Monday, August 09, 2010

Jesus Offends Me

By Belinda

If Jesus were present in the flesh, here and now, I wonder if he would offend me? I think he might.

Would he offend the Church?

Would he say things like " 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' ?

He said that once before to church people (Matthew 15:8-9 (New International Version)) and he might well say it to me.

I wonder if we would be challenged by his physical presence among us? Would he feel at home in the place we call "church?"

Would he say, "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks?"

He said that to a nominal believer once, long ago (John 4:23 (New International Version))  Do I really know what he meant by "worship in spirit and in truth?"

Have I fully grasped Truth in my faith life?

Would I even use the term "faith life" if I had?

Have I integrated the truth I say I believe, into my life so fully that there are no hidden pockets where Jesus is not welcome? Let's just say there is room for improvement.

Yes, he offends me; I think he's supposed to. He makes me uncomfortable. He challenges me to greater depth; deeper understanding; fuller consecration; more complete surrender.

I acknowledge the compromise in my life and choose to leave it behind. I choose to press in for all that there is of God. I want his eyes to see through mine, my heart to beat in rhythm with his, my will to be in tune with his.

I'm moving over for God.

Philippians 3:7-9 (New International Version)

7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

11 comments:

Dave Hingsburger said...

I have wondered this myself. I have never thought of Jesus as a 'religious' person and I think 'religious' people annoyed him. He, to me, was about faith in action and in deed. He, to me, wanted us to follow him into the deepest recesses of soul and heart, not through vainglorious motions of holiness. I would be intimidated, if not outright offended, by his uncompromising approach to loving and caring about ALL. I'm comfortable with lovin the middle 'L' in all - but that's it. Don't ask for more, it's unreasonable. Terrific post, made me think.

Hestor said...

Hi, I visit your blog every now and then after having found it through a link on Dave's blog. I agree with what Dave said, there is a big difference between religious and faithful - I want to be more faithful and less religious. But religious is easier.

Belinda said...

Dear Dave,
I was nudged and challenged by a conversation with someone who was merely expressing something scriptural, but so radical that it offended my carnal self. I don't expect God is going to change to come closer to my "norm" so I know who needs (and wants) to change. I also know it's not about more effort, but a "living in" him. I want to follow him into those "deepest recesses of soul and heart." Like I said, I'm moving over for God.

Belinda said...

Dear Hestor,
Welcome! Thank you for your comment. How I agree with you. What the world doesn't need is more "religion" or "religious people."

Pressing in. Belinda

Suzanne said...

All of my life I have struggled with some of the things Jesus said. He was uncompromising and blunt at times, although he was also compassionate and forgiving. I am glad he has grace for me, because at times I am a lot more like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son, than like anyone else in that parable. I am "religious" in the bad sense of the word, dogmatic, and judgemental. Jesus had harsh words for hypocrites, but healing and forgiveness for those who recognized their need for grace. Surrender to him seems to a gradual, almost glacial, process for me. Thanks for this post, Belinda! I found it challenging and encouraging.

Belinda said...

Dear Suzanne,
Bless you for the encouragement and your honesty in your own struggle. Me too.

Janet Sketchley said...

Well said, Belinda. Jesus wants us to be secure in our relationship with Him, but comfortable? When we're not yet what we need to be?

I agree with Hestor, it's easier to be religious than faithful, and faithful is much better.

Funny, just this morning I was reading some of Jesus' offensive words to the Pharisees at the end of John 5. We can end up in that group awfully fast if we're not careful.

Your post reminds me of Todd Agnew's song, "My Jesus".

Susan said...

If Jesus offends, does that mean if we're following him, we should be offending too?

Dave Hingsburger said...

Well Susan, I've been meaning to talk you about that ...

Belinda said...

Janet--posted it. Wow!

Belinda said...

Susan, you ask the best questions. I think we would, just offend the same people Jesus did, by virtue of the fact that he did, but it would be a good offense,that stirred people out of complacency and made them better.