Friday, November 6, 2015

Falling in Love with Jesus: Break Up To Make Up

Today's Falling In Love with Jesus story features my friend Jared Renaud Taylor. He's a multi-talented individual who wants to work for God in any and every capacity God sees fit.

Jared and his wife Vanessa two sons. They are one of the most inspirational married couples I know and their children are adorable. 

I hope you will find Jared's story inspiring and relevant to your personal journey with Jesus, whether you're far ahead on the journey or just started walking by faith. Whoever you are and wherever you are on your journey to know God, I hope and pray this story from Jared today will impact your life in a powerful and positive way.

Be blessed! :)

Break Up To Make Up
A Falling in Love with Jesus story written by Jared Renaud Taylor

It didn’t happen all at once. There was no single moment I can point to. It was more like a series of events that began to crescendo.

They began in the Christmas of 2007 when my Mom came to visit. It was the last time I saw her alive. She gave me a copy of the Bible reading plan she was using. Before then I had never read the Bible in its entirety and thought that would have been a great opportunity to do so. It also seemed like an awesome way to facilitate my personal devotion and Bible study in a more intentional way. My methods prior were pretty haphazard.

Up until that point, my relationship with Jesus was purely intellectual. I knew the details of what He did, why He did it and what He wanted from me in return. I understood it. I could articulate it. But it was all cerebral. All things considered, following Jesus appeared to be a rational course of action. Weighed against the alternatives, it was the best available choice. My decision to follow Jesus remained cognitive; there was nothing emotive about it.

Over the next two years, I read the Bible twice, cover to cover, and gained a better appreciation of His relentless pursuit of mankind. That experience planted and germinated a seed about the depths of His love, from a perspective I’d never considered before. His passion for us, and His perspective on sin really caught my attention. It was an eye opener to discover that what I considered to be shortcomings and weaknesses, He likened to unfaithfulness, adultery and prostitution. I began to see a lot of myself in the rebellious actions of the Israel and Judah. Then, in reading God’s reactions to their idolatry—how He felt about it—I got a sense of God’s personality, making Him less abstract. To know that even after all the ways I’ve mistreated Him—selfishly disregarding His feelings and doing what I wanted, knowing He didn’t approve—He would be willing to forgive me and restore me completely, totally blew my mind.

The top of the crescendo came in late 2010 when for the first time I was intentionally mean and hurtful to someone I considered a friend. I realize that I’ve hurt people before, through selfish actions, but I’d never been intentional about causing pain. However in this instance, in order to prove my affections for one young lady, I tried to get rid of another in an awful way. In that moment, when I was being an absolute jerk, she said to me, “I don’t care what you say or do, I love you and I will be here for you!” Her response caught me completely off guard. It seemed irrational. It made no sense. I didn’t know what to do with it.

The next month I started a Master’s program and the first class was like a therapy session. It uncovered a lot about why I made some of the choices I did; things I was not consciously aware of at the time. I felt compelled to try and make up for some of the poor choices I had made, and I reached out to the friend I had badly hurt. However her position had changed from the seemingly irrational “I love you anyway” to the more normative “You’ve hurt me. I don’t trust you. You’re going to have to work to regain my trust and prove to me that you’ve changed before I even consider restoring you.”

That for me was the “ah ha” moment! I came to her truly repentant. The gravity of my poor choices was manifest to me. I was seeking forgiveness and a chance to make it right. She claimed to love me no matter what. Now I would have to walk this probationary road with no guarantee of reconciliation.

It was in that moment that I fully understood and appreciated what Jesus did for me. I found new appreciation for the words “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV) No records kept. No probationary period. No suspicion. With Him I receive immediate reconciliation and full restoration. He offers a fresh start, a clean slate, like it never happened, EVERY SINGLE time! I fell in love with Jesus when I understood and experienced His love.

“We love Him, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (NKJV).

Falling in love with Jesus begins with experiencing His love. At least that’s where it began for me…32 years into my journey with Him.

Author bio:
Jared Renaud Taylor grew up in the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He loves Jesus and serving others. 

Jared has a Master of Arts degree in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University and serves as an elder, Personal Ministries leader and audio engineer at Restoration Praise Center Seventh-day Adventist Church. 

He is also the creator, producer and host of Water For The Thirsty, an online web series, which facilitates daily personal devotion and Bible study. 

Pictured: Jared's wife Vanessa to the left, their baby in the middle and Jared to the right
Jared has two charming sons, and lives in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area with his wife Vanessa, whom he loves dearly.

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