Cross Points 3/20/20

Falling in Love with Jesus

You probably remember it well.  That time when you “fell in love” with the person who became your partner in life.  That phrase can be misused.  “Falling” in love can mean it’s all emotion, all feelings, with little substance to support it.  You fell.  Too often that is the case with young lovers.  But we also use the phrase generally, and when it’s real, when there is substance along with the feelings, it’s a beautiful thing.  We know it, many have experienced it, but for such love to be sustained, it takes work.  It must go beyond feelings and involve true commitment, in good times and bad, for better or worse; and it must involve knowing and caring and supporting each other in numerous ways.

This same thing needs to be true in our relationship with Jesus the Christ.  A sudden and emotional response to a sermon that touched us, saying we want to become a Christian, but never truly counting the cost, never making a real commitment, usually ends up with flimsy faith that is hard to distinguish from the non-Christian lifestyle.  Such a person “falls away” and it usually doesn’t take long, only as long as it takes for the feelings to go away.  But when we truly love Jesus, when it involves really understanding who he is and how we need to be connected to him, when we make this commitment, it’s a beautiful thing!  It’s an eternal thing!  And it takes work.

One of the problems we may create when we try to evangelize, is this whole concept of “saving” people.  We want them to say yes to Jesus, we want them to ask Jesus into their lives, but we rely too much on thinking that once they cross that line, grace forever puts them in this “saved” position.  They make a quick, not-well- thought-out decision, and then they quickly fade.  We regret it, but we still hope they are “saved.”  Are they?  Is there such a thing as an uncommitted, non-repentant “Christian”?

The truth is, we are not called to “save” people.  We are called to make disciples.  Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:18-20).  Who will be saved?  Disciples of Christ.  God does the saving, but our job is to help them fall in love with Jesus and become connected disciples.

When a person truly falls in love with Jesus, not just the mushy emotional appeal, but really loves him and wants to be a part of his way of life (because the person comes to understand the sacrifice Jesus made on his or her behalf, understands that God so loved the world that he sent Jesus and desires that we believe in him – love, have faith in, committed to) then other things become easier.  If we love Jesus and are committed to him, we want to repent of sin, no one must convince us.  If we love Jesus and are committed to him, we want to be baptized; why wouldn’t we want to identify with his death, burial, and resurrection and be forgiven (Acts 2:38, etc.).   If we love Jesus and are committed to him, we want to become more like him in character traits (2 Peter 1:5-11, etc.).  If we love Jesus and are committed to him, we want to be part of his church, serving as we can (I Cor. 12:12-31, etc.).  We are not saved by works, but neither are we saved by an empty faith declaration that in truth refuses to follow the Lord.  So, let’s not worry about “saving” people, lets help them fall in love with Jesus!

 

Cross Point: Jesus said, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” (Rev. 2:4)