God or Jesus?
With Easter approaching, God – more specifically, Jesus – is on my mind. I must confess that for years I was more comfortable talking about God than using the name Jesus. God talk is more acceptable in our culture – the word Jesus makes some cringe, “Unlike” you on Facebook, or label you a religious fanatic. And if you dare mention the Holy Spirit? Most people will be convinced you are certifiably nuts.
But the reality is that while there are endless ideas of who God is, the name Jesus brings instant clarity. Jesus’ life sent a consistent message that his words affirmed: follow me, repent, obey, forgive, believe, give, serve, go, tell, sin no more. These words are challenging to hear – even harder to put into practice. In many cases we can relate to the apostle Paul, who lamented, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:18,19)
If you are like Paul and me, you have learned that Jesus’ message is simple but not easy. It’s not that I don’t understand it, I just don’t like it. Following Jesus often requires surrendering my own wants and desires and being confronted with my weaknesses and blind spots. But that is exactly where growth begins and reliance on someone/something beyond myself becomes necessary.
I can speak about this with boldness and assurance because it has happened to me. In our self-reliant, do-it-yourself world Jesus convicted me to make some difficult life changes – specifically to trust and obey Him and to be patient as my new life unfolds. The words from the song “Resurrecting” from Elevation Worship perfectly sums up my transformation process, “The Resurrected King is resurrecting me.”
This week we are remembering and celebrating a man, but not just any man – God with skin on. Jesus lived a perfect life, died a gruesome death, and was resurrected to eternal life. He also delivered a specific message to those who would receive it. It’s not confusing, it’s just difficult.
This Easter, will you allow Jesus’ life and message to challenge you – to resurrect you?
“I am the resurrection and the life.Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”