Have I defined Jesus, or has He defined me?

I was asked a very intriguing question. Who is Jesus to me? The class I’m taking is designed to break down our human, finite viewpoints so that we can see who the infinite Jesus is. Instead of putting human parameters on Jesus, we should let him direct our eyes and our minds. The class ended with the final question for thought: Have I defined Jesus, or have I let Jesus define me?

Who is Jesus to me? There have been times when I thought He was just up there somewhere watching me on some giant TV screen not having any input in my life. It was like He wasn’t orchestrating anything. It turns out it’s possible that was true. It’s not because He didn’t want to orchestrate my life. It’s not because He doesn’t want to be in my life guiding me and loving me. It’s because I didn’t let Him have a role. I didn’t ask Him to be a part of my every day life. I only sought Him and let Him in when things were bad. When things were too far gone to really be made right. I defined Jesus in my life as a get out of jail free card. And it doesn’t work that way. HE doesn’t work that way.

One of the things that I found since being asked the question about defining Jesus is that I’ve defined Him as a vapor, a ghost, a figment of imagination. It’s hard enough to have healthy relationships with people you can see, even people you see and talk to every day. How can you have a healthy relationship with someone you NEVER see in the physical sense, with someone you think of as never being in the same room with you? That question usually has answers like, “You gotta have faith,” “Jesus is omnipresent so He’s everywhere,” and “Just call on the name of Jesus and He will be there.” No offense to the numerous spiritual leaders I’ve had in my life and I certainly don’t mean any disrespect to the Lord but I don’t know how to operate in this relationship and the Sunday school phrases that I’ve heard all my life don’t give me the practical advice I’m looking for.

So, without even realizing it, I’ve defined Jesus as unreal. I know differently. I’ve been taught differently. I believe Jesus died for my sins. I believe all the things that lead me to be a Christian in the first place. But I struggle with doubt.

An author named Jonathan Merritt (@jonathanmerritt) wrote an article in Relevant Magazine highlighting things that defined the last 10 years in Christianity. He said that Apologetics and scientific cases for faith, “created a church environment that, according to Barna Research, often condemns those who struggle with significant intellectual doubts about faith.” But he concludes his piece with the thought that, “A new stable of voice, from Donald Miller to Lauren Winner, rose in the last decade–voices that openly wrestled with hardcore doubts and even used their struggles as a springboard to authentic faith. Their honesty gave a generation the freedom to ask difficult questions.”*

My doubt is real, but I don’t think it’s in Jesus. My doubt is in the human experience with Jesus, specifically my human experience with Him. Human parameters are all I know. My doubt isn’t in Jesus being bigger and better than my viewpoint will allow Him to be. My doubt is that my parameters could be widened and stretched and changed enough to allow Him to be seen in all His magnitude and wonder. We shall see.

*Jonathan Merritt, “10 Things That Defined the Last Decade,” http://www.relevantmagazine.comhttp://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/10-things-defined-last-decade

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