*Originally published January 3, 2018
Have you noticed that Jesus is trending these days? Sort of like “on fleek”, “sorry not sorry”, “do you even”, “I can’t even”…and on and on I could go. Jesus and coffee. Jesus and football. Jesus and pizza (okay, I haven’t seen that one yet). What the *expletive* would Jesus do? Jesus is trending in our culture like He’s a celebrity, an addiction, a past time, or a terrible slang term that we can’t rid from our vocabulary soon enough.
Our culture has minimized Jesus and for a large part, have rejected His message. We want to live by our own rules and write them as we go and as they fit the way we want to live. This is not the message of Jesus. We don’t get to have “a whole lotta life and little bit of Jesus.” We don’t get to write the rules, Jesus already did that. We don’t get to change the rules because “it’s a new day and age.” Jesus isn’t a “side chick”, he’s the main act, center stage.
Don’t get me wrong, I own a few shirts that have cute “Jesus sayings” on them but I also have them because I live them. I am far from perfect and I do a whole lot of wrong but I have learned that Jesus on the side just doesn’t work. Jesus on the side means I do it my way and maybe I’ll ask his opinion or seek him for a word of encouragement but let’s face it: I’m running the show. In all of my years, I have learned that this never ends well for me. The only way I get anything even remotely right is when Jesus is front and center in my life.
I hate seeing our social media age “selling” Jesus as a side order. The message I see all the time is that it’s okay to live how you want and just give Jesus a nod every so often. The hardest thing about being a Jesus-follower is surrendering it all to Him and admitting that there is nothing I can do in my own power. All I am and all I can do or be is only by the grace of God. Following Jesus means denying the world and denying myself. That may not sound very appealing to most people but it is absolutely the best way to live.
I’ve made it sound like following Jesus is a big bummer but it’s not. It’s the best thing in the world. It is knowing you are loved all the time, no matter what you do, no matter how “bigly” you mess up. It is casting all your cares on a God that is all-powerful and who has a good plan for your life. It is faith and trust that every single thing that happens in our life is for our good and serves a greater purpose – yes, even when God allows bad things to happen. Following Jesus means living life knowing that we are IN the world but we are not OF the world. When we follow Jesus it means we don’t follow the world and the expectations of man.
Jesus doesn’t want to be kicked off to the side, the outskirts of your life. He wants to be the center. He wants to love you and guide you and he wants you to live the amazing life he has given you.