For a long time I've been struggling with some doubts of my own. Not doubts of whether or not God exists, etc. But I've been feeling my passions for Jesus fading. To the point where I couldn't read certain parts of the Bible or listen to sermons from people that I used to love hearing from. It's hard because Jesus and I used to be best friends and now when I heard people talk about how great their relationship is with Him, I'd get jealous or discouraged or something. I'm not sure how to explain it, I know I'm weird. The majority of the time when I heard people talk about Jesus and how He is their best friend and He's all that matters, etc. It always felt dishonest, like that's what they were taught to say, that's what they are required to put on their profile to earn salvation or get a free pass into heaven or something. And when I heard all these people that 'have it all together all the time' just waking up every morning and high-fiving Jesus, it just seemed like either I was worshiping the wrong Jesus or they were.
So was it my theology? Was it the way I viewed Jesus? How do I know which one of us is right? Or are we just exploring different traits of Him? There's been a million questions. Most of them were the "Hows" of every answer I've been told ever. "put your hope in Jesus", how? "fill the void with Jesus", how? Even Jesus says "Come to me all you weary and heavy laden and I'll give you rest", well that sounds wonderful, but how do I come to Him? He's not some dude in Wisconsin I can go to. If He was, I'd walk, drive, fly, swim, whatever I could to come to Him. But to me, it hasn't been that easy. So is it me? Am I the only one having these thoughts or doubts?
I've experienced a full relationship with Him that made my heart an inch bigger and it was incredible. I loved well, learned much and was filled with Joy. I've since been always trying to get back to that moment in my life. Knowing, from experience that Jesus was the answer but the question that remained was the How. How do I apply this answer. I feel like someone's car broke down and people keep saying "oil is the answer" to someone that doesn't know anything about cars. I need to know how to apply this.
So I was trying to recall all of the things that I've heard about Jesus in art, from people, in stories, in the Bible that just drew me to Him, that seemed genuine, real, tangible. It's usually been the people that don't have blogs, pulpets or books published. Real people, dirty people that aren't slaves to other people's theologies. I think this happens to so many of us, we start saying the things that we know will get likes on Facebook, instead of the things that are honest to us. The stories in the Bible that pulled me in were the ones of Jesus with the Samaritan woman, Beatitudes, Jesus with the prostitute that was nearly stoned. Those stories pulled me towards Him.
A Stick, A Carrot and a String (by mewithoutYou):
There's a sign on the barn in the cabbage town "when the rain picks up and the sun goes down sinners, come inside with no money, come and buy
no clever talk, nor a gift to bring requires our lowly, lovely king come now empty handed, you don't need anything"
and so many others, but what I've noticed is a pattern in them all. I've heard that "Jesus hangs out with sinners" so much that it's really lost a ton of meaning. I think maybe it's because a lot of the church's definition of 'sinners' is drastically different than the Bible's definition. The sinners that Jesus hung out with weren't people that were on their way to figuring their life out, on their way to redemption or even aware of their sin. I feel like a lot of times we love the idea of hanging out with sinners as long as they are on the path to recovery. Which instantly makes our love for sinners conditional. Which it was Jesus' unconditional love that led them to the path to recovery. That prostitute that Jesus defended from getting stoned wasn't begging Jesus "save me from this and I will stop sinning" He saved her because He loved her and then asked her to "sin no more". It's hard to obey someone's command when the first thing someone asks of you is that command but it's so easy if they've proved they love you and want your best, because then you know that love is behind that command.
I think what's great about who Jesus hung out with and who he called were the people that didn't have it all together. The people that didn't worry so much about what words to say or not say, they just were honest with Him. The people that just talk to Him, instead of trying to figure out everything first. I'm prone to try to figure out how much of a sinner I am before approaching Him or trying to figure out everything about Him before talking to Him, without realizing that when I just talk to him is when I'll start realizing those things.
There was a guy at my summer camp that was so funny to me. I used to try so hard to be funny to him I wanted to impress him so badly. But if I just stopped worrying about that and enjoy his company and not worry about trying to be funnier than I was, I would start learning his humor, becoming more funny and sharing a laugh with him.
I need to not worry about impressing Jesus, I need to spend time with Him, come to Him, that's it, just approach Him, that's what it means, it's not come to Him when I've got it all figured out or when I graduate Bible school or when I conquer this addiction or write this blog or anything else. It's just, "come to me". I think being with Him will make us realize who He is and allow us to be more like Him. But trying to be more like Him so He'll hang out with us is unbiblical. This isn't a highschool crush were he'll only hang out with you if you are more like Him. But he is the cool kid in school that allows us nerds to hang out with Him, which eventually makes us more cool.