“What if Christians were more known for our feet washing than our sin bashing? What if kindness was the main tool we used to demonstrate God’s kingdom? What if instead of trying to lead the world, we would instead focus on serving it?”
Carlos A. Rodriguez, Drop the Stones
Sometimes it’s hard to find Jesus, the real Jesus amidst the fog of religion.
Religion masquerading as a code of conduct instead of the earth shaking, life changing truth of God.
A means of control and judgment.
A white washed tomb.
It’s something that makes me feel I can never measure up or be good enough.
I don’t want to paint over who I am just so people around me think I’m a card carrying Christian.
I’m messy and imperfect, I miss the mark.
My heart can be hard.
I think and say and do things that are sinful.
Jesus loves me anyway.
It’s taken me a long time to believe it.
For years, I tried harder.
A performance track that goes nowhere.
If we as Christians and churches truly believe we can never measure up to a Holy God, then why do we try to?
Why do we feel we the need to mask who we really are and play a role of sinless perfection?
There is mercy in mess.
Freedom in forgiveness.
When I’m honest with myself, God and others, He has something to work with. Being a Christian, a Christ follower, an imitator of Christ, is a process.
An onion God keeps peeling.
A slab of stone the master sculptor chips away to reveal a hidden masterpiece.
If I only breathe in, I hyperventilate.
Bible studies and knowledge are only useful when I put what I learn into practice.
Otherwise, it’s like going to Home Depot, taking a class, buying the tools and storing them.
But don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. James 1:22-24
The Christian life isn’t about learning more so I can rate and grade the world around me. It isn’t so I can look smart at church and Bible study.
It’s about giving up stuff I want for what God has.
It’s about being willing to be uncomfortable and inconvenienced.
Not so I can look good.
Not so I can feel better.
I do it because the world needs what Jesus has.
I do it because Christ laid His life down for me and I love Him for it – without His sacrifice, I am done.
He sacrificed His life – to follow means I must also.
I hate feet – dirty, smelly, calloused, gross feet. I don’t want to wash feet, I want someone to wash my feet and give me a pedicure while they’re at it.
I don’t want to serve, I want to be served.
This is the condition of my heart – my heart with Jesus in it.
Yet I notice something changes when I spend time with Him.
When I take the time to read His words, worship with my heart, pray and allow Him access, it changes me.
His love, His life makes me different.
It makes me willing to be less instead of more.
Jesus was just as frustrated by the religious as I am.
Men walking among poverty enslaved people in their white robes and gold tassels. Gazing upon desperate need with disgust and a sneer.
They thought they were close to God.
They had an “us” and “them” mindset.
If I’m not careful, my religious beliefs do the same.
I don’t drink or swear like they do. (at least not in public)
I don’t watch the movies or tv shows they watch.
I don’t listen to music with those horrible lyrics.
Instead of the radical love of Jesus, religion becomes a set of rules that separate – anyone on the dividing line is unwelcome, less than, trash.
If He was here today, He wouldn’t drive a Ferrari or wear Gucci sunglasses.
He’d walk into the middle of anywhere, set a table and invite everyone who wanted to come.
He would wash feet and serve.
He would listen and love without condition or a rating system.
When the meal was over, He wouldn’t walk away, He’d invite everyone to do life with Him.
To accept His invitation only requires I leave one life for another.
From being served to becoming a servant.
From climbing the ladder to holding it so others can climb.
From loving people for what they do for me to loving them in spite of what they do to me.
“Come Follow Me…Don’t worry about the details or being good enough. Keep your eyes on Me and I will lead you. Some of you will follow Me to corporate offices, some of you will follow Me and clean toilets. My work and Word never changes regardless of circumstance or scene. In my Kingdom, your value is the same.”
It’s taken a lifetime to understand, it’s not my performance – good or bad that Jesus is concerned with.
He knows every weakness and loves me anyway.
His love is unconditional.
I don’t love my son based on his performance, I just love him. When he acts a fool and embarrasses me, I still love him and he’s still my son. There’s nothing he can do that will cause me to stop loving him – even on days when I don’t like him very much.
It’s the same with God.
To God, my value – and yours is priceless.
It’s not based on what I do but whose I am – in fact, it’s worth dying for.