FIRST-PERSON: Are you OK with Jesus but not the Bible?
GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Our 11- and 6-year-old daughters, the oldest of our five children, love Play-Doh. They have all the Play-Doh colors and tools necessary to mold, shape and build anything their vivid imaginations come up with. Children are drawn to Play-Doh because they believe they can create anything they want.
Plus, if they don't like how it turns out, they can roll it in a ball and start over.
I believe this is like those who talk about Jesus but don't actually read the Bible. "I love Jesus," we've heard people say, "but I don't agree with the Bible."
Perhaps some of us don't have an issue with Jesus because it's a Play-Doh Jesus we've created by our own imagination. We'll shape and mold Him to be what we want Him to be. Then the moment He no longer appeases us, we roll Him up and start over.
But when we dive into His Word to discover who Jesus really is, we'll begin to be passionate about what He is passionate about. We'll be angered by what angers Him. We'll tolerate what He tolerates. We'll view things the way He views things. We'll live how He lives.
The Jesus of the Bible will regularly disrupt our lives and stand in opposition to our personal preferences. He challenges our indulgences and our egoistic art of "looking out for No. 1."
Left to our natural devices, we don't want to be created in God's image; we want Him to be created in our image. We want Him to be the clay in our hands. We want to shape and mold our god to care about what we care about and tolerate what we tolerate. We want to label Him as a Republican or Democrat. We want to picture Him as white, black or brown.
Let's be honest. In our self-absorbed pursuit of happiness, His holiness, His call to deny ourselves and His commandments to love others can all get pretty annoying.
If this idea of what you've created Jesus to be comes to mind when you worship, pray, sing, serve and live, then ultimately it is the worship of some created idol, a misrepresentation of the God of the Bible, one to whom you've simply attached the name "Jesus."
If you truly love the Jesus of the Bible, you will also love the Bible that tells us all about Him. We know nothing about the true person and the life of Jesus apart from the Holy Scriptures.
Jesus said we must worship in "spirit and truth" (John 4:24). An accurate view of Him is absolutely necessary to authentic worship. So, who is this Jesus of the Bible? According to Colossians chapter one, He makes the invisible God visible (v. 15). He is the firstborn over all creation (v. 15). All things were created through Him and for Him, and He is the One who sustains all things (v. 16-17). He is the head of the church, the first-ranked over death by His resurrection and pre-eminent in all things (v. 18). This means Jesus surpasses all, ranks above all and deserves first place in everything. We're not in control. He is.
At the end of the day, our opinions about Him do not change who He is: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). However, our faith in the real Jesus will absolutely change who we are.