Listening to Jesus Freak. It’s bringing back the feels.
If you grow up in church, you often grow up thinking that “Jesus Freak” means missions trips and youth conferences and “Official” ministries, titles, numbers of converts and endless Sundays of never resting. A checklist of do’s and don’ts. Checklist Christianity even with the highest of intentions.
As I get older, how it plays out in real life, as an adult who’s lucky enough to live in the US, is less checklist and more day to day choice of attitude and small to large self-sacrifices. It’s loving the people around you and telling them “Hey, the creator of the universe loves you more than you can fathom”, and then treating them as if they are loved and have value in the eyes of our creator. Yes, sometimes being a “Jesus Freak” means not chewing out the person who fully deserves it, but responding in gentleness. It means taking the time you don’t have to be there for someone, regardless of if they’re a “Christian” or not. It means less Starbucks for you and more coffee for the homeless dude on the corner. It means seeing people in the context of their value to Christ, not their value to you. It means loving God, and loving your neighbor as yourself, no caveats.
It’s seeing Jesus more and more as you mature and realizing more and more how much you need Him, and just how perfect He was while He was here, and reminding yourself He’s still alive, just not here. It’s remembering that every person you encounter is created in the image of a Holy God, and Jesus is proof that God longs for each and every one of them to be reconciled to Him no matter what sins they’ve committed.
It’s realizing that Jesus was a REAL PERSON, who REALLY sees us and loves us, not some vague humorless figure from ancient tests whose name we use to prop up our political and societal agendas (thanks to Radio Free Babylon for the much needed modern context!).
It’s the pull to be more like Jesus – who loved perfectly – than to be more like our own reasoning of what a “good person” is, which for me personally calls for more gentleness and patience than I possess within myself.
If you are not an American or in a country that practices religious freedom, being a Jesus Freak, particularly in the last year or so, sometimes looks like being arrested, separated from your family, mutilated and raped, possibly blown up with your children for worshiping the Risen Savior on Easter Sunday.
Whatever being a “Jesus Freak” looks like for you today, I want to remind you, to encourage you, that He is worthy. Whatever your cost, He has paid the ultimate price, not just for you, but for the super annoying person next to you. Following Christ isn’t merely a checklist of things, but a heart and mind that are oriented around honoring God and being more like Christ.