The words of Jesus in John 16:33 are as true today as when Jesus spoke them. His words of encouragement in overcoming the world has given us hope and direction. For Wanda and I the path of the overcomer is the only one we can follow. But we also realize many believers do not share our passion for the overcoming life.
The dormant volcano
Recently, I had an interaction with a fellow brother that troubled me. It was regarding a recent event in religion that we had both heard of and my brother asked for my thoughts. Though concerned I might offend, I could not stop the feelings that erupted from what seemed a dormant volcano. I believe the Spirit of God was welling up inside and coming forth.
What I am about to share concerns the recent self-murder (Exodus 20:13) of one Jarrid Wilson of whom, before a few weeks ago, I was not aware of. His passing has caused a great stir among believers. Since I am not involved with any religion, I did not involve myself in any discussion and passed on any posts I saw on his death. Until my brother asked me, I felt there was no need for me to express my thoughts. I was wrong and the Lord will not let this issue rest until I finish this post.
If you know Jarrid Wilson, think highly of him, or are in deep sorrow over his passing, please stop reading this post now and move on. Nothing that follows will bless, or help in your sorrow, and we do not wish to increase your grief.
The unleashed curse
Since you are still reading, let me begin by stating that what Jarrid did was to succumb to ‘self’ and his life and death are not things we should hold in esteem. He did not live or die as an overcomer (John 16:33) but chose the coward’s way out. There is nothing anyone can say or do to change that stark reality.
By choosing to bow down to the god of ‘self’, Jarrid leaves behind a grieving widow and small sons. He has unleashed a curse on his family that will haunt his children as they grow. Not only do they not have a father, but for the rest of their lives they will have to battle the curse of self-murder their father unleashed on them; unless they are a repairer of the breach (Isaiah 58:12) and do not perpetuate the hurt. I speak from experience for my best friend’s father also committed self-murder.
Not only did Jarrid unleash a curse on his family, he cursed the entire body of believers with a lie.
How? By committing self-murder, he spoke with his death that Jesus is not more powerful than his wounds. This is not only a curse, but is a complete and utter insult to Jesus who declared He had overcome the world. His act also insults all of those who follow Jesus in faith and have seen his healing power manifested. Jarrid’s death also unleashed the spirit of suicide, discouragement and hopelessness over many immature believers, and yet we are to feel pity for him? There is something disturbing about what is going on here.
Your wounds are not lesser or greater than others
Jarrid was not exceptional in his pain. His mental, spiritual and emotional wounds were not beyond that of any other believer. Those wounds weren’t greater than the power of Jesus; yet Jarrid believed they were. How do we know? By despising the life Jesus had given, and the power of the cross to heal, Jarrid decided that his ‘self’ nature and satan’s lies were right; and he was better off dead. He wasn’t right.
To experience abuse and abandonment as children is very common these days. We live in a world filled with pressure and affliction.
The scars we bear are not unusual, but indicative of the fallen, ‘self’ filled world we live in. We challenge anyone to ask those around them if they haven’t been hurt in life and we suspect you’ll get few positive answers. Wanda and I counted ourselves in this large group of wounded believers. I also struggled with an addiction for many years. Jarrid was not alone, he had plenty of company, but he couldn’t see a way out. Neither could we.
The pit of 'self'
A common trick of the enemy is to isolate us in our ‘self’ with the wounds we receive, so we feel that the only way out is self-murder. I understand Jarrid’s hopeless feelings all too well, for I lived that way for most of my life. Both of us stuck in a pit of ‘self’. I am not shocked at Jarrid’s death, but shocked at my life. He is dead and I am alive. Why?
Let us be honest, nobody can get themselves out of the pit of ‘self’ that we fall into. That trap is too deep for us to climb out on our own. Only Jesus can reach down and lift us out; and He does, but we must learn to follow His will. The problem is that religion has sold believers a bill of goods that says all we need is salvation and ‘once saved’ we will have no more issues. What a load of horse pucky.
Jesus never promised a ‘happy’ life but a ‘righteous’ life (John 17:15). Just examine the lives of the early disciples.
