Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: STAND UP FOR JESUS (don't write about the song) (04/09/15)
TITLE: Does Jesus Want Us To Stand Up For Him?
By Barbara Nicholson
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‘Stand up for Jesus,’ the actual phrase, isn’t in the Bible.
Interesting. We, as believers in/or followers of Jesus Christ, often feel the necessity to stand up for Jesus.
Jesus didn’t stand up for himself nor did he even allow others to. Two times Peter tried to stand up for Jesus. Peter tried to correct Jesus about his death. Jesus admonished him (Matthew 16:23 NIV). Peter jumped to defend Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, yielding his sword. Jesus told him to put his sword away (John18:10 NIV).
Did Jesus teach this ‘Standing Up’ for Him?
Jesus taught on many subjects. Love, for instance. Love the Lord. Love one another. Love your neighbor. Love your enemies. He didn’t teach: Stand Up for Jesus.
Jesus actually gave at least 50 different instructions to us in the Gospels. Google the 50 Commands of Jesus. Maybe you will be as surprised as I was. Here are a few:
Repent. Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Don’t be afraid. Follow Me. Rejoice. Let your light shine. Honor God’s Law. Reconcile. Keep your word. Go the second mile. Judge not. Ask, seek, knock. Do to others what you would have them do to you. Choose the narrow way. Listen to God’s voice. Forgive offenders. Pray in faith. Receive God’s power. Feed my sheep. Bring in the poor. Love, love and love.
The 50 are all commands to ME, about how to live MY life. They are not for me to impose on anyone else. When they do mention others, His commands always would make another’s life better.
This ‘Standing Up’ for Jesus seems to be such a human thing, a tradition of men. In doing so how many people have we offended? How many have been scarred by a Christian organization, local church, congregation or well meaning Christian? Why is it Christians are known by what we are against? How many people have sought Jesus only to find a human ‘Standing Up’ for Jesus, and totally against their homosexual, promiscuous, addicted, religious, homeless, poor, wealthy, educated, uneducated, drinking, non-churchgoing or pro-choice…life? You get the idea.
What about our imperfect lives that hide behind Christianity? We can go to a church, learn Christian-ese, say the right words, dress like the hip young pastor, sing the right songs, listen to the right music, become a card carrying member, wear the T-shirt, get the bumper sticker or even a tattoo - but without Jesus we have nothing. I mean the experience of, the knowledge of, the friendship with, the love of - Jesus Christ.
Within the body of believers, how many times do doctrine and theology of Jesus trump the love of Jesus? We fight over who has the best, right, undeceived understanding of the scriptures. Of Jesus. Are the Baptists right? Or is it the Catholics? Maybe the Evangelicals? What about the Methodists? Charismatics? The home churched? Yet this is not what our Lord taught (refer to the 50).
Don’t get me wrong, this ‘Standing Up’ for Jesus is something I have been guilty of. I find myself defending the goodness of God on a regular basis. Usually in the face of a, “How could God let that happen?” Or, “Why did God do that horrible thing?” In the midst of such a time I had a funny picture appear in my mind. I was watching myself doing battle, fists up, boxing gloves on, ‘Standing Up’ for Jesus. As my view panned out (and way up) I saw myself at the feet of a very huge Jesus. Standing in front of Him, I was not quite as big as an ant. Defending Him. And He was smiling! Not because He needed my defense, but because He loves me (He loves you too). My heart was for Him. The picture wasn't about me defending Jesus. It was about how hilarious the thought was, given the bigness of God!
What if I am supposed to ‘Stand’ from Jesus? Stand from His strength, that is. What if I repented (thought differently) about Jesus. What if I took His 50 commands seriously and applied them to my life? What if I put each and every one of my actions, words and thoughts through the sieve of “love the Lord, love my neighbor, love my enemies, love one another?” I think my ‘Standing Up’ for Jesus might look a little different.
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