I’m more and more convinced that Jesus
wants all of me. Growing up I was
introduced to the question that defined one’s ultimate destiny, “do you have Jesus in your heart?” This is a well-meaning question with
terrible consequences. Jesus is
interested with more than just “deep-in-my-heart –country”. Following Jesus is
a holistic adventure. I’m trying
to get Jesus in my hands and my ears and my toes and my mouth and my feet. “Do I have Jesus in my feet?”
These days when you actually follow some
of what Jesus said you are called an activist. Seriously. A few months ago I shared with someone how I’m struggling
and crawling my way into a movement of following Jesus. The person looked at me and said, “It
is so good to have activists around”.
This statement disturbed me deeply. It presumes that there are followers of Jesus who are active
and some who are not active. In
South Africa the activists are called, “big Christians” in other parts of the
world adjectives like “radical” or “committed” or “relevant” is added. It is as if the word Christian is
drowning and we have to throw it a life vest.
A while ago I was invited to speak on the theme of “relevant
Christians” and I asked my agnostic friend how he would approach the
subject. His answer was, “isn’t
there supposed to be just ‘Christian’ without some qualifier?”
Kierkegaard once commented that,
its first blow when the emperor became a Christian. The second, and far
more dangerous blow, came when the “extraordinary Christian” emerged. The error
lay not in entering the monastery but in the title of extraordinary Christian.
I’m on this journey of following Jesus as a
way of releasing Him into my extremities from the inside-out and from the
outside-in. The first Christians
were called the “people of the Way”.
I like that.
A few years ago I had a very interesting conversation at a coffee shop. I worked on my laptop and someone approached me and asked me if I was a Christian. The person then told me that he recently became a Christian and that it is changing him. Then he said something that was crude (so skip to the next paragraph if you're easily offended). He told me that he has a problem with sleeping with women. Every weekend he sleeps with someone else. He looked at me and genuinely asked, "I have Jesus in my heart, how do I get Him in my penis?" I confess that it was a unique moment for me!
I’ll end with another Kierkegaard quote, a
quote I think about often. In so
many ways (literally) I’m not a Christ follower …
When we see someone
holding an axe wrong and chopping in such a way that he hits everything
but the block of firewood, we do not say, “What a wrong way for the woodcutter
to go about it,” but we say, “That man is not a woodcutter.” Now for the
application. When we see thousands and thousands and millions of Christians
whose lives do not resemble in the remotest way what – and this is decisive –
the New Testament calls a Christian. Is it not
tampering with the meaning to talk as one does in no other situation and say:
“what a mediocre way, what a thoroughly inexpressive way these Christians
have.” In any other situation would one not say, “These people are not Christians.”
Now be earnest about it and say: We are not Christians. Let this become
ordinary language usage and you will have a world-transformation. “
I find Kierkegaard's quote helpful for personal reflection. In so many ways (literally) I’m not a Christ follower … but I want to be! Lord give me grace.