It seems like there are three types of Christians:
One group follows Jesus because it makes them feel they are right. They like the fact that Jesus was sinless, so they try to be as well. They end up hating people not like them who do drugs, swear, smoke, and have pre-marital sex. They always use their faith as a reason to correct people and make themselves feel better about their own piety. They’ll definitely lift their hands up high in the air at a Sunday church service, and tithe, and read their Bible all the time, and go to any church function they can to be seen by all the other church-goers as a righteous person. I guess it’s people like that that make so many in my generation afraid to read the Bible and get serious about following Jesus, because they think that reading the Bible too much will make them a self-righteous person who could care less about the outcasts, the poor and the broken. Many in my generation think that if they read the Bible on a regular basis, they’ll become holy-rollers with no positive effect on society at all. They’ll become separatists that raise their kids in Christian Schools, surround themselves with only Christian friends, and further a country-club inclusive mentality that is frequent amongst many American Evangelicals.
One group follows Jesus because it makes them feel cool. This is like many in my generation. They like the fact that Jesus was a radical revolutionary, so they try to be as well. They end up hating people not like them who enjoy mainstream pop music, wear sweaters, talk “Christian-ese”, and practice strong religion. They always listen to indie rock, buy into all the latest feminist and existentialist philosophies, and dress different than anyone else. They sport tattoos, and never wear preppy clothes. They’ll definitely appear somber and cynical at a Sunday church service. They’ll be good at loving the poor and outcasts, because they themselves feel like outcasts too. They love it when people outside of the Christian community give them accolades for being so cool and down to earth, and rarely ever talk about their faith for fear it might offend someone. I guess it’s no wonder why people in my generation aren’t challenged to take Jesus’ words and the scriptures as a whole seriously. I mean, why bother when we can just follow Jesus because he’s merely a hip revolutionary? That way, we can love Jesus and all the political statements he made, without ever having to read the Bible closely, or hate our own sins and shortcomings. This way, we can just look like everyone else in our lenient, permissible culture, and Jesus will appear accessible to everyone.
But there’s one last group of people that follow Jesus. They follow Him because they want to be crucified with Him. They see that Jesus was both radical in His mercy and love, and completely perfect in the way He lived His life. They’re blown away by this tension that Jesus lived in, and feel completely incapable of matching up to it. They’re constantly on their knees asking Jesus’ character to take over theirs. They believe that Jesus came to save anyone who would accept Him, and know that speaking out for Him will get them flack, but they don’t care, and they do it with love because He is perfectly loving, but they also speak the truth because He is perfectly truthful. Some are barely noticed at Sunday Church services, because they’re not looking for accolades. But some of them are leaders in the church as well. They use their gifts to point to Jesus. In turn, many people are drawn to Jesus because of them. They have the kind of presence that points people to God and not themselves. They love it when people tell them that God used them to strengthen their faith, and that’s the greatest compliment they can get. It’s people like this that actually compel other people to follow Jesus, and they pray for people to know what it means to follow Jesus, as much as they give everything to follow Jesus themselves. I’ve been privileged to know and befriend people like this. They have changed my life and shown me the love of the Savior. I am indebted to them.
I wish I could say that I’m in the third group, but I’m likely usually veering between being in the first group and the second group. I do wish to strive to be in that crucified group of Christ followers. I want to be a person that gives it all for Jesus to die with Him and truly live.