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Are we following the real Jesus or the 'other' Jesus?
Tuesday, November 5, 2019, 1:40 (IST)
When I first read of the concept of the 'other jesus' on a Facebook post, my head started spinning. I instantly thought 'Oh no. Here comes another false prophet epidemic...'
Let me explain. The 'other jesus' is an extension of 'the self' to make the Bible and Jesus suit one's own purposes, rather than surrendering to Jesus and the Bible, including its difficulties. Following the 'other jesus' means picking and choosing the bits of Jesus that you like and ignoring the parts that you don't, whilst making a god in your own image.
The danger zone with this concept is the belief that you can be a Christian while going back and doing your own thing.
For example, you are a Christian, so you just know you are automatically saved. Yes, you are saved, however, a relationship takes work, and our relationship with Jesus is no different.
A Christian cannot choose what Jesus they want to believe in when it suits them best. There is one Jesus, and you either believe in Him or you don't.
It is a deceptive way of thinking when a Christian decides to follow Jesus, or even to partner Jesus with their sin by saying they're a Christian-'something', but then allow themselves to, for example, speak from the gutter or to follow in bad and deliberately sinful actions.
Jesus declared, "Go now and leave your life of sin" (John 8:11)
God gave us the freedom to choose what we do. Ultimately, God knows every single detail of everyone's lives, even before they are born. Although this is a significant factor, He has given us the choice to make our own decisions based on our own human responses. This is also why we have been given the Bible, to guide us and to refer to on how to live our lives for God.
The Bible clearly states exactly how a Christian, or a follower of Christ, should live and act. We all know when we are being led astray from the truth or from godly things. This is the Holy Spirit convicting us, otherwise known as a 'gut feeling' or 'conscience'. The real trouble starts when we think it is okay to do it anyway because we are 'already saved'.
When in conversation with a friend about this topic recently, they asked, 'But we are all human, sometimes we just make mistakes and don't really think about it. What about that sort of circumstance?'
Yes, we are human, mere mortals, and we falter at times, but if the Bible explicitly states exactly how we should live or how we should act "according to His will..." (Philippians chapter two verse 13) then we really have no excuses. I refuse to believe that, as 'humans', we could falter so much and not hold ourselves accountable in future.
It is just like swearing. I know a lot of Christian people who swear like it is a part of the English dictionary. It may be deemed as 'acceptable' in society, but children of God shouldn't lower themselves, including their tongue, to those of the world.
I heard a girl once say, "I swear because it makes me feel powerful as a woman." I'm sorry, but if vulgar speech is what you need in order to empower yourself, then you are more powerless than what you realise.
Christians must be better than this! God tells us His exact thoughts on swearing and exposing vulgar speech, right here in the Bible, Colossians chapter three verse eight: "But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips."
Ephesians chapter four verse 29 says: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Matthew chapter 15 verses 10-11 reads: "Jesus called the crowd to him and said, 'Listen and understand. What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.'"
Follow the Word, not the world
God's people follow His Word, not the world. They do not make idols of themselves or become prideful because of what they do or think of themselves.
You cannot pick and choose between which Jesus you will follow and serve when it suits you. You either believe the Word of God and all it says, and you show that belief through the way you live your life—or you do not.
A friend brought up the perfect consequence for following the 'other jesus': "The problem that follows is that there is nothing which then separates us from everyone else in the world. How can we be different to the world if we are acting exactly like them?"
The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) literally tells us what we were placed on this earth for: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
The right spirit
Most of the time, followers of the 'other jesus' don't even notice the difference between following the real Jesus or the other one.
Everything we do and say is an act of worship, but whether we decide to worship ourselves or God, that is the real question.
Whether we are a celebrity, insta-influencer, a pastor, or even just an every-day person living their life, we must be sure that we are not acting for our own glory. There are eternal consequences for our earthly choices, and whether you find the real Jesus or the 'other jesus', this is what's at stake:
Matthew chapter seven verses 21-23 says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"
We all have faults; we all have flaws. There is no judgement here, instead, I'm suggesting that, whatever we aim for, we will achieve—so set the benchmark high. Don't be a Christian of the world, but be above that, and follow the only real Jesus. No matter what the world adds glitter to, stay firm in Jesus Christ and allow His glory to shine out of you because you know you are doing all you can to bring Glory to God, not yourself.
Proverbs chapter three, verses seven to eight say, "Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones."
Courtesy of Press Service International