Intimacy with Jesus hasn’t been a struggle for me. I like to live my life from my heart. You could say I haven’t been “shorthearted” when it comes to Jesus. But I have been shortsighted in my vision of Christ.
For the last year and a half—after 30 years of being a Christian, including some years in Christian leadership—I’ve been in a process of rediscovering who Jesus is, and I’m coming to love him more. I’m seeing how a greater vision of Christ increases my intimacy and my love for Christ.
No one would have known this from the outside—that I was shortsighted in my vision of Christ—but you can’t hide your walk withChrist from Christ. You can be doing all of these great things for the Kingdom and looking from the outside people will say, “He’s got it!” and they’ll think everything is fine.
But it’s Christ who knows your walk; it’s Christ who knows your vision. I felt challenged by him in my view of him.
I realized I had a puny view of Jesus. I was serving and loving and seeing a very puny Jesus.
Let me explain.
When I was growing up, our Sunday school teachers had a flannel board that they used to tell Bible stories. Among the various characters was a flannel board Jesus on the cross.
As I grew up, the flannel board Jesus became my predominant picture of Jesus. Yes, I believed that Jesus rose from the dead and wasn’t on the cross anymore, but Jesus on the cross was still the primary way I pictured Jesus.
Flannel board Jesus was a convenient way to think of Jesus, even into my adulthood. I could move Jesus around wherever I wanted. He was fuzzy and two-dimensional, and he was small enough to put him in my hand and cover him up when I didn’t like what he was saying. Little Jesus.
What’s more, picturing Jesus on the cross meant I treated Jesus like a memorial. My faith became mostly honoring Jesus like one honors a dead person.
But I’ve come to see that you honor a dead person; you obey a living person. You remember a dead person; you respond to a living person. You preserve the memory of a dead person; you pursue a living person.
I had a puny Jesus because I focused only on what Jesus once did, not on what he is currently doing. That makes Jesus mostly a historical person—a puny Jesus.
It’s like when people get together and talk only of the past and nothing of the present. But what about now?
So I began to seek Jesus for ALL he is—not just Jesus on the cross, but Jesus on the throne today.
Not just Jesus coming back one day, but Jesus alive today.
Not just Jesus who wants to bless me, but Jesus who deserves to be blessed by me.
I was awakened to not only Jesus the Savior but also to Jesus the King of kings.
I stopped asking, “What would Jesus do?” and began asking, “What is Jesus actually doing?” I became less interested in finding God’s plan for my life and more interested in shaping my life around God’s plans to glorify his Son.
Aren’t these just semantics? I don’t think so.
I think these are important issues because Jesus is the Supreme Ruler over all things. He is the beginning and the end. He is the head of the Church. He is supreme over every ruler, and he has been given a higher title than can be conferred in this age or the age to come. This is our King Jesus!
So my view of Jesus changed drastically! As I began to seek ALL of Christ, I began to see MORE of him. I saw that Jesus is dazzling, stunning—much more than I had previously thought or imagined.
If Jesus is the greatest hope for the Church and our world—and he is—then a diminished view of Christ is the greatest crisis in the Church and our world.
We’ve got to seek Jesus for ALL he is so we can begin to see Jesus for ALL he is!
May we consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord—ALL that he is in ALL of his fullness.