It’s a popular headline in all the newspapers.  It usually starts popping up after the American Thanksgiving.  It hits the local cable TV news programs at least once or twice during the month of December.  Google it and you will have plenty to read while you are sipping your morning coffee.

The headline?

“Missing Baby Jesus” or, “Baby Jesus Stolen.”

Whether it is from a church or from a front yard, Baby Jesus seems to go missing every Christmas.  It has become such a problem that some are encasing their plastic nativity scenes in Plexiglas.  Others are equipping their high end infant with a GPS.  And it’s no wonder, considering that some churches pay anywhere from one thousand to 1.5 million dollars for their ceramic Baby Jesus!

Some may find these headlines shocking, and others just find them ridiculous, but they cause me to stop and ponder.

We tend to notice when Baby Jesus goes missing in the months of November and December.  We try our hardest to keep Him in Christmas!  Yet, most of us never realize that for the most part, He is also missing for the other ten months of the year.  He is missing from our churches, schools, homes and hearts.

In our defence, it is easy to get caught up in day to day life and forget about Jesus.  We do not intentionally ignore Him.  We do not plan to leave Him out, but life happens.   Work, carpool, ministry, church, missions, dentist appointments, sick parents, strained marriages… all fight for the few hours in our day.

Yet, scripture commands us, “Remember Jesus…” II Tim 2:8

When Paul wrote this advice to a young, frightened, in over-his-head pastor in Ephesus named Timothy, the old, weather beaten apostle knew from first hand experience that life would get in the way for Timothy.  He knew trials and temptations would veer him off course.  Paul knew discouragement, loneliness, political correctness, and inexperience would all “run-a-muck” in Timothy’s ministry, so he gave the best advice he knew.

“Remember Jesus…”  II Tim 2:18

Paul uses the present grammatical tense of the word “remember.”  This means it is a command to be obeyed constantly.  In other words, Paul is commanding Timothy to deliberately – as an act of his will and  a habit for life – keep the thought of Jesus and the price He paid for  him ever before his thoughts.

Throughout his years of ministry, Paul had learned that fixing ones thoughts on Jesus was not something one does automatically.  It takes effort and a conscientious choice to make Jesus a part of our everyday life.  However, Paul is telling Timothy that if he chooses to  continually fix his thoughts on Jesus – no matter what is going on around him – then the  truth of the gospel will transform, energize and encourage him!

Is this the theme of my life?  Is it the theme of yours?  

In North America, we suffer from what I like to call the “ Bobble-Head Jesus Theology,” because we have created our own version of Jesus.  Our bobble head Jesus continually nods his head in agreement with every thing we do and say.    He never disagrees with us.

We treat Him like a novelty.  We pull Him out on occasion for weddings, funerals and holidays.  We carry Him around like a talisman, hoping to get our prayers answered, but then discard Him when we do not get what we want.

Some of us pull our bobble-head Jesus out every week before we head off to church, offer him our wooden worship and then we hide him away with the closing prayer.

Our bobble-head Jesus makes us look respectable yet he never tells us what to do!  WE control HIM.  We can put Him back in the box if He starts making demands that cause us to feel…uncomfortable.  He does not have access to our finances, homes, our even our churches.

Then we wonder why our lives are so full of fear, insecurity and little power!

Jesus did for us what no one else could or will do.  He gave His life for us as a perfect sacrifice.  He deserves more than a once a year celebration.  He deserves more than being treated like a prized token or a novelty.  He deserves our very lives, lived every day, poured out for HIM. 

Jesus says, “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)

The problem? 

We do not want “full”.  What we want is security and comfort.  We want the fake Jesus we have created, not the one Scripture gives us.

We like our plastic Jesus who never takes a stand against the culture of the day.  We like the Jesus who worships the way we do, dresses the way we do and doesn’t ask us to do impossible things!

When Jesus Himself is our life, we can say with Apostle Paul that, “it is no longer I who lives, but Christ in me.”  Then, when we are intentionally “remembering,” the real Jesus will be  revealed through our lives.

People for whom the Christian life is exciting are those people who have “remembered” Jesus.  They believe with all their hearts that Jesus Christ truly died and has truly risen from the dead, and that He is alive today to transform the lives of those around them.  

The result? 

They are living lives that shout the gospel to the world!

The world longs to see the genuine Christ.  The world needs to see the genuine Christ.

Are you showing them a bobble-head Jesus or are you showing them the real thing?

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Lori Graves says:

    Hi Steph, great message and much food for thought. You are so right in that we need to live intentionally being lovers of Christ and be wary of putting Him into our idea of Who and What we think He should be.

    Thanks for this, I sent the link to my new online Bible study blog, Check it out when you get time, I’d love some feedback.

    Blessings on your week,
    Lori Graves

  2. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for your kind words, Lori. Just recently I helped a friend with research into the life of Christ. I was challenged to take a look at scripture and see who Jesus really was and is, and to make sure that I was intentional about getting to know Him and not some pop-cultural version I had created. Had I bought into the world’s version of Jesus? Had I created my own version of Jesus? Was I allowing Him to be Lord of my life or was I treating Him like a novelty? This musings was born out of that search. I believe, it is easy to create or accept a version of Jesus that isn’t true to scripture, especially if we are not searching God’s word for truth.

    The world doesn’t need an immitation Christ. They need the real thing.

  3. Breton Murphy says:

    Thanks Stephenie. Mary Jane recieves your email and often I read them too. I am often challenged by what the Lord has led you to write. I find what you wrote this week especially true of Christianity that we see too often today. So often we want a vending machine in place of Jesus. Thank you for faithfully pointing us back to the Jesus of the Bible. Keep up the good work sister!

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