Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Jacuzzi Jesus

Dear Friends,

Let’s start this AMEN Corner by standing to our feet and singing the Doxology!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise God now for an hour or so
Praise God right now it’s Him we seek
Then we’ll forget God ‘till next week

Okay.. So maybe that’s not the doxology that you sing at your church, but too many Christians are singing that in their hearts. We like our watered-down, easy Christianity in America because the last thing we want from our religious experience is disruption and challenge. We don’t want a radical, kicking over the tables in the temple Jesus. We don’t want a challenging, life-changing Jesus. We most definitely don’t want an in-your-face, “go your way and sin no more” Jesus. What we want is a “Jacuzzi Jesus.” 

Too many of us want to be immersed in a nice warm and bubbly religious experience that will leave us relaxed and feeling good about ourselves the way we are. Hey! I’m okay, you’re okay. Right? A Jacuzzi Jesus leaves you feeling that your soul has been soothed. A Biblical Jesus breaks you out of that cuddly religious experience and leaves you feeling as if your soul has been stirred up and shaken awake. We want our Jesus to be nothing more than safe and affirming. Not adventurous and convicting. But a radical Jesus calls us to a more righteous way of living. Infused throughout the entire New Testament is Jesus calling us to radically change to be more like Him and many Christians don’t like the cost of that call. Thanks Jesus, but I’m good the way I am.. I don’t need transformation.. Let me just go to church, sing a few songs and go home. I’m okay singing, “Change my heart, O God” in church, but on the way home I’ll be singing Sammy Davis Jr’s, “I gotta be me!”

Most believers today are not committed Christians, they’re crusin’ Christians. They have just the right amount of God. When we’re crusin’ Christians, we have enough God to proudly proclaim that we’re a believer, but not enough God that we are compelled to act like one. And so we skate along on the surface of our faith until that day when we have to face the problem of the Holy Spirit. Because it’s the unrelenting, in-your-face Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin and calls us out to live like a genuine follower of Jesus.  

God loves us too much for us to simply disappear into the bowels of Hell when we die. That’s why He sent His Son Jesus. So that all who believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. And God loves us so much that He loves us exactly the way we are. But He also loves us too much to let us stay that way. God does have a plan for your life but that plan always involves transformative change!

We are saved through Christ alone, by faith alone. And the evidence of our salvation is our good works and changed life. And it’s through God’s grace that we do have a changed life. And here is how He accomplishes that. When we are born again, we are made brand new again. “..anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God who brought us back to Himself through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT This very essence of our faith is short, sweet and powerful. Your old life is gone and your radically changed new life has begun!

But we must want that. Because God will let us lounge in the old ways if that’s what we choose to do. Some people prefer to live the old way because they fear the new – the unknown. Some of us are just so comfortable with the old, that no matter how dysfunctional it is, we prefer that things stay exactly the same. God chose you to be “conformed to the image of His Son” Romans 8:29 and some of us have replied “No thanks God..I just gotta be me..” But, some of us, jump at the thought of a fresh start and grab onto the new. We long for a fresh start on life. A second chance at becoming the person we’d always hoped to be. And, that’s what a radical Jesus offers us.

To be “in Christ” means to let the Spirit of Christ so infiltrate your being that your very essence is affected. The word “Intrinsic” means something innate, inherent, inseparable from the thing itself. A baby in the womb is intrinsic to his or her mother. When you are “in Christ,” Jesus is intrinsic to you. Every cell in your body becomes permeable to Christ's spirit. Like a thirsty sponge we soak up Christ and He transforms us from the inside out.

When you are in Christ, you’re a brand-new creation! When we say “Yes” to Christ, we can say “No” to worldly things. We can say “No” to the fears about our future. We can say “No” to sin. We can say “No” to ungodly living. When we are “in Christ,” the “old things” in our lives do not miraculously disappear as if they never existed. But as we grow in Christ-likeness, we see our situations and circumstances through the eyes of Jesus. We still see the same things, the same people. But “in Christ,” the people and circumstances in our life have become new.  Not because they have changed, but because we have changed.
Last week we asked “Who’s Your God?” and this week “Who’s Your Jesus?” Is He the Jacuzzi Jesus immersing and enveloping you in a nice, warm spiritual bubble bath? Or is your Jesus the radical Son of God, calling you to a new level of righteousness on your journey to be conformed into the image of Him? Just take some time today and ponder that question: Who’s your Jesus?

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NOTE ON THE DOXOLOGY: No church would ever sing my version of the “Doxology” so I obviously had to fake the photo above. The real Doxology has been sung in churches from the time of the Reformation and is still the most commonly sung hymn in the Protestant church today. In the Roman Catholic Church, the only permitted music had been chanted Psalms, but the Reformation began a new tradition of singing those Psalms to “hymn tunes” that were composed in the 1500s. In 1551, a tune called the “Old Hundred” was written by a French composer and has become the best known Christian hymn melody for these past many centuries. In 1674, a bishop in the Church of England wrote the words that, when combined with the “Old Hundred” tune, became what we know as the Doxology. As was the tradition in the early Anglican church, at every Eucharist service in our church, we raise our voices in unison and sing the Doxology “a cappella” (without instrumental accompaniment) as we praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

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