Friends who are staying with me like to watch “The Voice,” a competition that looks for people who are talented, who have the potential to make it as an entertainer. Drawn in, I watch with interest as men and women take the stage to sing. The ones that do best are not just able to hit the high notes or hold the pitch. There is an added component to their performance in which they seem to internalize the song and draw the audience into it. The best among them can take the music of another and make you feel the story. And, then the judges deconstruct the performance and the magic evaporates as we come back to reality. It’s all a show!
Are you doing a ‘Jesus Show,’ using the words and emotions of another, without taking your own spiritual journey?
Is your faith walk your own or a borrowed one?
Do you demand that your pastor, your favorite Christian worship leader, the author that you read bring a great performance so you can feel something?
Christianity must not become the “Jesus Show,” a weekly program where we tune in and critique the performers. The true richness of knowing Christ is available to those who trust Him, who wrestle with the implications of His truth, who engage themselves to love and serve. Jesus said, “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock.” (Matthew 7:24, The Message)
Let me illustrate what I am trying to say from my own life experience. I have heard love songs that actually can make me cry. Momentarily I can ‘feel’ the song, carried by the intensity of the performer. Or, I may watch a movie and get caught up in the drama of the plot, momentarily almost feeling like I know the character on the screen. Then, it’s over. Nothing in me has actually changed. I was just entertained. Loving my wife through 4 decades was a real adventure. There were gritty moments of conflicts and glorious moments when we became one of heart! In her final journey here, I was able to love her in ways that are unforgettable, holding her near, sharing her tears and fears, until the moment her last breath brushed my cheek lightly and she went on home to Heaven. The lived-out love story is incomparably better than any performance that moves me.
Live your faith. We are invited to ‘keep step with the Spirit.’ (Galatians 5:25) Love deeply. Serve wholeheartedly. Worship intensely. Take God seriously. Leaving the Jesus Show behind for a real life experience of faith complicates things for us. Instead of having an inspired moment here and there, we have to wrestle with temptation, give ourselves away in true service, and love God and others with the messiness that comes with it. But, our lives take on a depth that cannot be found in any other way.
Here is a word from the Word. Lord, help us to hear Your invitation to a real, living experience. “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? … When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. If you ‘go into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face.” (Matthew 6:5,16-17, The Message)
All I once held dear, built my life upon,
All this world reveres and wars to own.
All I once thought gain, I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now compared to this;
Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You,
There is no greater thing!
You’re my all, You’re the best,
You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love You Lord, love You Lord.
Now my heart’s desire is to know You more,
To be found in You and known as Yours;
To possess by faith what I could not earn,
All surpassing gift of righteousness.
Oh to know the pow’r of Your risen life
And to know You in Your sufferings;
To become like You in Your death, my Lord
So with You to live and never die.
Graham Kendrick © 1993 Make Way Music (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.)
CCLI License # 810055