It’s time for Christianity to get back to Christ.
I’ve spent this last week at a Youth Leadership Conference in Kansas City. I learned a lot of things this week. But out of all the things that I heard and experienced, there was one thing that really stood out to me: As the church, we have to be more like Jesus.
Now, I’m sure you’ve heard a sermon or two on this before. You’ve probably even read a few blogs on the subject. But what I really want to emphasize is that in today’s church where we are so focused on doctrinal and theological stances, we can sometimes forget the ultimate goal of the faith that we claim: to be more like Christ.
Dr. David Busic said to us this week that while there is nothing wrong with reading the teachings of the founders of our denominations and the musings of theologians long ago, there is one thing that comes before all of that… The teachings of Jesus.
Jesus is our foundation, our rock, our teacher, and our hope for tomorrow. In fact, even the name that we take reflects that. The word “Christian” was actually used as a derogatory term at first. When the church was first starting to form, people would use that word to make fun of them. They would call the church “little Christs” because they were so focused and obsessed on being exactly like Jesus in every aspect of their lives. (Shout out to Pastor Tim Britton from Conway Nazarene for that information) Today, we still call ourselves Christians… But does it truly mean the same thing that it used to mean? Are we still molding our lives to reflect that of our Savior? Or do we base our religion and our beliefs more on abstract belief systems, and stray from His teachings?
How often do you have a discussion about Jesus? I’m not talking about evangelism (yet). How often do you talk about Jesus in your small group, with your family, and specifically with your children? And when you do talk about Jesus, how do you do it? Do you compare your life to Jesus just to see if you are going to make it to Heaven when you die? Or do you strive to live like Jesus because it is your calling as a follower of God?
Our obedience to Him isn’t just to keep us out of hell. The gospel isn’t good news if it doesn’t apply until after death. Instead, our obedience is really a thank you note back to God. Our obedience is thanking Him for blessing us when we don’t deserve it. We thank Him for His grace and His mercy. And when we shape our lives to fit that of the life of Jesus, we become part of God’s vision of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. That’s what we are striving for. We mold our lives to fit that of Jesus so that we can truly do work for the Kingdom of God.
When it comes to evangelism, let me ask you something: Is there anything that is more compelling than the story of Jesus? A story of love for the people around you, forgiveness, and a hopeful future. Let me be very clear here: When we are talking about evangelism, our religion doesn’t bring the good news to people. Jesus does. Our religion and doctrine has nothing to do with the transformation of lives, the cleansing of sins, the breaking from addictions, and the hope for tomorrow. But Jesus does.
Today, I want you to really examine how you are integrating the story of Jesus into your everyday life. How are you striving to become more like the perfect image of God that you were created to be? How are you talking about Jesus? How are you thanking Him for the grace that He has given you?
Christianity isn’t perfect, but Jesus is. It is time for us to turn away from everything but Jesus.
Hunter, Creative Arts Director