What Do You Think About Jesus?
I'm finally past trying to earn my salvation. I get it. I can never be righteous enough. I no longer fear that knowledge, though. Believing and accepting that I can never be enough has left me completely enamored with Jesus.
He is the solution to my lack of rightness.
I have known Jesus my whole life. I was practically born at church! My view and filter that I looked at him through was not cleared and correct until a few years back, but still, I've always known and sought him out. You know what I used to feel when I took communion with my church, or read about the cross, or talked about it?
I just felt this overwhelming sense of guilt because he had done that, and I just wasn't measuring up. I worked harder, did more, bled perfection...all so I could earn the cross. I didn't really believe it was a free gift. The cross of Jesus doesn't really become a gift to us until we believe it is free to us. Something has changed in me, as I've healed and my vision has cleared. I've let go of my worry that I am not enough. I now believe that I do lack...but Jesus fills the lack. I now believe that I am never good enough...but Jesus is good enough. Yes, I've accepted the gift of the cross.
The cross is before each of us, and we are each making a choice as to what we do with it. I think we all fall into one of a few categories when it comes to what we think about Jesus and his cross...
We avoid him...
He doesn't make sense, his sacrifice doesn't make sense...so we avoid him. He becomes a nagging voice in our head rather than a gentle whisper of invitation. The need for him is apparent in our constant failings, but fear keeps us from embracing him. We distract ourselves from that "nagging" voice with all kinds of things. Religion, self promotion, busy schedules...anything to help us not think about it....or him.
We work hard for him
We look at Jesus, and see that we clearly are not enough, but our experience with humanity leads us to believe that he expects us to be enough, so, we toil. We are always so worried that he is angry with us. We work hard, and we are always conscious of just what is in our hands when we come before him. "Never go before him empty handed." That is our motto.
We dismiss him
He just can't be all he says he is. No one is that good, that merciful, that loving. We've debated, we've discussed, we've studied....and we find that it is impossible that he is all that people say he is. Logic is our friend, not faith, and we must make our choices based on logic alone. He was a good man, but not a savior. We must save ourselves. We entertain the idea that there maybe God isn't even real.
We defy him
We believed, once, that maybe he was all he said he was. Maybe he was all powerful...but he didn't come through when we needed him most. We aren't foolish enough to dismiss his existence, but we aren't about to turn our life over to a God who lets bad stuff just keep happening, even when people pray and seek his help. We'll just take care of ourselves, rather than rely on an unpredictable God. We raise our fists to him and say, "Stay out of my way."
We embrace him
At last, we've come. We have shed all our excuses, we have accepted that our hands are empty, we have let go of logic and embraced faith..and our anger has faded. We see Jesus as the solution, not the problem. The cross has empowered us, given us a deep passionate desire to run hard after him, not because we need to earn anything but because that is just what you do when someone gives you your life back. We are finally...free.
I don't know where you stand with Jesus right now, but everyone is on a journey. You are, whether you want to accept it or not, making a decision everyday about Jesus. Life happens. It builds up inside of us, it confuses us, it messes with us...and we sometimes just don't know what to make of it all. I've learned that what I really want, what I desperately crave, have always craved, is safety. I want to know, no matter what is going on in my world, that I am safe.
Jesus is my safety.
I can have peace, I can have rest, I can have joy...all because I know Jesus, and he doesn't change. You can run from him your whole life, friend, but you will never feel that complete assurance that it really will all be okay...because...well...without Jesus, it won't be okay. It isn't hard. You don't have to toil, earn, analyze or fight with him. You can rest in him. The questions before you is really very simple, and it is one that every person must answer in their lifetime...
What do you think about Jesus?
What you think about him matters. Your answer to that question shapes your entire life. When my view of him changed, my life changed. I look at the cross now, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude, because I see my need, and I see his acceptance of me. I see his grace being poured out to me, through a cross.
Jesus is the way, friend. He is the way to life, to peace, to rest, to joy.
He is the way....
the one and only way.