Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Falling.

I’ve mentioned the book Who is This Man? by John Ortberg before, and I’ll probably keep mentioning it, because it has me falling for Jesus.

I’ve heard people speak like this before, and to be honest, I’m not much one to fall for anything. I’m generally dubious at best, but this book… this Jesus…

Let me start by saying that I was raised Catholic. Catholic school, Catholic Sundays. I heard it, I got it, I attached myself to it. But until I went more E-free, I never understood the personal relationship, and personal ownership, inside Christianity. Even with that being said, until I read this book and learned more about Jesus – what it truly meant to be him inside the society of that time, and what kind of influence he’s had since – I think I’d been missing a piece of. . . something.

Because now I’m falling for Him in a different way. Like a follower would.

And again I’ll say, I am not much a proponent of following anything. I would be the first person to not drink the kool-aid. Perhaps I pride myself on that, even. But this time, I get it. Christ-follower is a term our pastor uses a lot, and I identified with that. But until I read more about Jesus, and his “unpredictable, inescapable” impact, I may have thought I was in 100%, but it had only been intellectual.

Now I’m in with my heart.

Before He was just God – I know, the “just” is kind of hilarious, but hear me out. He was just out there, above us, this huge deal. Just meaning He’s hard to touch, to reach, even inside the personal relationship. He has His place and, though ever-reaching and all-powerful, in my mind He was just . . . wherever it is He is. He was/is set apart (holy). Just implies, perhaps, that I don’t feel Him close to me.

The point is, now He has a face, a reality to me as a person on this earth, in a different way, in a way I can really see and understand.

This was the whole point and I’d been missing it all along: Jesus gave God a face, that we could see, relate to, and grasp. He is something we can grasp and understand in our way, because God is not something we can grasp or understand. He’s too big for that. But He gave us Jesus, put Him here, made Himself small, so we could see it. See Him.

This book was my window into that understanding. Because reading a book that puts His life in context the way this one does, made him more human to me. In the Bible, it’s hard not to see Jesus as God – it’s hard for any of those people in the Bible to not end up bigger than life, even though they were, at one point, small as life. Anyway, for whatever reason, this book allows me to picture Him on earth, as a human, and what He’d be like today, if He showed up. It helps me relate, and it has me falling.

If you think I need to put my kool-aid cup down and join you back in reality, then you need to read this book. Read it, and if you still think I need to get off the juice, then fine. But first read this book, believer or not. Jesus is a historical figure that changed SO. MANY. things for us. So many. You have no idea. Unless you’ve read this book.

Is there a book you feel this way about? That changed everything or clicked it all into place?

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Fear of faith.

I heard someone say the other day, that religion uses fear. Essentially, the gist of their sentiment was why believe in something that uses fear to convince you of its merit?

To this I say: religion may use fear on occasion, but faith frees you from it. And as someone with faith, I honestly don’t think about the fear much—at all, really. Because though there is hell and such, Jesus frees me from everything—from hell, from fear, from chains, the list goes on.

Then I wondered if there was a problem with that, with me not being scared of hell, but the point is that I no longer need to fear it, right? So that’s okay. Their problem was more with fear being the reason that someone might believe—with fear being the weapon religion yields. Definitely this is true in some instances (with some churches), but the bible tells us to lead with love, to be set apart from our neighbor because of our love. Not because we brandish fear as a weapon, and not because the threat of hell is why the other side should join us, but because, no matter what, and in the face of no-matter-what, we brandish love as a weapon.

I wish that was what Christianity pervaded the world with today. Then again, if there’s hell and it’s scary (duh), is it even possible to get around the fear? If I’m honest, and I decided that maybe I didn’t want to believe anymore, would that fear of hell prove a safety net, a fence that I couldn’t get over? And if so, is that any different than being afraid of crossing a busy New York street for the fear of getting run over? No one has a problem with that kind of fear, the kind that keeps you safe.

Point is, I’m not a Christian because of the fear. I’m not motivated, day to day by it. I’m not running from it. Instead, I’m chasing the promise of what Jesus’s kind of love could do for this world. I recommit when I think on that, not when I think on hell. And yes, I know there are very good, loving people that aren’t Christians, but I am a Christ follower because, not only was Jesus the son of God (which would be enough), but because he started an overwhelming, overpowering movement of love. Because he was the first to look to those on the margins and care for them. He was the first for a lot of things that would be a whole other post (or a book—Who is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus by John Ortberg), but he was most definitely the first that stood for love. And then he took it one step further, living out his beliefs by consistent, pristine example, which is more than I can say for the rest of us. Whatever our beliefs may be, we weaken at times, we falter. And that He didn’t is evidence right there of holiness, if you ask me.

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Know what Jesus said a lot?

Your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be free of your struggle.

Yah, I know, that sounds like Him. And sure, I’d heard it a million times and pretty much knew all the pieces already, but for some reason the chips fell into the machine in all the right places the other day. This was His message, in a nutshell. And really, he was saying it all the time. He was saying it all the time.

1. It is on our faith, and our faith alone, that we are healed.

Not on what we do. Not on our good acts. Not on how little we sin. This is because of grace, which is like mercy—a clemency, a pardon. And faith is belief that is not based on proof. It’s a leap, I’ll give you that. But if it weren’t, it wouldn’t be faith. (If you don’t want it to be such a blind leap though, check out The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel).

2.We are to go in peace. This is a directive.

Not go in hatred. Not go in bitterness. Not go in judgment. Instead, go in peace.

Our faith has healed us, now what? Now we spread the word, now we serve others, now we what? Sure, that’s good too. But right here it says to go in peace.

Go in peace, even when you run into someone you don’t particularly like, someone who doesn’t agree with you, or someone who is downright not peaceful toward you, and hopefully all that peace will spill over into your healed soul.

A healed, peaceful soul? Sounds kind of fantastic.

3. He is giving us permission to be free of our struggle.

What’s left? Giving ourselves permission to be free of it.

Yah, sneaky, that one, right? I believe God wishes for us that we don’t struggle. Yes, the world is broken and no, our lives will never be perfect, but I believe He wants us to lean on Him, to let go of the things that bind us, because often we cling tight to them, use them as a crutch, even while we’re hating on them. Why? Maybe because in their familiarity we find some distorted sense of comfort. You have been wounded, you have been hurt, but He wants you to let go and let Him, let Him heal you, let Him make it not matter.

 

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