
So I put walls up. I dressed like an outcast and learned to carry a countenance that communicated anger, threats and business. I learned to walk with my head down to seem like I was always on a mission - that way, no one would bother me. My "aura" was one that let you know I did NOT care for you and if you wanted to get to know me, good luck.
I learned to assume that everyone was against me - this way, I would never fall into the trap of oblivion again.
Just a few days ago, I was walking through the Dallas Love Airport and made my way to the terminal, until finally, I boarded the plane. I sat in my seat, tired from teaching and pouring out, so I put my headphones in - hoping no one would join me. I sat with my head down and avoided contact.
It was in that moment that the Lord spoke gently to me - saying,
"why are you reverting back to your state of rejection when I want to use you to release a spirit of acceptance?"
Immediately, I changed my countenance. I chose to put on a smile and release a different atmosphere around me. I felt so convicted... how could I be so selfish?
But can I be honest? Releasing that atmosphere doesn't come very easily to me.
I have something people like to call, "RBF." I'm not going to spell it out for you, but some of you might know what it means. Maybe it's because I'm a New Yorker... maybe it's because I'm naturally introverted... whatever the reason - I am not a "glass-half-full" type of person. My temperament can be more on the melancholy side of things. Words like JOY and PEACE aren't necessarily easy ones for me to understand - it's not my natural inclination.
Is it ok that I'm being this honest? I mean... I'm a Pastor (a SUPERChristian lol)... aren't I supposed to have this all together?
Sorry folks... my humanity is showing.
What the Lord is teaching me is that, a lot of times, I still revert back to throwing up walls of intimidation and isolation that I learned to use from my fears of rejection. I find myself doing this in public settings simply because I'm afraid of experiencing it all over again. What if someone doesn't receive me? What if they find out what I believe and label me as a hatred, bigot because of what they have experienced concerning Christianity? What if they want more from me than I can offer?
Regardless of the "what ifs" - I am making a choice to live with an awareness of the Holy Spirit in me. Even more... I am making the choice to live with an AVAILABILITY to release His Kingdom in every are of my life. That means, taking down the walls of safety from rejection and allowing God to move in moments of life that are unexpected.
I wanted to write this blog to connect with someone who struggles with this as well. God calls us to be carriers of His Kingdom and releasers of His Presence. That means walking in PEACE, JOY and RIGHTEOUSNESS that is contagious.
The Christian life is the opposite of a selfish life - it is a life lived for others.
So let's choose to walk with an awareness of the Holy Spirit at all moments. Let's walk in his joy and peace and let's release it to a world who desperately needs it!
-Pastor Jared Ellis
ared Ellis was called into ministry at the age of 16 years old, after being delivered out of a life of darkness, depression and depravity. He has traveled all over the world, preaching the good news of Jesus Christ and has worked with some of the leading churches in the nation such as Bethel Church and Elevation Church. He pastored in Abilene, Texas for 3 years and grew a youth ministry of 12 students to over 300 - signs, wonders and miracles happening each week. Jared is the author of "Unlocking Your Destiny: Keys To Accessing God's Master Plan For Your Life." He travels full-time as an evangelist and preaches at churches, conferences and events. He is also the GE Director at Christ For The Nations Institute where he teaches and trains Youth Pastors. While at home in Dallas, TX, he serves as a worship leader at Trinity Church.