Written by Josiah Piett
Outside of the story of Jesus of Nazareth, the most powerful stories ever told are by individuals sharing their own personal encounter with Jesus. Through these stories, others may desire or begin to have their own encounters with the same Jesus. For this reason, I want to share how I encountered Jesus of Nazareth – through the image of a house.
This “house” was formed by its circumstances and surroundings. Since birth, I have suffered from chronic renal failure, along with many other urinary issues. I spent many days of my childhood in the hospital due to infections, surgeries or just complications. I also experienced deep rejection from my peers at schools. For me, these two things defined and dictated the house that I lived in.
The road my “house” was built on would be called Slavery Boulevard. The house was built on the foundational belief that I had been abandoned by God, and was therefore a failure who would never be accepted, understood, or loved by anyone.
Even though my family did their best to support and love me, these beliefs formed through my circumstances ultimately defined who I was.
It wasn’t until the summer I was 13 that I encountered Jesus of Nazareth. My encounter truly reshaped, redefined, and restored me in a way that would literally change the trajectory of my life. Jesus didn’t just enter my house, he completely relocated it by revealing to me the cracks within the foundation of my old house. Jesus showed me I had never been abandoned by God, but that God had always desired to embrace me — even through my pain and suffering. Jesus promised me that He had never abandoned me and would always be with me.
As result, I gave my entire life to Jesus. Even though I did not truly know what this would entail, Jesus received me as a son and gave me His Spirit. My house was rebuilt and relocated from Slavery Boulevard to Freedom Avenue. Instead of my circumstances forming my house, it was the promises of God my Father. My house is now built upon the truth that God, the Father over all things, has embraced me and loves me.
Therefore my acceptance is anchored in the Father’s acceptance of me. I am not a failure – I am forgiven. Even though I may be misunderstood by others, my Father understands me. I am loved by the Father, and He says I am worthy of his love. Jesus has restored my identity and redefined my purpose.
The Father will always reveal Himself through vulnerability, and therefore God has allowed me to choose whether or not I will live in this new house He has built for me. This choice comes in the form of believing or not believing He is who He says He is, and that I am who He says I am.
Even to this day, I am faced with a choice when I wake up and unhook my drainage bag, look down at the scar that marks me and the catheter that is in me. I have a choice whether I am going to let my health problems dictate who I am or embrace my Father’s view of me. When I was younger I thought my disability was the only thing that would ever define me and dictate where I was going. However, I discovered through my encounter that Jesus has greater things to speak over my life.
The amazing thing is that this is the same truth for your life, even as you read this. Regardless of your circumstances or your past, you have a choice over letting these things define who you are. Jesus has something different to say to you – He says He loves you. In his eyes, you are worthy of His sacrifice on the cross. He desires to redefine, restore, and relocate you into the house He has built for you.
Even if you are reading this and cannot relate to my story at all, Jesus is still desiring to relocate the things that dictate your life, even if what ultimately defines your life is you.
There is an enemy of God who doesn’t want you to discover the life God has designed you for. In the case of Adam and Eve, this enemy took the form of a serpent, but since that time, the enemy has taken many different forms. Ultimately, all these different forms are focused on one goal: destruction of life without God.
I think the enemy is really good at deceiving people with the lie that it has more power than it actually does. You see, even in the Garden of Eden, the serpent actually did not have the ability to force Adam and Eve to eat from the tree — it could only use words of deceit. To this day, the enemy still doesn’t have the power to force you or anyone else to do anything; it can still only use its voice to deceive you, whether it be audible or through circumstances.
The enemy doesn’t care if someone places their identity in religious duty, their career, their accomplishments, their failures, their ability to do or not do certain things, whether it be in their riches or in their poverty, in their sickness or in their health, in their relationships or in their isolation, as long as God’s children are finding their identity in something other than Jesus.
But we have a choice, to not buy the lies of the enemy. The heart of the Father is still for humanity and for you. This has been revealed through Jesus and received by His Spirit in all of us who choose to recognize our need for Jesus.
For many years of my life, I believed and bought the lie — hook, line, and sinker — that my life was defined by my circumstances. All this did was leave me as a slave to myself. But now I have been set free by knowing my heavenly Father, through Jesus, in His Spirit. And so can you — it’s a choice.
This article is a summary of one of the three parts from the book called Beautifully Simple that is in process of being published. If you are interested in hearing more from the book, as well as staying up to date on the process of publishing, feel free to like and follow the Facebook page called Beautifully Simple and/or feel free to follow the twitter account @BeautifullySmpl to read weekly quotes from the book.