October 11, 2018 | Articles by Megan Woodham, Children's Ministry Director
The other day I read a blog post by someone and a line in it said, “I’m a Christian but...” A few sentences later, she wrote “I love Jesus, but...” And while I think I understood what she was TRYING to say, I have to ponder that statement.
I’m a Christian, but... I love Jesus, but...
Maybe you’ve heard someone say this. Maybe you’ve seen it on a t-shirt or on a meme. Seems to be a little bit of a trend, even.
But honestly, I just can’t make my heart settle right on the idea of this. Because, the grammar nerd in me knows that when you use the conjunction “but” the following phrase normally debunks the first part of the sentence. In fact, “but” (as defined by Google) is used to introduce something contrasting to what has already been mentioned. Contrasting.
But. Other than. Except.
The “but” indicates that there’s something about to be said that doesn’t exactly fall in line with the words “I love Jesus.”
Maybe its some habit we’ve recognized in our own life. Maybe its sin and we know it but we like it so we have just decided if we claim it and proclaim it, then it somehow becomes less of a big deal. Or maybe its an opinion we hold or stand we’ve made and it falls out of line with scripture. But somehow we still think its right. So we just adopt it in to our own personal pool of “truth” for me and tag it on to our “I am” statements.
Its clear in our society today that there is a lack of absolute truth. A foundation established without the truth of God’s word is rocky at best and bound to crumble underneath the weight of a challenge or opposition. But friends, if we’re Christians...then we KNOW the truth. We have both the foundation built on the solid rock of the word of God and a relationship with Truth Himself - Jesus Christ.
And those that are in relationship with Jesus have both been redeemed at the moment of salvation and are being redeemed daily through the process of sanctification. Sanctification means He’s making us more like himself. Our thoughts. Our actions. Our words. Our beliefs. He’s aligning them with His.
Romans 6:1 and 22 says, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue to sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? ( v. 1)... But now that you have been set from from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (v. 22).
Friends, don’t settle for the lie that you are destined to live with one foot in sin and the other in the church pew. You don’t have to walk around with the “I’m a Christian, but” mentality. The Lord has called you to so much more than that. God didn’t lavish His immeasurable grace on us so we could pick and choose parts of our lives to apply it to. He poured it out on us to wash us clean. To blot out the sin that has consumed our hearts and placed a death sentence on our heads. Jesus came for all of it and He died for ALL. OF. IT.
Even the “but”s.
Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
If we’re going to follow Jesus, we have to start denying our own sin. Totally. Completely. Will we still mess up? Absolutely. Daily. Even moment to moment. But praise God for his steadfast love and mercy towards us! He lavishes us with His grace and forgiveness and redeems our lives daily (even moment to moment).
Can I just make a bold statement here? God didn’t look at the sin and total depravity of His people and say, “I love you, but...” Instead, He said, “I love you, and....”
“I love you, and as a result...”
“I love you, so...”
“I love you, so I’m going to send you a Rescuer. A Redeemer. A Savior.”
Do we really want our response back to him to be, “I love you too, but...”. Man. I sure don’t.
Our “but” negates the finished work of the cross. Who the Son has set free is free indeed! No more hanging on to what Christ has cut loose. No more excusing that which Christ was crucified for. No more trading the truth about God for a lie (Romans 1:25).
No more counterfeit, complacent, comfortable Christianity.
And if we claim and proclaim anything, let it only be the saving, redeeming power of Jesus Christ in our lives.
I love Jesus, and...He is redeeming me daily.
I love Jesus, so...I will love others.
I love Jesus, and as a result, I will live for Him.
I love Jesus. PERIOD.
No “but”s about it.