Is Jesus ‘Personal’ to You?
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
There is no denying that our world is going at breakneck speed into Crazy Town. If you turn on the news or visit a news website you can learn all about the antics and downright spookiness of our modern day.
The thing that is even more disturbing is the stats inside of the church!
Eight out of 10 students WALK AWAY from church, Bible and Jesus by the time they are 19 or 20.
One out of two marriage end in divorce (this is inside the church).
Church membership and commitment has dropped exponentially over the last five years alone.
Well, there are several ideas out there on why this is happening:
A. Men faltering on their true roles as men.
B. The nuclear family unit being literally ripped apart.
C. There is no true moral compass in our culture.
But I personally think the main reason is that many in our churches are not truly taking what Jesus did for them as PERSONAL.
What do I mean?
We have grown up in America, and for many of us have been in church most of our lives. We’ve been to Sunday School and VBS, and we’ve heard the stories.
We know that Jesus died on a cross, and three days later He came back to life. We’ve seen it in movies, and we have heard all about John 3:16.
What this all boils down to is that it’s familiar. Nothing is life shaking. It’s just part of our routine. We love the idea of Jesus, but in reality, when push comes to shove, nothing about what we do in our lives is transforming. I speak from personal experience. I was part of the “Don’t rock the boat” culture.
Then I read this verse:
“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Cor. 5:15).
This caused a shift in me!
It made what Jesus did for me PERSONAL. It was not just some foggy far-fetched idea. I had a stake in this thing now. Jesus died for me. But not just died, He came back to life, and as a result of this, I’m JUSTIFIED before God the Father. I have right standing with God because of what JESUS did for me. All of my sins are forgiven – past, present, and FUTURE.
Think about it. Look at that first part of the verse again…
“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves…”
I admit it, I live for myself! I love “ME TIME.” But sometimes our old sin nature can distract us even if we are redeemed and belong to Jesus. And the devil has one desire when it comes to believers. DISTRACT, DISTRACT, DISTRACT! How does he distract believers? A lot of the time with GOOD THINGS. But if a GOOD thing distracts you from the BEST thing, that good thing becomes evil.
Why is this bad? Because we as Christians have a mission, and that mission is all about JESUS! And the devil does not care how he gets us as long as he gets us off mission! So when I read this verse, everything changed! My life is not about me. My life is not about my family. My life is not about me being happy or comfortable. My life is to be about Christ and Christ alone!
It causes Matt. 5:13-16 to take on a whole new life.
If we as Christians started truly being salt and light what would it look like?
Salt does what? It preserves. It keeps things good. We should be known for persevering good in our culture, not caving into the evil of our day.
Light scatters and dispels darkness. We should be known for bringing light into a dark and dying world.
So what are some tangible ways in which we can live this out?
1. Stop playing with sin. Don’t tip toe around sin. Run from it. Confess it. Repent of it.
2. Get into a community of other believers who push us towards holiness, and when we are pushed, we need to be willing to except that word.
3. Change your conversations. Our focus is Gospel-Centered. No more idle chatter. We focus on the mission at hand.
4. Talk to people about Jesus. Eventually this becomes like second nature. Whether you’re at the gas station or grocery store you talk to people about Jesus. Invite them into this thing called a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus.
5. Forgiveness becomes just as natural as breathing. Don’t hold grudges. Regardless of the issue or circumstance, we FORGIVE! Jesus has forgiven you and me of much so therefore we must forgive of much!
If we begin to live this out and start to take this thing personal, this is when things begin to transform. People begin to come alive for the Glory of God. Life is no longer boring. It’s an adventure every day! It becomes meaningful. You begin to have purpose, and as a result you are now living a BIBLICAL lifestyle, and that is what God wants for each of us.