Who Are You With?Published September 25, 2015
Wilfredo De Jesus challenges us to boldly identify with Jesus.
When I was about 17 years old, I was walking after midnight with three younger friends down Armitage Avenue in Humboldt Park in Chicago. We were going to our family’s little apartment.
As we were walking, we ran into a group of about 10 guys who I could tell were tough. I wasn’t sure if they were in a gang, but I had enough street smarts to know this wasn’t good.
As we approached them, they split up. Half of them crossed the street. The other half went the other way—they were surrounding us. Without missing a step, I walked straight up to the leader. I’d never seen these young men before, but I could easily identify the leader because the others obviously deferred to him.
I led my three friends up to him, and I asked, “What you be about?”
He sneered. “We’re the Vice Lords.”
He looked me up and down, and asked, “What you be about?”
I said, “Jesus Christ.”
And my friends and I all waited for his response.
Everyone wants to be “about” something, to be “with” someone. Where I grew up, this was literally a matter of life and death. When I was growing up, I knew guys who had experiences remarkably similar to mine. They would be surrounded by a gang, just like we were that night, and were asked, “What you be about?”
Except they didn’t know what to say.
Those guys were beat up.
For whatever reason, The Vice Lords left us alone that night. I shook hands with the leader and my friends shook hands with the guys who surrounded us. I don’t know this for sure, but I think it’s because they respected us. I think it’s because we were “about” something.
Being about Jesus is different from being about anything else, because Jesus is our creator. He knows what is best for us. He promises us a life of purpose and deep peace if we follow him.
What are you “about?”
If you are “about” Jesus, are you willing to stand up for him, even when it costs you something? Taking a stand makes us vulnerable, but if we claim to know Jesus Christ, His compassion for the hurting will rub off on us.
Question: What are you about? Are you willing to stand up for it?
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About the Author
Under Wilfredo De Jesús’ leadership, New Life has grown from 120 people to more than 17,000 through church plants and more than 130 ministries reaching the most disenfranchised—the poor, homeless, prostitutes, drug addicts and gang members. Named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2013, De Jesús is the author of In the Gap and became a Summit favorite following his challenging and inspiring talk in 2014.
Years at GLS 2014, 2016