Virtuous Reality Blog

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October 1, 2010

BJ Higgins

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You know when you say you would die for someone? I wonder how many times that's actually true. I honestly don't think you know what you would really do until you're in that situation, and I wonder how many of us really do love someone enough to give up our life for them. I also wonder if really living for someone is harder than dying for them. I'm not talking gooshie romantic, stupid movie love - that's not real love most of the time anyway. I'm talking the kind of love Jesus asks from us. The kind that's so huge we're willing to give up all our hopes and dreams and follow Him anywhere, even if it means death. I just finished a book called I Would Die for You and it's about a young man who heard about Jesus and was willing to not just die for Him but to live for Him with everything he had.

I Would Die for You is the true story of BJ Higgins and it's written by his parents, so get ready to cry your eyes out if you choose to read it. I seriously blew my nose and prayed the whole 181 pages of that thing. And it wasn't all sad crying, sometimes I was just so convicted it was all I could think to do. How does a kid meet Jesus when he's eight years old and understand so clearly what many of us can't figure out for decades - that in order to really follow Jesus you have to be willing to die.

It's a weird paradox, dying to live, and it's probably one of our biggest struggles in this life. How do I even begin to hand my life over to Jesus and roll with whatever He has planned? How do I stop making my own plans and asking Him to bless those, and instead pursue Him and whatever life comes with following Him? That's what Jesus meant in Matthew 16:25 when He said "whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." but it's a challenge I think few of us accept. And that is what was so convicting about BJ's life.

He wasn't the perfect kid but he sure seemed to want Jesus more than anything else in this life. And when confronted with his own apathy and laziness, he was heartbroken that He could even consider walking away from God. On his last mission trip to Peru he told a few friends that he thought God was calling him to be a martyr and he was ok with that. What he couldn't have known was that he would die only months after getting back from that trip. Before his 16th birthday BJ died in a hospital from a disease he had picked up in Peru, and since then the story of his love for Jesus has traveled the world, and his bible is currently in the hands of a young evangelist in Africa who loved God but just needed a Bible. It's amazing what God can do with a life that's handed over to Him, even when it's such a short one. In just 15 years this kid talked to hundreds of people about Jesus and now that he's gone his life is still bringing praise and glory to God. What does your life say about you? What in this life do you think you would die for? Or maybe the better question is do you love Jesus enough to both live and die for Him?

I highly recommend the book if you're up for a challenge or if you're just lost as to what it might look like to live for Jesus instead of yourself. Your life won't look like BJs but it's a good glimpse into the heart of a person who loved, lived for and died for his Savior.