WEEK 4: Follow the Leader
“For [you seem willing to allow it] if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted. You tolerate all this beautifully [welcoming the deception].” (2 Corinthians 11:4, Amplified)
A month ago, one of our pastors asked us if we knew that you can get personalised shampoo … yup, you read correctly: your own mix of ingredients to get your own tailor-made special shampoo. He said that because we live in an era when we can personalise almost everything, we also run the risk of ‘personalising’ Jesus Christ. We run the risk of imagining a Jesus who fits our opinions and views, who condones our way of handling our personal and business affairs and finances, and who endorses a “#blessed” lifestyle of showcasing our blessings (i.e. super-clever kids, new cars and houses, accomplishments, etc.) on social media. We run the risk of serving a figment of our imagination who is not the Jesus Christ of the Bible.
One day, between the third and the fourth floors of an apartment building in the Middle East, I was struggling to grasp the difference between the lifestyle of Christians in the Middle East and that of Christians in Western countries. I was confronted there by people who gave everything for the sake of others, who trusted the Lord wholeheartedly and who were willing to die so that others may see eternity with Christ. They lived humble, sacrificial lives and it made such a big impression on me to see non-believers starting to ask questions about Christ because they had seen a different way of living in these fellow brothers and sisters. One lady even said to a friend of ours: “I can’t believe it! When you Christians differ in opinion, you do it in love!”
Let’s not be modern-day Jeroboams (see 1 Kings 12:28-33) who devise a religion according to our own taste, but rather put our own faith under the magnifying glass to see whether the Jesus who we follow is actually the Jesus Christ of the Bible.
“If your god never disagrees with you, you might just be worshipping an idealised version of yourself.” – Timothy Keller