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One morning while I was a junior in college—a Saturday or Sunday, because it would have been after a night of partying—I came downstairs to the kitchen in our house to make a hot cup of coffee and eat breakfast. A man named Roy, who didn’t live there, was sitting cross-legged on the kitchen table. He was a very intelligent man, quiet, a grad student, and a nerd. I don’t think he had ever done hallucinogens—probably acid—before that night.

When I walked in, I said, “Hi, Roy,” as if it wasn’t odd at all to find a man sitting in a lotus position on a kitchen table in the morning.

He responded, “Buddha.”

All right, I thought, he had a “good trip.”

Then he said, “I want a cigarette.”

I said, “I thought the goal of Buddhism was to deny oneself all earthly desire.”

He responded, “Buddha lusts for a cigarette.”

I gave him one.

It was a good trip, from the perspective of those who were, in our darkened minds, trying to reach enlightenment via hallucinogens. However, those drug-induced attempts to do that often ended up disappearing the next morning with the reality of the need for a cigarette and a hot cup of coffee, Buddha or no Buddha.

Those enlightenment experiences didn’t supply any answers at all to the questions, “What is the meaning of all this? What is this life all about, anyway?” Instead, many ended up with an interest in Hinduism or Buddhism, as Roy’s did. You may be aware that it turned out that way for the Beatles—that is until they traveled to India and discovered their personal guru was a lecher. No, the answer, as was made known to me a couple of years later, was not to be found in the realization that “we’re all one with the universe.” It was beautifully found in Jesus the only God who loves us and died to save us.

So, what is following Jesus all about? Does He lead us to where the sun is always bright with lollipops, flowers, and rainbows?

Not during our lifetimes, no.

Not sure about the lollipops.

In fact, after the joy of having been “born from above” or “born again,” we begin to find over time that following Jesus is simple, but it ain’t easy.

In order to be His disciples, Jesus requires that we must love Him more than we love our own lives; that we are willing to die for Him, even if that means dying a torturous death like He did. We also must love Him more than our families and our own lives.

“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” (Luke 14:26). 1

We must be willing to give up everything. Wealth. Power. Position. All of it.

“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

The interesting thing is, although this is difficult, it brings true joy, true peace, and true life—everlasting joy, peace, and life, in fact. All for free. We must believe we need Him and repent of our sins so He will forgive us.  

Looking for enlightenment in this dark and crazy world? It exists only in one place—in one man, the one true God, Creator, and Savior.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

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