Jesus does not give 'good advice.' Rather, He reveals the nature of the universe.
Is becoming a follower of Jesus an upgrade? Many think, “If I become a Christian, it will be a drag – there are too many rules to follow and I won’t be able to have any fun.” They believe God is a cosmic killjoy. We who know Christ have the privilege and calling of dispelling the false reports. We are indeed ambassadors of Christ! There are more important questions than: “Is becoming a follower of Jesus an upgrade?” Yet, this is often what people are asking and there is wisdom in meeting people right where they are. Even more important than having the “right answers” is that we are abiding in Christ. Are the peace, joy and love that we receive from the Holy Spirit visible in our lives? A joyful Christian is a light in the darkness and has the power to spark a spiritual hunger in those who don’t yet know Christ. I’ve shared these verses with many people who were considering the faith. They clearly contradict the idea that following Christ is a burden. “In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” - 1 John 5:3-4 (NIV) “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” - James 1:25 (NIV) Helping people to see that our faith is less about “keeping the rules” and more about “falling in love” has been an effective approach for me. Consider what God has done in and through Christ! If it’s true, then God’s love for us is amazing beyond words! And our response to this is to love God! “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (NIV) So, we help people move from the mindset of “Will my life get better if I become a Christian?”, to “Consider who Jesus is and what he has done for me.” Some better questions than the upgrade question are: “Is the Gospel story true?” “Is Jesus really the Son of God and the image of the invisible God?” and “Did Jesus actually rise from the dead?” Many people believe that the Christian faith is one choice among many and we get to pick which one is best for us. They think search isn't necessarily for truth, but rather for what makes me feel the most peace, sense of purpose, or which one “works for me.”
This is the world view of relativism – that truth is not absolute, but relative. So, you can have your truth and I can have my different truth. This isn’t a problem if we’re talking about which toothpaste is the best, but it cannot stand with ultimate truth claims. Islam makes the claim that Jesus is not the Son of God and that he was not crucified. The Bible clearly states that he is the Son of God and that he was crucified. It’s one or the other with both of these claims. Either Jesus is the Son of God, or He is not . . . He was either crucified or He was not. It cannot be both. At some point people need to see that all faiths make ultimate truth claims that necessarily contradict other truth claims. Our pursuit must be for ultimate Truth rather than what suits us best. C. S. Lewis says it so clearly, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.”
I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.
I believe strongly that following Jesus is an upgrade; but I follow because He is who He claimed to be and because He died and rose again for me! Sometimes following Jesus is difficult and it creates real problems. At times it may be easier in the short term not to walk in the way of Christ. However, if we don’t follow him, we’re going “against the grain of the universe” and the universe gives some tough splinters. Jesus does not give “good advice.” Rather, He reveals the nature of the universe. He does not dish out arbitrary rules, He calls all of humanity into a relationship with himself. He gives invitations and commands and all of them flow from His perfect love for us. Friends, let’s live, love and serve in such a way that the lost, the lonely and the least of these will know Christ is real. I close with these words from Jesus, our Savior, our Lord: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” - John 10:10 (NIV) "In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16 (NLT)