So here’s what I’m not gonna talk about today: religion, rules, “good” vs “bad” Christians
and here’s what I am gonna talk about today: Jesus, loving people, doing things
I put that little disclaimer up there because I don’t want people to automatically be turned away because this is a “religious” post. Quite frankly, I hate the word religion. I love Jesus, but hate religion (and yes, there is a big difference).
Religion feels scary to me. It feels big and overwhelming and forced, like there are certain things I have to follow or I’m kicked out of the club. Who knows, maybe I even need to know the secret code word to get in the club. Religion seems boring, black and white, and ultimately exclusive. You can count me out.
But Jesus! Ohhhhh Jesus. The Jesus lifestyle is a messy one. It’s not bound by rules or regulations or things you “should” or “shouldn’t” do. Instead, it’s bound by love and grace and overflowing joy. Jesus is not complicated or strict or judgy in any type of way. Everyone is welcome in His club, whether you know the secret code word or not. But there is one thing you must do to be a Jesus follower and that one thing is to come.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” -Matt 11:28
Come. To. Me. Just come. That’s all you have to do and I promise the rest will fall into place. When you come to Jesus, you will get a taste of His love and peace and overflowing joy and you will never want to turn back. You’ll feel the touch of His hand and hear the softness of His voice and it will finally feel like you are returning home. But at first you must come.
Whenever I read my bible I try to make it really personal by entering myself into the story. So for this one, I went back in my mind to all of the times I wasn’t following God. All of the places, the boys, the memories I’ve tried to forget. I pulled them out of my memory and pictured them just as they were, except with Jesus in the corner. I pictured Him being there for everything, seeing everything, and without any judgement or shame, telling me to come back home. Not to get punished or in trouble, but because He simply wants something better for me. He just needs me to come.
Does this resonate for any of you guys? Can any of you picture those moments where Jesus may have been lurking in the corner, whispering you to come home? It’s a pretty powerful image. The fact that He would come down and enter my messy life so that I could join in on His perfect one completely blows my mind. Now that is true love.
And let me get one thing straight. I’m not saying that once you follow Jesus your life will be butterflies and roses. The Jesus life is a fulfilling life and one that I want to live forever, but lemme tell ya, it’s tough. My problems didn’t automatically stop when I followed Jesus and there’s not an imaginary bubble that protects me now from any other problems. But what there is is someone I can go to with all of those problems, all of that messiness. Someone who won’t judge me or condemn for it, but will simply hold me and reassure me through it. If only I would come.
I said in my little disclaimer that I was going to talk about three things in this post: Jesus, loving people, and doing things. I’ve pretty much covered the first one, but now I wanna dig a little bit into the last two. Once again, these aren’t religious things that you are forced to do as Christian. However, once you follow Jesus and get a taste of His goodness, you can’t help but want to do the same. Loving people and doing things just happen to be the two biggest ways.
Remember how I said the Jesus life can be hard? Well this whole loving people thing is part of it. I know I’ve talked about this in one of my earlier posts, but it’s worth mentioning again. Loving people requires time, effort, and patience and sometimes I’m a little low on my levels of time, effort, and patience. Like I always say, patience is a virtue…that I do not possess. Lol buuuut I’m working on it! But anyways, loving people takes all of those things and it’s not always easy, especially when it comes to “difficult” people. I hate using that term because I think I’m a difficult person myself, but you know what I mean. Or the people who are just downright mean, or know how to get under your skin, or ohhhh those brutal high school girls. But Jesus doesn’t pick and choose who He decides to love, does He? Remember this isn’t an ultimately exclusive club. And if I want to be more and more like Jesus, I must love more and more people. And love them well, for that matter.
And doing things! Ahhh the exciting part! The Jesus lifestyle is an adventurous one, my friends. As cheesy as it sounds, Jesus will take you places you’d never thought you go. He gives us each a sense of purpose and passion and it’s our job to go do it. If your heart’s in Haiti, go there. If you’re musically talented, lead worship. If you like kids, play with them. Wherever you go, whoever you meet, whatever you do, your job is to show the love of Jesus. This “doing things” part is our way of being the hands and feet of our Savior.
So that’s all I have for you today, friends! COME to Jesus, LOVE people, and DO things. Simple as that.