Last night, I was meeting with our new 12th grade small group at my house, and we were discussing what it means to love Jesus. We were thinking through our faith, and how we sometimes take it for granted. It went something like this…
Why are you a Christian? If you lived in a country where the predominant religion was Islam, or Buddhism, would you be different than you are now? If your parents were the same type of people, you lived in the same type of house, and had the same type of friends, would you be any different? If not, then isn’t our faith just a social system? I mean, if you can unplug one faith system, plug in another, and things are basically the same, then they are just social systems that we are raised within. I realize you’ll want to disagree, but really, would you be different?
If not, then why? Are Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity all the same? Do they accomplish the same goals, produce similar people? As a religion, is Christianity all that different? Unfortunately, in many people’s lives, no it really isn’t.
Then we discussed Phil, one of our leaders. We talked about why we love him, why we have a relationship with him, what we appreciate about him. You can substitute any good friend in the box. It doesn’t have to be Phil. But think about why you love this person, why you are friends with them. Would you honestly say that you are better friends with Jesus, or Phil? It’s tough, because Phil, or your substitute friend, is here. They are tangible. But who is the closer friend to you? Again, no Sunday School answers allowed. Really think about it.
You see, if we aren’t developing a very real friendship with Jesus, if He isn’t the primary friend in our lives, then we are following another religion. It’s why the church isn’t having the impact we should for grace, life change, beauty, and salvation. We are religious. Just like everyone else. So, in your case, who wins? Jesus, or Phil?