rebelling against low expectations

Dear Christian, Don’t Settle for Just Enough Jesus to Get By


Several weeks ago, I awoke from a fuzzy dream only able to recall the last several moments. I remember looking at a large tree, knowing it was full of caterpillars who should have formed into butterflies long ago but stubbornly refused to do so. Why the delay?

I expressed my confusion to a young woman beside me, “Why aren’t they changing?”

The moment hung in silence before she answered with a solemn tone, “They’re too afraid. They don’t know how beautiful they’ll become.”

How many Christians live their lives the same way—afraid and unchanged?

“Just Enough Jesus”

Recently, I was reading through the book of Acts. As I read about the apostles of Jesus, I saw a massive canyon between the lives American Christians lead and the lives of the men and women who comprised the early church. Everywhere they went, the name of Jesus was on their lips to the point that they were violently told to never return.

And yet, they were not extraordinary on their own.

And neither are we, but somehow, we are convinced it takes a special talent and calling to live fully for Jesus as they did.

It doesn’t.

Christ didn’t call some to live passionately for Him and some to live apathetically. Each person in their own way is called to live a life fully dedicated to Christ. Share on X

Christ didn’t call some to live passionately for Him and some to live apathetically. Each person in their own way is called to live a life fully dedicated to Christ. Whether a basketball player, a pianist, or a dancer, we are all called to live with love and dedication for our Lord.

With every moment, we should be transforming more and more into the image of Christ, but we tend to eventually stop moving forwards. Like the caterpillars in my dream, we fear transformation. We want “just enough Jesus” to avoid hell and yet still be loved by the world.

It wasn’t meant to be that way.

The world needs us to be different. Does it make sense that we believe those without Christ will spend eternity apart from Him, and yet we neglect living or speaking in such a way that the world will see Him in us?

I know I’m guilty of this. My life at times has been a valley of apathy where I neglected radically abandoning everything for God. But I don’t want that to be my whole story. Christ is worthy of so much more.

In 2 Timothy, Paul encourages a faithful young follower, Timothy, not to let fear and apathy be his story either:

“8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,” (2 Timothy 1:8).

And in chapter 2:10-13 it says, “For this reason I endure all things for the sake of hose who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. The statement is trustworthy: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He will also deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself,” (2 Timothy 2:10-13).

This is the Christianity we’ve been called to—unafraid, unashamed, and willing to endure.

Why the Gap?

So, why the gap between the passion for Christ in the lives of the early church and ours? Why do our lives resemble a faint candlelight and not a blazing fire consuming all those around us?

Perhaps it’s because these people saw, talked to, and walked with our Savior on earth.

You may be thinking, well, there’s no chance Christ will sit on my bed and daily remind me why He’s worth spending my entire life on.

But that’s a lie. Because He is with us, just as Jesus was among those early believers.

John 16:13 assures us, “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.”

The Spirit of Truth—God’s Holy Spirit—has come.

So, let’s take intentional time to dwell in the presence of our Savior, and allow Him to transform us. We cannot transform ourselves. It’s only the love of Christ that spurs us on to radically abandon what is normal and chase the things of God.

We cannot transform ourselves. It’s only the love of Christ that spurs us on to radically abandon what is normal and chase the things of God. Share on X

The more we get to know our Savior, the more we can trust Him and the plan He has for us. In knowing Him more, we will find endless reasons why He is worthy of our surrender.


If I’m honest, walking with Christ and obeying the voice of His spirit scares me. What will I become? This question pounds every teen that is set on “Doing Hard Things.” If I follow Jesus, I will never be “normal” again.

This fear rocks me, but it shouldn’t.

Because if Christ loves me enough to sacrifice everything for me, then I can trust Him. He created vivid stars, towering sequoias, fatal lightning, and yet, we are His most prized creation. We don’t have to be afraid of what we’ll become. Our lives will be beautiful because His fingerprints will be all over them.

Never settle for “Just enough Jesus” to get by. He is worth everything.

If you want your life to have the kind of impact on the world that the early church did, don’t be afraid to surrender to Christ. Invest time into really getting to know Him through His Word with the help of the Holy Spirit given to you.

We don’t have to live our lives like scared caterpillars, we can give Jesus full access to our hearts and lives and be transformed into something unimaginably beautiful—reflections of Christ Himself.

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About the author

MaryAnn Bowman

is a 14 year-old girl from the Florida panhandle; she loves doing anything that encourages other's faith in her living savior! She's been homeschooled her entire life, and is the oldest of seven children. You can find her playing piano, running, or playing with her siblings! As an avid lover of Christian music, she can barely go a day without it. Smiling and laughing with amazing friends and family sum up her best days, and she hopes that through her words, actions, and writing others will see Jesus inside of her!


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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →