Monday, October 13, 2008

Will the real Jesus Christ please stand up?

     I was raised in a christian home in church all my life, but even in that environment somehow missed the real gospel for 26 years. I subscribed to being saved and following a list of rules, though not too closely. There was no life in it. There was no loving Savior in it. Just fear and failure. I'm just now getting to know the real Jesus; a loving, forgiving, accepting King. Somehow in our western culture we have missed the mark in who we are portraying Christ to be. And even who we say he is doesn't line up with who we act like he is. I'm reading a really good book right now called Wholly Jesus, by Mark Foreman. It talks about how Jesus came for the whole person, not just our souls. 
     In the current Western definition of salvation, Jesus is largely limited to the heart. This is not true of the largest portion of believers outside the Western world. But stereotypically speaking, when a western-minded child is asked, "Where does Jesus live?" the expected answer is, "In my heart." This is all well and good if the child grows up to understand Jesus also lives through my words, my actions, my attitudes, my fantasies, my goals, my finances, my relationships, etc. But sadly, for many Jesus never makes it out of our hearts. He stays inside while the person passively waits for heaven. - Mark Foreman
     Pop-Christian Jesus (as Foreman calls him) remained locked safely in my heart for 26 empty years. And I cringe to think how much damage I've done by preaching this little Jesus to so many desperate-for-the-real-Him friends. No wonder they were uninterested and unchanged.
     Good news, I'm beginning to grasp and share the real Good News! The real Jesus Christ is standing up in my life. God says when you seek him with all your heart then you will find him. He's no liar and his work in me is proof of that. 
     Wholly Jesus also touches on how Western Christians try to get people's souls saved, get them out of this fallen world, and up to heaven.  But when God talks about heaven in his Word he always promotes bringing heaven, the kingdom of God, here to earth. The kingdom is near. 
     Freedom. The Savior I have longed for, even as a Christian, is reality. I'm finding myself as I'm finding him and my prayer is the same for you. 
     Finally I can breathe.

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