Which Jesus?

In our recent and very amazing trip to the 8th annual Summit (in California, at none other than Rick Warren’s church!!!), the President of Christian Alliance For Orphans said the following:

When grace becomes TOUCHABLE, it becomes costly.  Abstract grace responds from a distance.  TOUCHABLE grace responds in nearness.  Abstract grace is easy to criticize.  TOUCHABLE grace criticizes YOU.

Ouch.

“…the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be RENEWED in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of GOD in true righteousness and holiness.”  (Ephesians 4:21-24)

My old self says, “That’s too much, surely there’s someone else that can meet that need.”  My new self says, “THIS is the way, walk in it.  His grace is sufficient.”

My old self says, “I already had plans.”  My new self says, “In humility, consider others more significant.”

My old self says, “Look at what I did.”  My new self says, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord.”

My old self says, “Go ahead and get it, you deserve it.”  My new self says, “My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

In Journey to the Fatherless, Lawrence Bergeron points out that there is only one Jesus Christ who ever lived, but there are over 30,000 separate Christian denominations or groups in over 200 countries around the world.  Therefore the followers of Jesus Christ, His Body, are seen as “fragmented and at odds” with each other rather than living as united, living expressions of the love of Christ. 

So which Jesus, which grace, do we follow?  Bergeron calls this, “The Jesus of Suburbia or the Jesus of Servanthood”?  Abstract grace or Touchable grace?  Old self or new self?

The Jesus of Surburbia is the old self.  “He is the Jesus who calls us into comfort and convenience and away from engaging the world around us with truth and grace.”  This Jesus is “easy to accept for He demands very little of us, very little tithe, very little worship, very little time.”

The Jesus of Servanthood is the new self.  He is “inspired by the Holy Spirit (and) calls those who follow Him to surrender their entire lives into His hands.”  The Father’s surpassing greatness is made MUCH of and others will want to know more about this Jesus.  And the result? 

 “The Gospel is preached in word and action.” (Bergeron)

Just this morning, I was praying for a few families on my heart…praying for their strength and encouragement as they love and sacrificially serve the least of these, this very day.  It’s easy to pray those simple prayers.  But am I really intentional in those prayers?  Do I pray for someone the way I long for someone to be praying for me?  Claiming God’s Word over them…His Word that is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword”?

“True, whole prayer is nothing but love.” (St. Augustine)

And as I was praying for encouragement for these precious families, He gently reminded me that prayer brings communion with Him and communion leads to presence with them.  WE are His hands and feet.  He has CHOSEN to send US, the Body of Christ, to be His messengers of hope, healing, comfort, and strength to one another.

The Jesus of Servanthood, the Touchable Jesus, came not to be served, but to serve.

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.  Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow – when you now have it with you.” (Prov. 3:27-28)

Am I withholding good from someone that is crying out to Jesus for help, for encouragement, for hope?  What “time, talents, and treasures” has God entrusted you with in order that you may make MUCH of HIM? 

God may be calling you to expand your family through adoption.  Or He may ask you to give financially to a family being called to adopt but wondering how in the world they will ever afford it.  He may be calling you to provide a safe place to rest for one of the 500,000 foster children in our country or to sponsor a child who may otherwise die from starvation. 

He may be calling you to respite care.  He may be calling you to prayer, real prayer, on behalf of a family in need.  He may be calling you to regularly cook meals for a newly adoptive family or to lend a hand to some much needed repairs on the home of a widow or family struggling to make ends meet.  He may be calling you to begin an orphan care ministry in your church.

“The gospel is like a caged lion.  It does not need to be defended; it just needs to be let out of its cage.” (Charles Spurgeon)

 

And when the world asks, “Which Jesus?” we are following, they will know … because they will have been TOUCHED by Him!

Because He first loved us,

Jodie