Growing up in a home with a Godly heritage and lifestyle can sometimes be taken for granted. I never had to worry how much my parents loved each other or if they would always be together. It was just there. We went to church together, prayed together, read the Bible together, and did everything together with full joy. The older you get, you start seeing how rare that really was and is. It seems like every year the statistics show more and more broken homes and hurtful situations.
This isn’t a post about how much better I’ve had it than probably most people have in regards to strong Christian influence in my life, it’s a post about why. Why was is so evident? Why was it so consistent and stable in my life and not in so many others who also grew up in “Christian” homes? If there was one simple phrase that make up the theme of my parents life it would have to be “to make much of Jesus.” Jesus is everything to them. Which is where my stability and influence came from.
It seems so frequent now to see many people that have grown up in church, lived a Christian life, do all the right things they were supposed to be doing in their faith, yet decide to throw in the towel or maybe worse, just go through the Christian motions. The sad thing is, they are missing out on the greatest joy they could ever experience, and it’s far greater than even just living in a stable Christian home. I think what has bothered me lately is the fact that too many people love and follow the IDEA of Jesus, and not really Jesus. Let me explain.
In Mark 1, starting in verse 16, we see Marks story of Jesus calling the first disciples. I think we can get so much from this passage:
Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. (Mark 1:16-20 ESV)
This is such a unique passage to ask why would anyone drop what they are doing and follow someone they didn’t even know? Not only that, they decided they would leave everything behind. Without going into full detail of what they were giving up, it’s just important to note that they literally were walking away from everything in their life they knew as comfortable, to follow a person they’ve never met, who didn’t promise them anything better than what they already had. The only phrase of value that Jesus offered was that He would make them become fishers of men. At that time, they didn’t even know who or what He was referring to. All they knew was that following Him was far more valuable than just living a routine life of going through the motions each and everyday. So they gave it up, and in the end, we know it was worth it.
Unfortunately today, so many people will only “follow” Jesus if He can promise them something in return. Whether that’s wealth, good health, a good job, a good church, a great family, or whatever else that might be. People are in love and want to follow the idea of Jesus and not Jesus. They like the idea that somehow Jesus is a divine waiter out to serve and get their every desire. So they go to church, sing in the choir, give their offering, and whatever else they need to do to feel they are living the Christian life, all the while, filling the void with all the trinkets of this world and trying to attach Jesus’ name to it. Without once taking a step of faith and even slightly consider that maybe Jesus has a bigger plan and purpose for their life, but it would take sacrifice, maybe even giving up everything.
I’m so thankful for the Christian home I grew up in, but it wasn’t always easy, and it definitely wasn’t comfortable all the time. My parents taught me at an early age that Jesus is far better than the Christian life, and that living and following Him won’t always be easy, but is definitely worth it. That’s a lesson that isn’t learned once and you got it. It’s something that is processed and fought for our entire lives. Even through the struggles, disappointments, failures, and heartaches; Life with Jesus is better.