I find that it is so easy to replace Jesus with the idea of Jesus—to substitute stuff for Jesus, and about Jesus, in place of Jesus. Does anyone else relate, or fall into that trap?
I try, in this blog, in my pastoring/teaching/counseling, and in my life, to avoid the trap of theology for knowledge’s sake, but to take theology and study to its end . . . to our relationship with Jesus and how that translates into daily living. Easter, in which we celebrate the risen Christ, is the perfect time to talk about a living, vibrant, daily, interactive faith—to explore a living relationship with a living God.
For so many religions and “ways” one follows the teaching’s of another—be it a religious leader, a parent, etc. That person can be alive, or long dead, and it doesn’t matter. But, in our faith, we follow a person . . . and for that person to be followed, they must be alive. While Jesus gave us many teachings and things we can look back on for wisdom in areas He addressed, He ultimately invites us to a living relationship with Him where we follow Him.
It is good to ask the question so popular among Christians, “What would Jesus do?”—and there are clear cut things that this is sufficient for—but if we are not careful we can subtly fuel a problem in the Christian walk of replacing ideas about Jesus with the living reality of Jesus. Asking, “What would Jesus do?” almost leaves an unsaid, but still real feeling at the end in which one might add, “. . . if He were here?”—and we can often arrive at that answer, or what we think that answer would be, without any interaction with Jesus Himself. He is here, with us, present—and that makes all the difference in the world!
The reality is that, if you have given the Lordship of your life to Jesus, He is here, with you, and it is so much better to ask, “What is Jesus doing?” (present tense). It is not easy to be so intimate with Him that we can always sense that, but it is critical that it is our goal. He is alive! He died, but He rose again! That is the core of our relationship with Him, that it is not following a dead man’s teachings, but following a living God. To follow we must be aware of, and in relationship with . . . but that is what Jesus modeled for us when He did only what the Father was doing, and said only what the Father was saying. Later the Apostles modeled that by seeking to follow the teaching of God to make disciples in the world, but allowing the Holy Spirit to give them “real time” leading and guidance in the moment, and about which region to go to.
When we walk down the streets, stand in the breakroom, sit in the classroom, hang out at the sewing group or sporting event, etc., Jesus is there with us, in us, waiting to be allowed to lead. We are His hands, his feet, his mouth, and when we can move in that relationship with Him where we are surrendered to Him He can direct us to the one in the crowd His eyes are on, where He is working, and we can follow Him in that moment, where He would go.
God bless, and be encouraged—we have a great and mighty and living God!