Jesus dipped everything he did in love. Well, dip might not be the right term. He didn’t skim the surface. He DIPPED, as in a deep scoop.
What if we did the same?
There are people who have nothing to do with Jesus who dip deeply into love. And there are people who choose Jesus but don’t dig deeply. That’s the group I’m speaking with today. Because I’m a Jesus-follower. I pursue him with a fervor. But…I also fail sometimes. We all do. Sometimes I think it’s despite trying our best. We’re human. Other times, I think it’s because we’re indifferent. Our faith isn’t always alive and active. Sometimes it’s lukewarm, stale, and lackadaisical. And that is not okay.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard fellow Christians use a story that includes Jesus to apply to their own situation, mainly to rationalize their own behavior. Angry? Share about Jesus turning tables in the temple. Fed up? Share about Jesus walking away from a group. Tired of the people around you? Share about Jesus instructing us to impact the world.
Jesus is not a puppet we can put on our hands to speak what we want to be said. We don’t get to pick his words or actions then project them into any situation that affirms us. It is wrong. It erodes our faith…and it reflects the Christian faith as a whole poorly. A lot of damage has been done in the name of Jesus; let’s not add to it.
I know God’s bigger than it all. He knows how to position and use everything in the best way possible. He knows how to best reach people. But why do we have to work against him so much…while we claim to be working alongside him?
Can I say it again? Just stop!
Let me reiterate: we’re not perfect. We’re going to mess up. (And some of us are writers and record all of our mess-ups to be revisited time and time again. What was I thinking?) But let’s do our best to get Jesus’ love right.
What’s it look like to dig deeply and steep everything you do in his love? Well, each of us live in different situations with various challenges and opportunities. God’s love isn’t prescriptive. In order to get what we need, we need to be humble, willing to ask and receive and respond. I can tell you this: the more you steep in God’s love, the more it fills you and becomes part of your identity. You still can’t do it on your own. You still have to steep on a regular basis, but you begin to realize the limitless supply of his love. And he doesn’t mind sharing! He won’t hold back. It might not look or feel exactly as you expect, but in the end, it’s better.
When you want to turn over tables in a rage, he might say love is approaching someone with compassion and listening to their struggles. When you want to walk away, he might say love is serving unconditionally and unnoticed. When you want to travel and have a wonderful impact on the world (all in his name, of course), he might say love is staying put and doing something not at all adventurous or glorious.
Live by his words and example of love? Absolutely. Rationalize what we most want to do or what others like us say we should do by finding the example of Jesus that fits best? Absolutely not.
We can be better. We must be if we truly love him.