Frankly, and to the point, Jesus abides with your every dream about life and happiness, hope and fulfillment, purpose and direction, emotional healing and wholeness, as well as thriving and flourishing in your daily life. What is more:
To live the Christian life, to totally and completely center your entire life around the person and work of Jesus Christ, is an act of rebellion against all that is unjust and broken in this world.
Jonathan Edwards, one of the greatest intellects in American history, was a pastor, theologian, and scholar. He insisted that the hope of humanity lies with turning to and dwelling with Jesus:
“Conversion to Jesus Christ is a great and glorious work of God’s power, at once changing the heart, and infusing life into the dead soul…. Jesus Christ is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper focus; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied.”
St. Augustine may have lived centuries ago, but he knew life without Jesus. Life with Jesus was so compelling for Augustine that his thoughts, vigorous intellect, and spiritual devotion left an enormous footprint that can be found even today, not only in the church, but in the academy. Reflecting on his life, and all he had experienced and accomplished, Augustine uttered this simple prayer to God:
“You have made us for yourself, Lord Jesus, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
Arguably, Christianity’s greatest convert was the Apostle Paul. Once a vehement opponent to Jesus and faith in him, Paul had a dramatic encounter that left him completely undone. He gave his life to Christ and became Christianity’s most influential missionary. Here is just a smattering of his thoughts on Jesus:
“Christ was truly God… but he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).
“His glorious power will make you patient and strong enough to endure anything, and you will be truly happy… For God has rescued us from the dark power of Satan and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, who forgives our sins and sets us free” (Colossians 1:11, 13).
“Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ” (Philippians 3:8-9).
“Christ has introduced us to God’s undeserved kindness… Christ died for us at a time when we were helpless and sinful” (Romans 5:2, 6).
Jesus is the One who fills our hearts with love, delivers our wayward souls from emptiness, and sets our feet on the solid rock of faith and hope in God. All the love of God is found in Jesus. And the amazing thing is that Jesus so closely identifies with us, that we enjoy God’s peace and healing in our lives. Not just personal transformation, but systemic change in institutions and corporations, families and neighborhoods, is possible in Christ.
To live for Jesus is an act of subversion against all that is evil, dark, and unjust. Imagine a world where love rules, not hate; where creativity and faith abound, and are not squelched; and, hope, not hurt, fuels progress into a bright future. It is a world where Jesus lives.
There are 1,440 minutes in a day. The average post in this blog can be read in just 3 minutes or less. With just a click of a computer mouse, or the touch of a smartphone, you can push against the darkness and find some encouragement and help, not so much from me, as from thinking about Jesus. Also, if you want to join a conversation on something important and relevant to you, it’s easy.
Thanks for being a faithful reader, but, more importantly, I’m grateful for how you desire to know Jesus better, live the Christian life with all your heart, and seek to be wise in all your daily activities at home, work, and your neighborhood. To that end, I look forward to this New Year and all that God in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit will do in us to his glory. Amen.