I’ve been talking a lot lately about following Jesus, and asking the question, “Are we actually following Him?”
Because when we sing, “Give me Jesus,” do we realize we’re saying, give me an other-centered love that embraces the unclean, befriends the most despicable sinners, loves its enemies and forgives those who’ve hurt us? Or, that it means responding to evil with undeserved grace and kindness, and that we give more than we’re asked?
Following Jesus means we’ve given up our right to be the world’s judge and jury. It means we don’t think we’re serving God by bashing gays, liberals, atheists, or spewing our vitriol at anyone else who doesn’t behave themselves like us.
Did you ever stop and think that the only people Jesus ever “bashed” were those who thought they were serving God and behaving themselves?
Following Jesus means we never preach Romans 1 without Romans 2….
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things…
4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? (Rom. 2:1, 4 NIV)
It also means that we don’t act and respond like the world does. It should mean that we start acting and responding like Jesus.
When we sing, “You can have all this world,” it means leaving a paradigm that conditionally loves according to its own interests, seeks its own desires, thrives on greed and fear, is power-driven, performance-based, competitive, divisive, despises meekness, and is forever blame-shifting. It’s a world that lives in constant fear of others, hates its enemies, holds on to unforgiveness, and always demands retribution.
Singing “Give me Jesus” means the death of all these things that our heart wants to hold on to. It really is a death to self.
But it also means we’ve forgiven ourselves and don’t allow shame and guilt to rule our lives. We’re no longer a life-long volunteer of the things that have victimized us. We are empowered into freedom by grace through faith because of Jesus.
And singing, “Give me Jesus” means that the only way “all this world” will know we’re His will not be by our pristine doctrine, or moral certitudes, and certainly not by telling them what’s wrong with them. No, they will see Jesus by our love for one another.
35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35 NKJV)
And the only way we can have this kind of love is by seeing and walking together in our union in Christ…
23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. (John 17:23 NKJV)
These are things we’ve known all along. They are just so hard to actually do. It requires leaving our religious certainties that made us feel safe and affirmed for total trust in Jesus. This is the path we’re to take if we want to follow Him. It’s this self-sacrificial non-conformity that is our true and proper worship, and the path that leads us to experiential transformation (Rom. 12:1-2).
It’s really a beautiful gift to the world because then they will finally see Jesus.
Give me Jesus means dying to everything lurking in the deepest and darkest part of me and living in the light of a new and wonder-filled way called the crucified life in Christ (Rom.6:1-14; Gal.2:20).
I will follow Jesus to the end of myself because…
Yours is the love that matters
Yours is the love that changes everything