What can I do with my obsession?
As the richness of my Savior blossoms in my chest, the heavier my heart my gets at the mass of people who deliberately decide to walk away from the greatest gift they have ever been given. Especially the throng of students who walk away instead of choosing the narrow. I think something has gone drastically wrong in how we teach the value of living a life totally abandoned to the gospel of our Lord and savior. I think this falls squarely on the shoulders of the church.
Now before I go any farther, I need to discuss what I mean by ‘church.’ I don’t mean to speak against the Church. If someone talked about my bride I would put a fist right between their eyes. In this post I am referring to ‘church’ with a little ‘c.’ Or, church as the establishment. Not ‘Church’ as the world wide body of believers who share Jesus as the capstone.
As I was saying, the problem falls on the church and the process by which we are trained and raised in righteoussness. My whole life I have heard “Don’t drink. Don’t have sex. Don’t do drugs. Don’t cheat. Don’t lie. etc.” with the only adequate reason against these activities is “it’s bad for you.” Lame-O. Maybe instead of teaching what Christianity isn’t, we teach what it is. We carry this banner of Christ as a man of rules, regulations, and don’t’s. Instead of freedom, passion, love, and ultimately, life to the fullest. Seriously, what message is going to capture the imagination of teenager when we tell them things they can’t do? It’s a problem. I would even go as far as to say encouraging them not to do something is indirectly encouraging them to do it. We are putting a box around our students instead of giving them ultimate freedom. I heard a message once on sex. The pastor stood on stage and said, “I’m not going to tell you not to have sex. I won’t. I will only tell you there is a better way.” It reminded me of Paul when he says everything is permissable but not everything is beneficial.
There is a better way.
When you meet a Jesus like I have over these past few weeks, you will know what I mean. All of a sudden the things of this world get the volume turned way down and this obsession begins to form in your heart and mind. It’s like a burning fire or a category five hurricane. Your senses get put on overload and you’re on the verge of crying, shouting, laughing and missing words all at the same time. So, you melt. The springs in your eyes break lose and canyons are carved on your cheaks. You’re so weak you can’t stand so you hit your knees. You try to pray but the words are gone and the only thing intelligent you can utter is, “Jesus, you are so sweet.” And you want more. Always. You’ll do anything to get back to the place where your stomach audibly turns at the mention of your savior’s name. This is the better way.
There is an example in scripture and this story has quickly become one of my favorites over the past few weeks. It’s the story of the woman at the well. In the story, the woman is going to get water. For these few moments of life, her entire purpose is to get water and carry it back to her village. When she gets there, she meets someone she had no idea would be there; Jesus (not so unlike our own encounters with Jesus sometimes.) The two start talking and the story says…
“Leaving her bucket at the well, she ran…”
Did you catch that? She left her entire purpose. She left her identity. Herself. And she ran. Why? Because she met a man named Jesus. She found a better way and all she wanted was to tell everyone.
One more example. This past semester I had a professor bent on destroying the Christian faith. He was relentless and I can say he almost had me. The last day of class he held nothing back. He even went as far as to say something like ‘why would anyone worship a God who lets so much bad happen in the world?’ I’ll be honest, I have wondered the same. I sat there in class trying to formulate an answer to this question. I could only come up with one, my Jesus is better than anything else. He says, ‘deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.’ Why would he say it if he didn’t have some crazy awesome plans in store for us? Unless he was crazy. (Believe you me, one of these posts will be called ‘Jesus was either brilliant or crazy.’) I don’t have the answer to why God allows bad things in the world. But, like the woman at the well, there is something about this man Jesus who causes me to leave everything I know behind and run as far and as fast as I can, telling everyone about this better way.
Maybe instead of telling teenagers what they can’t do, why don’t we say, “Hey, I don’t have the answers. But I have personally met this man who makes me weak, makes me cry, makes me overflow with joy, and makes everything else in this world black and white. I want to take you to meet him. His name is Jesus.” I suspect we won’t have to tell students what they are unallowed to do, all they will want is Jesus. More and more. Eveything else will fall by the wayside as they are filled with Holy Spirit.
I want to know this Jesus. Will you come with me?