Note from Team LO: We are SO blown away and encouraged by what God is doing through Pastor Miles Fidell! Our team had the honor of attending his church last week and got to witness firsthand how he and his church community are reaching this generation for God’s glory and His name! If you want more from Miles, check out this weeks episode of the WHOA That’s Good Podcast where he, Sadie, and Christian talk all things college, church planting, and Jesus!
Jesus is better. This massively life-altering realization hit me as a 12 year-old when for some reason (the Holy Spirit of God!), I considered all the options I could think of to live for and compared them to the life Jesus had to offer me. What 12 year-old thinks of stuff like this? I know. I was a strange kid. However, I believe at any age it’s incredibly important to consider your options. With unmistakable clarity, I could see that no treasure, popularity, accomplishment, or worldly fulfillment could possibly compete with all that was offered to me in Jesus. A right relationship with my Heavenly Father, unconditional love, true satisfaction, supernatural purpose, surpassing peace, and oh- don’t let me forget about ETERNAL LIFE after I die!!! Jesus is better and it’s not even close. For 19 years I have watched God prove Himself worthy of that claim. Jesus wins.
Very few things bring me more joy in life than seeing people make that same realization. As a pastor of a church in a college town, the group I get to watch make this discovery the most is college students. College is such a pivotal time because you are literally making decisions that will create the future you live in for the rest of your life. No pressure college students, I know you are already anxious enough, you got this! J Far too often I watch college students who call themselves “Christians,” but haven’t really come to that understanding that Jesus is better. They still want to try out the party scene, see if the right relationship comes up, pursue the right path to status/notoriety, experiment with sex/alcohol/drugs, have fun, I mean it’s COLLEGE right?!? Here’s the heartbreaking reality: every single individual who goes down that path ends up losing. At some point they discover that the fulfillment they were searching for was empty. What they thought would fix the internal void left them broken, and what promised to deliver a worthwhile life simply never delivered.
Fortunately, our God is the God who specializes in meeting us when we come to the end our ourselves! Our church has literally witnessed thousands of college students & families finally discover that what they were looking for in the world was available all along in Jesus. It’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of a movement where this happens every single Sunday. So I’ve often thought to myself, “how do we help people discover that Jesus is better before they have to deal with the consequences of destructive decisions?” The answer God has given me will surprise you.
I believe the main way Jesus wants to prove to you that He is better than any other option is for you to give Him the opportunity to. Let me explain–– Most of us reading this who would say we have “faith” in Jesus really haven’t activated our faith since the moment we first trusted Jesus for salvation. Consequently, our daily experience in our relationship with God lacks the adventure to compel us to live in awe of Jesus, so we live in awe of someone or something else. What if God wants us to experience the adventure of living a life of bold faith so that every offer the world can make pales in comparison?
When Paul wrote a letter to the church in Philippi, he was jailed in a Roman prison. Unsure of whether he will remain locked up, be executed, or be set free, Paul writes to his favorite church family to sure up their faith regardless of the outcome. Check out what he says:
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.”
Philippians 1:21-26 (NIV)
Do you see it? Paul is literally saying that he would rather die than live because Jesus is that much better to him. Notice his language, “better by far.” For Paul, the competition for his heart is not a close match, it’s a blowout. To be with Jesus would be better by far and so it has delivered him from the fear of the worse thing that could happen to him. I find it interesting that the main thing college students stress about is uncertainty regarding their future. Paul shows us here that when Jesus is better by far, your peace is no longer dictated by your circumstances, it’s dictated by your Savior!
When you’re following Jesus, uncertainty and difficulty are now the ultimate opportunity for Jesus to prove to you once again that He’s better than any option for your life. When our core team was starting Auburn Community Church we did not have a group we were a part of, no church-planting network, and no sending church supporting us. I remember complaining to God far too often about all the things that we did not have. We were a group of about 30 people gathered on Sunday nights in a hardware store to pray. What we did have was a vision that God wanted to do something new in Auburn that was bigger than each of us. Fast forward over five years to where we are today: thousands of people gathering on Sundays to worship, hundreds getting baptized, families across the country and world being impacted, and resources abounding enough to renovate one building and build another in a three year period… I am SO GLAD God did not deliver us immediately from all of that uncertainty and difficulty!! It was in those challenges that Jesus showed us how real He is!
If you want to experience why Jesus is better, make decisions in such a way where He has to come through for you. Take a risk, have a tough conversation, give sacrificially, move away from comfort. Do all of this with wisdom, but make sure wisdom does not become your excuse for faithlessness. That’s not wisdom, that’s called fear.
My hope and prayer is that a generation would rise up not content to play it safe and live a comfortable, Christian life. I believe this begins when Jesus wins over every option for our minds and hearts. Let this truth resound in you today: Jesus is better. Jesus wins.
Miles Fidell is the founder and lead pastor of Auburn Community Church in Auburn, AL. ACC is a multigenerational movement inspiring thousands to live with radical faith in light of the Gospel.
Follow Miles on Instagram @milesfidell