catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 9, Num 23 :: 2010.12.17 — 2010.12.30


Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Left and right, up and down, liberal and conservative, legal and illegal: Jesus did it all. From the Sermon on the Mount to the Beatitudes, our God danced brilliantly up and down the aisles of justice, mercy, love and forgiveness. Never was there a man so profound. But we aren’t perfect like he was. Grace doesn’t spring forth from us very easily. And let’s be honest, it’s nearly impossible to love everyone unconditionally. The Westernization of our religion has prompted anyone and everyone to sprinkle a little Jesus into their lives, just to be safe. Celebrities, the government, even fast food restaurants have jumped into the mix of Christianity (although there’s nothing like chicken sandwiches for Jesus). With such a wide range of deviating models, balancing all of this stuff gets hectic. We long to see past the status quo to the heart of the Gospel.

The problem is that no one has figured out exactly how to do that. And if we ever do understand how to fully model Jesus, no one will ever be able to live it out. The world is sinful and I don’t see that changing. However, as time continues and Christians from all walks of life discover more about the Bible, we can take significant steps toward a more authentic and true Christianity. Just because we cannot achieve perfection doesn’t mean we should stop pursuing it.

Sadly, I feel that most of us have set ourselves up for imbalance by pledging allegiance to worldly agendas before or alongside the teachings of the Bible. With so many opportunities present for Christians to alternatively self-identify (liberal, conservative, Baptist, Mennonite, non-denominational, young, old, etc.), it’s no wonder our approach to Jesus is imbalanced. While nearly all of Christianity is pitted against me in the battle of politics, denominations and age, I am reminded of Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians: “…there should be no division in the body” (1 Cor. 12:25). Division leads to silence — silence from and within the Church. Submitting to any form of politics, the theology of a denomination, or to the idea that elders and youth need not learn from one another limits the imagination and divides the Church. Jesus thought and acted outside of the box. Why do we think he can fit inside of one?

In order for us to genuinely discover God’s will and better understand Jesus it is important that we purge ourselves of the unnecessary biases we carry. We must be humans following after Jesus. We are Christians. Not conservative Christians. Not liberal Christians. Not young Christians. Not old Christians. “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13). If we cannot carry these secular titles without pointing fingers and placing blame, perhaps it is best that we set them aside and pick up the cross. The Church must see that division not only keeps us from each other, but it keeps us from Jesus and, in turn, from doing the will of God.

How are we to read the scriptures honestly when we are out to synthesize Jesus with our political agendas? How are we to have legitimate discussions with other Christians when we are predisposed to thinking they are wrong? How are we to see truth when we are only looking for what we want to see? How are we to be the functioning body of Christ when we have severed ourselves with the guillotine of politics and denominations? There is nothing biblical about harboring motives that are un-biblical. It is imperative that we start accepting one another due to our common goal of living life for Jesus. That sort of agreement should transcend all diversity and keep the Church unified. That sort of agreement is the cause for celebration, love and action.

With the holiday season nearly upon us, I challenge you to open your heart to the idea of a full and reckless humility. Republican? Democrat? Young? Old? What if you aren’t right about everything? What if the other side has redeemable qualities? What about the Christian factions you are opposing? They are your family whether you like it or not. Learn to accept them and love them for their ideals. Be open-minded. Discuss peacefully. Debate lightly. Complacency isn’t good for anyone.

I pray that we could be a people after Jesus alone. I have personally reaped the negative consequences of secular allegiances via the remarks of countless friends, pastors, family members and Christians, all of whom I dearly love. When you are only laboring for one thing, there is no need to balance it with another. I am laboring for Jesus Christ. I am laboring for the expansion of his Kingdom. I am laboring for the spread of his unconditional love. God help us as we learn to see past our differences, as we learn to love one another for how we are the same.

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