“So tell me,” the interviewer began, “How do you keep a blog that’s about fitness, food, and faith without pushing away and intimidating those who don’t have faith?”
“Ha ha, well, that’s the question,” the interviewee started, hesitantly, “I’m very careful about that, so, I just put a little out every second Sunday. Actually, it’s mostly just some news about my life and progress with maybe a favourite scripture or two.”
“That’s so awesome, because, you know, it’s cool that you believe and all that, but, you know, that stuff can be really intimidating,” said the interviewer.
And that was the reason she gave for how she stayed popular despite her faith and the end of all things to do with faith on that podcast. I sighed. That information wasn’t really surprising, though I was hoping for something more.
I hate to admit it but this is something I struggle with often. It’s so easy to start to worry about what kind of writing will potentially draw people in or push them away or intimidate them. Sometimes I’m tempted to give a little less of Jesus to get just a little more praise.
Often I want to leave things out, soften a message, or not even write about a certain subject at all. It’s so easy to do in this “Like Generation,” where our value and worth is determined by how many likes, shares, and followers we have and maintain. When it seems like every time we put something out there that is too Jesus-saturated we lose a couple of likes and all the popular accounts have just a little sprinkle of Jesus here and there.
Right now, I’ve noticed that it’s increasingly popular to have just a little bit of Jesus tacked onto whatever message you are trying to spread or whatever product it is you are trying to market.
Go be whatever you want to be, wear a cross necklace and a Jesus tee, share a verse here and there, and use the #blessed hashtag. But be careful not to go too heavy on that Jesus thing. Jesus is great and all, but too much of Him makes people feel uncomfortable.
It’s not only popular to think and act this way, but it’s tempting. When you see that smiling selfie girl with the short shorts, crop top, and scripture below it and the obligatory #blessed hashtag. When you see the ones who get to do all the world does and have all the world has and yet keep just enough of God to look good. And you find yourself just wishing that you could have all of that and Jesus.
Oh, so tempting.
| JESUS ACCEPTS NOTHING LESS THAN EVERYTHING
But we aren’t called out of this world to give Jesus a passing mention on our timeline. We are called to surrender everything to Him. It is offering our entire lives as a sacrifice – every part of our lives, every day.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1, KJV)
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23, ESV)
Becoming a disciple of Jesus means that our faith is more than just a preference – it’s a conviction. It is the foundation for everything we do.
“Now faith is the assurance [foundation; support] of things hoped for, the conviction [evidence; proof] of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, ESV).
It has to transform and changes us. God wants us to grow and evolve until our lives are so transformed by Jesus that we look exactly like Him; the one who gave up Heaven to give His life for us.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV)
It’s actually really quite sobering to realise that Jesus actually never wanted people to follow who would give Him only half their lives. He actually turned away people who weren’t willing to drop everything right there and then and give Him their all. He discouraged people from following Him who weren’t ready to give some part of their lives (Luke 9:57-62; et. al.).
He expects that when we hold a true faith, nothing in our lives will remain untouched by His influence: not our own lives, not even our own families.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27, 28)
He’s not just something on the side to sing songs and wear catchy slogans about. He is everything.
| EVEN IN ASKING FOR EVERYTHING, JESUS ASKS FOR LESS THAN WHAT HE HAS GIVEN
When I think about what His sacrifice means and how He calls me to live in light of it, I realise that turning some friends, likes, and shares away to make my convictions boldly known is nothing. Nothing at all. When I consider that being His disciple means a daily sacrifice and a daily denial of self these sacrifices seem so small and insignificant.
In asking for our lives, He isn’t being unreasonable. He asks for nothing He is not giving back to you ten thousand times over again.
- He asks us to give everything, and in return freely gives us more (Matthew 19:29; Mark 10:30).
- He asks us to boldly tell men about Him, and in return boldly tells His Father about us (Matthew 10:32, 33).
- He asks us to give Him every day, and gives us eternity (John 12:25).
…now that’s a reason to feel #blessed. *wink*
| JESUS IS WORTH MORE THAN ALL THE WORLD’S PRAISE
The world is happy when we show them a little bit of Jesus. A little bit of Jesus isn’t ever uncomfortable – not for them, and not for us. But, when I give Him up for a little praise from the world, I give up the highest praise I could ever attain, His “Well done, you good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
If we want to have Jesus and we want His praise, He has to be our everything. He cannot be a little thing we have on the side, He must be the very thing on which we stand.
Wearing a cross necklace and a Jesus tee, sharing a verse here and there, and using the #blessed hashtag is not going to set us and our message apart from anyone else’s. It is not going to convict people of their need for a Saviour. If we are not careful, doing these things is simply a way for us to reduce Jesus and Christianity into fashion accessories.
It is for this reason that Jesus doesn’t want to be just a reason to share #blessed hashtag and a thoughtful verse here and there. Jesus calls us to set Him as the Rock upon which we build our entire lives.
He accepts nothing less from His disciples, but in return gives us so much more.
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