“The world can’t hate you, but it does hate Me because I accuse it of doing evil.” (John 7:7 NLT)
When Jesus walked this earth in human form, people were drawn to Him because of what He could do for them. They came with an agenda, usually, to be healed or ask Him to heal a loved one or friend. And who could fault them? Jesus was kind to those who sought Him and exhausted Himself in helping them. Yet, on the other hand, there were those who constantly sought Him, not for what they wanted Him to do for them, but for what they wanted to do to Him – to stop His ministry! To kill Him!
Things have changed, at least in America. People still seek Him for what He can do for them, but there are many who don’t seek Him, not because they don’t believe in Him, but because they don’t have a clue as to who He is. Yes, there are still those who would like to quiet the voice of anyone who seeks to spread His fame, but now there seems to be this vast middle ground where people think favorably about Him, they “like” Him, but they’re not willing to devote themselves to Him.
Kevin DeYoung wrote: “Just about everybody in America likes Jesus, but few like him for who he truly is.” When I was in college, I would often go to a neighboring university campus to talk to anyone who would listen, about Jesus. I had a very simple strategy. I would ask someone: “Would you like to talk about Jesus?” This was in the 60’s, in the Viet Nam War era, but I rarely had anyone say “no.”
Not everyone agreed with me or even liked what I said, but no one was ever rude or got angry. Today, people, though open to talk about Jesus, have very strong positions that once they see that Jesus may “rock” their proverbial “boat,” take quick offense when they realize following Jesus demands life-change and a new set of principles upon which to base their life.
Many today, though they profess “faith in Jesus,” have such a shallow faith because they rarely, if ever, read the Bible for themselves. They listen to sermons and podcasts and the like, listening to others give their opinion about what the Bible teaches. Or worse, the ones to whom they listen don’t read the Bible either, but spout these “self-help principles” that are “guaranteed to change your life.”
It behooves us as Jesus followers to read and study the Bible every day, not simply as the fulfillment of a spiritual obligation, but to allow the Holy Spirit to cement our foundation in Biblical truth. A lot of folks who “like” Jesus are going to miss heaven, not because they’re not nice people, but because Jesus doesn’t call us to just be nice, He calls us to be “fishers of men.”
Our calling as His followers isn’t simply to cloister ourselves away from the world, but to share with everyone we can that life has an expiration date, and to not know Jesus personally and intimately by that date will result in an eternity of regret.
Liking Jesus and being His fully committed followers are two very different things. We can think we’re being Jesus’ “bud.” We can “high five” the church and even participate in church sponsored activities, but if Jesus isn’t the center and focus of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, we’re allowing Satan to lull us into an eternal nightmare.
We’re never more than a breath from eternity, so to be so focused on making the most of this world, while ignoring Jesus is a fatal mistake. Please, I implore you, if you’re a Jesus follower, center your life on making the most of Him by sharing Him with anyone who will listen. And if you’re not a Jesus follower, make the decision today to become one. This life is all we have to prepare for eternity.
Liking Jesus isn’t enough. Our devotion to Him must be our highest priority.