Three ways Jesus wants to destroy your assumptions

Nick Charalambous

Why on earth would I want to be a Christian?

Admittedly, that wasn’t a question I thought much about when I was “lost.” But it best summed up my indifference to Jesus — and probably the whole concept of religion.

Heaven and hell was all very well, but that was way too abstract for me to really care about. As I thought about the small number of Christians I knew personally and the ones I’d heard about on TV and in books, Christianity seemed like just another cause, just another culture, and just another club.

The cause seemed quaint but powerless. The culture seemed boring and stuffy. And the club seemed petty.

So if you weren’t forced into Christianity by birth, why would you choose it?

You Have No Category For Jesus

Behind all that doubt was what's called "category confusion,” and it's experienced by many who aren't following Jesus. From time to time, it’s even a problem for those who do.

Christianity isn’t a new lifestyle. Christianity is a new life.

The source of the confusion? Christianity isn’t a new lifestyle. Christianity is a new life.

Jesus wants to rearrange just about everything in your life, along with every category you have in your understanding. That’s the reason the Bible boasts that it uses "the foolish to shame the wise” and that Christianity "turns the whole world upside down” (1 Corinthians 1:27, Acts 17:6).

That’s pretty scary, overwhelming, mind-blowing stuff. It’s not the easiest place to start a conversation with someone who’s not sure Jesus rose from the grave or even walked the earth.

The fact is, you can’t focus on the benefits or appeal of the life that comes out of following Jesus before you've begun to follow Jesus Himself, the supernatural origin of that new life.

It’s human and natural to try and judge Jesus based on His followers’ actions. The problem is that Jesus' followers by definition are always right in the middle of this whole life transformation themselves.  We’re in process, imperfect and unfinished.

To bust the category confusion, your best and only hope in sharing your faith with your friends and family is not by pointing to yourself but pointing to Jesus (Ephesians 5:1).

3 Ways Jesus Is A Category Buster

1. Jesus is not a cause.

Jesus has a mission. He came from heaven to earth to set things right — to fix the whole created order cursed by sin, starting with you and me. The biggest problem with trying to align Jesus with a specific agenda for political or social change is that His appeal is too deep and all-encompassing to be contained by a cause.

Jesus promises an end to every social ill or problem facing the world, but the solution is a new heaven and new earth, where sin no longer reigns. Jesus isn't first about reforming this world. He's about transforming every human heart to make us ready for an eternal world.

2. Jesus is not a culture.

Jesus wants His followers to live distinctively, as a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). Unfortunately, holiness can't be reduced to a simple set of behaviors. Holiness is about how your actions express your heart in worship of Jesus.

Believers who share the same language, geography and history may well find commonalities in the way they approach relationships, recreation, music or art, but there are as many expressions of an authentically Christian life as there are Christians. Jesus didn't ask us to follow a Christian culture. He asked us to follow Him.

3. Jesus is not a club.

Joining God’s family through faith in Jesus isn’t like joining a typical membership organization. There aren’t dues to be paid that give members exclusive access to a set of entitlements.

We’re part of the body of Christ because of faith in Jesus, nothing more or nothing less. And that faith requires you to give up the very idea of dues, entitlements or exclusivity.

Certainly there are benefits to following Jesus  — joy, peace, hope and the abundant, eternal life. But those benefits come through the cost of sacrifice, surrender and sometimes suffering. And ultimately, Jesus calls His people from every nation, culture and creed to share every blessing they receive with as many people as possible.

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