With good reason, Christians are seen by others as almost universally ‘against things’. In a recent poll, people were asked, ‘What do Christians do?’. The response of 85% of the people asked can be summarized in this way: ‘Christians are against things and us. They fight us, judge us and hate us.’
That should bother you.
Christianity has become about being right and proving others wrong. It’s about political allegiances and social outcries. It’s about being the culture’s conscious and their morality police. It leaves us with a reputation as a people who are ‘against things and people’. So, here’s my question. Where is Jesus in this? I fear He has gotten lost in all the yelling, accusing and political positioning.
There has got to be a better way.
I am going to be blunt. This group we call Christians no longer speaks for me nor has credibility with me. Therefore, I no longer call myself a Christian. I can no longer defend this ‘against me’ mentality. I am now simply a follower of Jesus. They should be the same thing but, increasingly, they are not. The divide has become too wide for me.
Interestingly, in that same poll, many people said they are still interested in Jesus and would follow Him if He didn’t have anything to do with Christianity. I find great sadness in that statement but also great encouragement. The reason for my sadness should be obvious – people assuming my Brother and Father are like those who profess to be Christians. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
But I am very encouraged that, despite all the hateful rhetoric, people are still interested in Jesus.
So, what makes Jesus so attractive and Christianity so unattractive? I believe we can find the answer in a better way, the Jesus way.
THE JESUS WAY
The Jesus Way is the way of Humility.
Humility, service without self-promotion, meekness, being other-centred not self-centred and living for the big picture. Dream with me… How would other’s perceptions of Christians change, and therefore their image of God, if his followers were first known for their humility.
Speaking of dreams…
The Jesus Way is the Way of Big Dreams.
Jesus gave His disciples bigger tasks and visions that they could ever hope to handle on their own. Big enough for them to embrace and get passionate about. Big enough that they had to rely on His power. Don’t we all want to live for a dream bigger than ourselves. I sure do. Jesus offers that. Again, what could be if only…
The Jesus Way is not Religious.
His way is not full of do’s and don’ts and exclusion if our don’ts are greater than our do’s or don’t do as well as someone else. Jesus came to bring relationship; not start a new religion.
Relationship with Him and His Father. And He still offers it because of you not despite you. That’s the Jesus way!
The Jesus Way is Patient and Kind.
His disciples were repeatedly asking dumb questions, making mistakes and promoting themselves. Yet, Jesus was kind to them, encouraged them and still willing to have them participate in His Bigger Picture vision. That’s my Jesus.
Jesus nor His Father will ever come to the point where they throw their hands in the air and say, ‘I give up. I’m wasting my time with you. I’ve had it with you.’ No, He is patient and kind. And He is our model.
The Jesus Way Believes in People, Unity and Community.
Unity, wait for it, despite of and because of our differences. How did the church get so vanilla? Where did we get this idea that people must all look, act, dress, vote, behave just like me for Father to love them and be accepted by all those that look, act, dress, vote and behave the same? Certainly not from Jesus. ARGH!
Jesus’ disciples were from different sects and different groups that hated and feared each other. I think that was intentional. Jesus believed in the power of people, any people, with a common goal and in common relationship. I love you Jesus!
The appropriate response? Love Jesus and be yourself.
The Jesus Way is the Way of the Heart over the Power of the Brain.
Jesus believed in and showed the power of unity and passion that comes together to change minds and thinking. The Jesus Way is at the heart level, religion is in the head [what makes sense to us]. In our hearts live passion, dreams, love and relationship. Jesus still cares about reaching broken, wounded, stubborn and radical hearts. I am so glad for that!
I’m not saying we should shut our brains off and not consider and evaluate the message of Jesus. Of course not. But I am saying that the relationship that Jesus wants with you happens at the heart level.
The Jesus Way Assumes Persecution for the Greater Vision.
Not only assumed it, Jesus almost invited it. He was not / is not the path of least resistance. Has anything good ever come from that path?
He was confrontational when He needed to be. He was strong in His defense of the ‘little one’. And He paid for it. Willingly. He did not / does not guarantee His followers a pain-free life. I love the authenticity and honesty of that. I can follow someone like that.
The Jesus Way Promises Great Personal Pleasure.
The Jesus Way, while acknowledging the costs, also offers pleasure. While there is pain living the Jesus Way, there is also great joy living according to the values and priorities of Jesus. The Jesus way accepts the costs for the joy of living with Him, in His presence, in His Kingdom both now and forever.
It is the only Way!