Living Jesus

Living Jesus

I’m relatively sure that you’ve said or heard someone say, “he lives and breathes football” or “she lives to play volleyball.” What is the impetus for these types of statements? We often describe and label people based on their passion. For instance, my dad has a passion for cars and competes at most of the car shows in the area where he lives. Specifically, his passion is poured into his 35th Anniversary Ford Mustang. For that matter, he proudly displays his trophies and awards won at car shows in his den. If that isn’t enough, he wears Mustang ball caps and t-shirts. He even has a Mustang faced watch. Yep, you can say, “he’s the Mustang guy.”

The fact of the matter is our passion often goes beyond just a hobby or sport. Indeed, countless have immersed themselves in their passion by making it into a career. Whether business, education, politics, sport, art or travel, it becomes a life-long concentration. A good example of this is George Allen “Pat” Summerall. He was a college and professional football player and then a television sportscaster mostly centered on football. Even though he also worked nationally televised major golf and tennis events, he will always be known for his passion for football. What about you? How do people describe or label you?

In contrast, as Christians, even though we may have a hobby, favorite sport or career we are called to “live Jesus.” In fact, over time our character is so dramatically transformed by Jesus, people will know us as followers of Jesus. You might say, the impact of personally knowing and loving Jesus is living Jesus. A good example of what living Jesus means is recorded in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae as follows:

COL 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

There are a number of New Testament passages that we can use to describe what it means to live Jesus. One that comes to mind is, LK 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” With that in mind, let’s recognize the dichotomy. When we live our passion, whether hobby, sport or career, it is who we are. People see our passion in us. But when we live Jesus, it is because of whose we are. Others see Jesus in us. And, because of whose we are, our character is transformed as quoted above (Colossians 3). In summary, the character of someone living Jesus is described as . . . compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, forgiving, loving, thankful, immersed in the word of God and motivated to bring honor and glory to Jesus.

Obviously, someone with this character knows Jesus, has been transformed by Jesus and is on mission for Jesus. In the end, it comes down to what you’re doing (mission/ministry), why you’re doing it (motive) and how you do it (attitude). All in all, you know, other’s know, that you’re living Jesus if, as the Apostle Paul writes, Col 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Granted, some are known for “living and breathing hockey.” Others are said to “live to play basketball.” After all, we routinely make these types of statements because we generally know and refer to people based on their passions. Some are car guys. Others are motorcycle guys. Still others are horse lovers. However, in contrast, as Christians, even though we may have a passion for a hobby, sport or career our greatest desire becomes in due course to “live Jesus.” In fact, living Jesus means progressing toward doing everything, absolutely everything, in Jesus name and giving thanks in every circumstance to God through Him! What about you? How do people describe or label you?

A Work in Progress,

Pastor Gene