I was listening to an old message from Francis Chan, and he said something was mind-blowing in a life-altering kind of way. While we’ve talked here before about living with Jesus (see “Are You Living For or With Jesus?”), Francis took it to an entirely new level for me. He said since Christ is both in us and with us, whatever we do, Jesus does. Pastor Chan said it more forcibly. He intimated when we choose to engage in sin, we are essentially forcing Jesus to engage in the same behavior. He doesn’t mean this in a literal sense of course because Jesus never did and never will sin.
But Jesus did experience the weight of our sin when He hung on the cross. So, every time we choose to sin we are causing Jesus to experience the horror and weight of that sin. Again, it’s not that Jesus must die again for the new sin. What He did on the cross was once and for all. Still, if we believe Jesus is always with us, does it not then follow He is with us when we sin?
This should be horrifying for us. The sin – every sin – so detestable to Christ is the same sin we drag Him through when we make the choice to choose it over Him. What we choose to look at, we are in effect “forcing” (Chan’s word) Jesus to look at as well. What we think, we cause Jesus to think. The same goes for the activities in which we choose to engage. If we’re there, Jesus is as well. If we are doing it, is it not the hands and feet of Jesus we are engaging?
While there is a bit of hyperbole involved here – I don’t believe for a second you or I could “force” Jesus to do anything, much less something against His will – I think the idea is sound. We can’t say Jesus lives within us and at the same time keep our thoughts from Him. We can’t say Christ is always beside us unless we mean He is with us at all times, both the good and the bad. In the same message, Chan said we can’t be people singing ‘Hosanna!’ with our lips who then go out and deny Christ with our lives. We can’t have it both ways. Our lives will either reflect or deny Jesus. The Lord Himself said if we deny Him with our lives, He will deny us before His Father (Matthew 10:33). This should be a massive wake up call for us all.
Since hearing this message I’ve been extremely aware and conscious of what I am having Jesus see, hear, think and do as He walks with me. It’s pointed out inconsistencies and outright sins in my life to which I had previously been blind. I must tell you, it’s been rough. It’s unsettling to someone who’s been on a discipleship journey so long to see how much in my life I still need to change and surrender to Him. At the same time, it has been a joyous affair as I understand and recognize at an even deeper level the way in which He would have me live. It’s encouraging to experience Jesus with me always.
This isn’t an easy message. You are probably going to want to ignore it or pretend you don’t get it. I think such reactions could be dangerous. We can’t deny Jesus with our lives and expect Him to welcome us into His Kingdom with open arms. We’ve got to understand who He is, begin to grasp a bit of His holiness, and be okay with living our lives wholly devoted to Him – no matter the cost or disruption to our own selfish desires. I encourage you to give this a try. Focus on what you are causing Jesus to do as you move throughout your day. Be ready for some startling revelations. Be prepared to make some uncomfortable changes. But rejoice in the fact you will be moving ever closer to our Lord.