(continued from 4/8/09)
Reason #5: I don’t believe in Jesus because I am a professional Christian. I am a professional Christian and I have been one all of my life. Between college, seminary and graduate school, I spent 10 years in academic training. I’ve written books about Christianity and the Christian life. I make my living being a pastor and serving people; I always have. So I guess that makes me a professional Christian.
But I, above all other people, know how dangerous that can be. Anytime you take spiritual reality and turn it into a commodity that you trade and sell, and market and brand, it becomes a very dangerous thing. It’s like trying to contain fire. You’re liable to get burned.
As a professional Christian I’ve been hurt, betrayed, and lied about. I’ve had people try to destroy me and my reputation. But that doesn’t make me different from any other person, or any other profession. For me, being a professional Christian is not what I am. I am an agent of change, an instigator of change, a connector of renegades, a promoter of ideas like redemption, forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, cultural change, and transformation on a global scale. So for me, professional is something someone else puts on me. I live the life of a communicator, of someone who wants to help other people know God, love God, and love what God loves.
Reason #6: I don’t believe in Jesus because it makes sense.
This may be the most important thing I’ve said in this series. Of all the reasons, this is the most compelling. It doesn’t make sense. There is no other worldview in which the individual matters so much to God. It doesn’t make sense that God would love me as I am: a kid from Barren County, a nobody, someone so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. That God would know me, know my name, understand my pain, extend Himself to me, pursue me by His Holy Spirit, purchase my redemption and forgiveness by His life, His shed blood and resurrection; justify me, adopt me into His family, promise to take care of me, to order my steps, to number the hairs on my head, to know the days of my life and prepare me for eternal life beyond anything I could ever imagine. It doesn’t make sense.
As close to making sense to me as what John said in 1st John: “We love God because He first loved us.” That’s me. I wouldn’t love God unless He loved me. I don’t love Him because I’m a good person, because I have some intrinsic advantage, intellect, or experience. I guess you could say I am kind of a mercenary. I love God because He loves me. I love Him back. I am compelled to. He overwhelms me with His grace, His presence, and His promise. He is amazing how He continues to extend Himself and exert His influence in the world even though we’ve predicted His demise for so many years.
I don’t believe in Jesus because I’m a Christian, because the Bible tells me so, because I was raised in church, because I had Christian parents, because I’m a professional Christian, or because it makes sense. I believe in Jesus because Jesus Christ loved me, pursued me, converted me, embraced me, owns me, lives in me and through me, blesses me, forgives me, grows me up, disciplines me, and promises me that He’ll get me home safely.
As you consider going to church this Easter weekend, find a church that will proclaim not a wimpy Jesus, not a cultural Jesus, not a flannel board Jesus, not a feminine Jesus, not a doormat-step-on-me Jesus; but a strong, victorious, resurrected Savior.