I heard an analogy once that compared knowing Jesus to being hit by a bus. I could stop there, but I think I should explain. If someone walked up to you and told you that they were just hit by a bus, you would probably be very surprised. Maybe you wouldn’t even believe them. You would expect them to be on their way to the ER in an ambulance, or at the very least in a neck brace or on crutches. Something would be different; you would be able to tell. In the same way, knowing and loving Jesus should have some form of outward, tangible proof. Our lives should be very different than they were before we surrendered our lives to Him.
I have a friend that used to spend a lot of his time getting drunk and using drugs. Every weekend was spent at a party with the people he thought of as his friends, and any time spent doing anything else was done with the intent of finding his next high. For years, this is how he spent his life. But one day, something amazing happened. Jesus came into his life and captured his heart. He began spending his time and his money in different ways. He no longer spent his weekends in a way that he wouldn’t be able to remember. His days were no longer consumed by trying to figure out how or when he would be able to get his next pill or his next hit. He began living for God, raising his children to love the Lord, and the people in his life noticed.
I like stories like that. One of my favorite things about being a believer is to hear other people’s stories—their testimonies of how they came to know Jesus. Their stories are stories of encouragement and of grace and of hope; they are stories of people that have found redemption through Jesus. But my concern here is that, maybe after we call on Jesus to save us, we sort of, well… forget about Him. I think that sometimes our focus is still very much on the things of this world. We still worry about what the future will hold, without acknowledging that we know the One who holds it all in His hands—the same one who tells us directly that He will supply all our needs. We care so much about how we’re perceived by others, without taking into account that we should be living for an audience of one—the same one who formed us in our mother’s womb and in His perfect image.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 4:19 NIV)
Because we’re so distracted by the stresses and worries of this short life we live here on earth, it dulls the light that we are supposed to be shining on Jesus, and it often proves us to be really no different than those that don’t have a hope in Him. In his book, Crazy Love, Francis Chan says, “Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers.”
Our relationship with God is supposed to affect the way that we live; when He moves into our heart, He transforms us. He transforms our purposes and our desires, and He sets our focus on Him, not on ourselves. And to the point that we’re spending our time, our energy, and our resources on things that will further His Kingdom—not our own. That shouldn’t make sense to nonbelievers; it should make them ask questions. Why are these people so giving? What is it that makes them so compassionate and so kind? And to people that they don’t even know? How are they still holding it together after that great tragedy? How are they able to forgive after something like that?
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
(Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV)
Have you ever considered what your life might look like if you weren’t a Christian? Would you spend your time, your money, and your energy on the same things that you do now? Does your faith affect the way that you live your day-to-day life? Because if not, then what is it that you’re living for? What does your purpose look like without Jesus? Without tangible evidence of this transformation, I am fearful that maybe we’re just tricking ourselves; tricking ourselves into thinking that we are true disciples of Jesus, when, in reality, we may be one of those that the Lord speaks of in Matthew 7 when He says, “…depart from me, for I never knew you.”
Your life is so precious. There is so much power in a life that is proclaiming Jesus through every circumstance. When you go through the tough times, giving glory to God and proclaiming the peace that surpasses all understanding is going to make people ask questions. And in that moment, you get to share the hope that you have in Christ. That is God’s will for your life, and that is the purpose He’s given you: that people hear His name and that they hear the Gospel—through any circumstance. So, live your life in such a way that will make people turn their head a little bit; make them raise their eyebrow. And when they ask, tell them.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 NIV)
“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”” (Isaiah 52:7 NIV)