What Are We About?

I wish that I could present to you a wonderful gift.

If I could, I would give you a season of good cheer. I would bestow upon you a year of positive and hopeful thinking. I would give you certainty that life is good, no matter what the circumstances are. My wish-gift for you is that you find your mind and spirit and heart full of joy and peace and great expectations — for the season, for the year, and for life.

There is a lot wrong with the world. There is a lot to complain about in each of our lives, families, cities, and nations. The world is in great peril, perhaps the worst in my lifetime. BUT! But . . . we are not here by accident. We did not rise from the bubbling ooze by random chance. We are not on our own to exist for a few years and fade away without any more purpose than a dried leaf drifting across the road. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are not only the pinnacle of creation, we are the purpose of creation. That means there is great purpose and significance and value in each of our lives.

When you visualize Jesus walking around Palestine with his closest friends, what do you think of? Do you visualize a little band of brothers walking from town to town preaching about sin and evil and the need to get right before judgment day comes? Do you see young men with stern faces and the fate of the world on their shoulders seeking to right all the wrongs of the ages? If you do, you may need to reread the story. Jesus and his friends mostly got into trouble for being too lighthearted and for breaking rules. This little band of brothers went from town to town healing the sick and preaching freedom to the poor and the oppressed. Jesus preached about the love of God and the forgiveness of sin. Jesus and His friends communicated a message of hope and the goodness of God to cover their sin and give them the ability to live holy and meaningful lives in relationship with Him. The core of Jesus' teaching was that we should love God and love people . . . true love, honest love, expensive love.

In order to receive this gift of joy and peace of mind, we need to learn to see and think and act like Jesus. One of the great tragedies of our day is that those of us who are supposed to be like Jesus are too much like the Pharisees who opposed Him at every turn. The Pharisees were self-righteous. They were judgmental. They focused on rules rather than love. They were known for what they were against, rather than for what they were for. They were not known for their love and acceptance of others and their great, passionate love for God the Father.

So here is a question. If you draw a line or a continuum with Jesus on one side and Pharisees on the other, where do you sit on the continuum? Are you more like Jesus or more like the Pharisees? Then the next question is this, which way are you moving? Are you becoming more like Jesus, or more like those who opposed Him?

Jesus is the most remarkable person in all of history. His call to us is, "Come and follow me". Let's follow him. Let's keep moving toward Jesus. He is life and love and purpose and joy. He is grace and truth. Let's encourage one another to be more like Him.