Dealing with 'self'
To face our spiritual and emotional wounds with honesty, find the healing we need, and then learn to walk out of the darkness is a long process. We cannot do this alone; so we need to follow Jesus.
Daily. Hourly. Every. Single. Minute.
If we believe we can stop the ‘self’ nature with a simple little prayer, we are deceived.
‘Self’ is a huge powerful enemy entrenched within. It takes years of obedience in following Jesus to overcome. There will be great trials, setbacks, hardship and deprivation; but if we stay the course with patience, and continual obedience, Jesus will set us free. This won’t happen in a day, but a lifetime. The reward is the abundant life (John 10:10) Jesus promised us.
The false god of religion
Why did Jarrid fail? He succumbed to the lies of self, instead of following the truth. Jarrid allowed himself to be overcome, instead of being an overcomer. Although he faced the same trials we face (1 Corinthians 10:13), Jarrid believed his God was not powerful enough to overcome the darkness. He was right. His god was not powerful enough to overcome the darkness; because the god he followed was made in the image of man. It is the god made up through a mixture of religion and psychobabble that diminishes the cross and the power of Jesus; leading us down a road of despair and hopelessness.
Christian leaders often promote this false god in the lie that all we can ever hope for is to live under the curse. We are called to live “above the curse”.
A pastor once told me, “once an addict, always an addict.” Is this the reality Jesus died for; that all we can expect is to be saddled with sin and get used to it? What about victory and the overcoming life? Is the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. ” a lie? Few leaders live this way so have no authority to show others the path of the overcomer.
Why faith matters
When we started our journey of faith, we too believed in this god made in the image of man; most believers do. But as we followed God in faith, we began to realize that the God we thought we knew, we didn’t. The God we saw in the wilderness was allowing us to go hungry, cold and homeless because He could see the cancer of ‘self’ that was eating away at our spirit. The great Physician’s answer was radical surgery to cut out the cancer. If we had not followed in obedience, we would still be under the curse of ‘self’.
The surgery took a long time. At each point Jesus revealed the ‘self’ nature so we could repent. The overcoming life takes a very long time, and is still ongoing, but what happened surprised us. Jesus healed the wounds. He also removed the addiction and suicidal thoughts. In the place of ‘self’ is a flourishing spirit; solely focused on Jesus and wholly convinced of His power. This is the God Jarrid, and many believers, do not know. They do not know because they never step out from their comfort zones. These believers do not follow in complete faith and obedience to truly know Him and be healed. They do not know their overcoming God or have an overcoming life.
The model of overcoming faith
We do not hold up Jarrid in any esteem. He failed his life on earth and ended with a coward’s death; like Judas. Jarrid did not endure to the end. This is not the life we want to uphold as a model to others. Instead we look to those who have completed their course in faith; and when they finished their race God took them home. Our model is in Mark 13:13, “You will be hated by everyone because of [your association with] My name, but the one who [patiently perseveres empowered by the Holy Spirit and] endures to the end, he will be saved.”
Neville Johnson, a great father in the faith, passed on September 1; yet there was little fanfare over his death. Here was a man who lived the overcoming life of faith with victory, but few recognized his passing. Jarrid Wilson was a hip young pastor in a mega church that all the cool people knew about. Church leaders elevated Jarrid to a pastoral position; despite the knowledge he was full of self, wounded, and not living an overcoming life. The news of his self-murder rocked believers in the social media world.
We do not understand why people are shocked at this outcome, when all the signs were pointing to the inevitable conclusion.
What is wrong with this picture? Why are we exalting believers who have not overcome and become mature in the faith to positions of leadership? The bar for leadership is so low we might as well advertise on Twitter for leadership positions, and take the first candidate that comes along; the more messed up the better. When these people fail, as they surely will, why do we hold up their failures and mourn their passing; but ignore the victors, the overcomers, who bested ‘self’? Until we can answer that question we are doomed to the status quo. Let this blog encourage you to endure to the end, live the overcoming life, and become the Bride of Christ.
Homer and Wanda