Monday, April 23, 2007

A helpful add-on

"...a thousand who coast with the world, treating Jesus like a helpful add-on..."
~John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life, emphasis mine

Jesus as a helpful add-on. We know He's good to have around, should we find ourselves in some kind of emergency or difficulty, so we kind of drag Him along as we go about our daily lives, just in case. We know He's good for us. We certainly want His blessing, particularly in regard to our comfort and prosperity. Of course, if we're honest, we feel some degree of obligation, kind of like taking our vitamins or flossing. Not critical necessarily, but certainly beneficial.

Dr. John MacArthur puts it this way:
Such people may well be searching for what they can get from God—His love, provision, security, hope, and other blessings—but they do not want God Himself. They want a god of their own making to do their own bidding, tolerate their sin, and take them to heaven anyway. They do not want His forgiveness, His righteousness, or His lordship and consequently do not really want Him.
~New Testament Commentary

So often, we want only what we can get from God. And when we want it. A god of our own making. A helpful add-on.

And our exhortations to "invite Jesus in" seem to perpetuate this notion. Invite Him in to your life as you are living it. Go about your own business, but take Jesus with you. Live life as you wish, but carry Jesus in your back pocket to whip out as needed. Just in case.

You may think I am only mincing words here, but the thing is, Jesus is not meant to only be a part of your life, not even the most important part. He is to be our life. All of it. Not part. Not the first part. Not the most important part. Certainly not an add-on. He is our life. We are crucified to this world, and the life we live we live in Him (Gal. 2:20). Our lives are to be hidden with Christ (Col. 3:3).

Here lies the crux of what it is to follow Christ. Does it mean I ask Him to bless and approve what I am doing anyway? Does it mean I seek only what He can give me or do for me? Or does it mean I lose myself...die even...and follow Him?

Am I taking up my cross and following Him? Or am I seeking to preserve my life, and following only the blessings I want Him to give me?

Yesterday I talked to a friend of mine who is about to take a huge leap of faith. No helpful add-on for him. No sirree. He is bungee-jumping off a cliff into the holy wild of faith. It's risky. No doubt it's scary. No way is he merely taking Jesus with him. He is following his God with faith-filled abandon, going places he never dreamed of.

Are you settling only for what God can give you or do for you? Is He a helpful add-on to the life you've determined to live anyway? Is your faith only precautionary, just in case trouble comes or disaster falls?
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it."
Luke 9:23-24


  1. Amen and Amen--a great post!


  2. "And our exhortations to "invite Jesus in" seem to perpetuate this notion."

    I've never thought about the phrase "invite Jesus in" like that, but it makes a lot of sense. Very insightful!

  3. We also can not rely on past victories of dying to self to carry us to the next one. This is a daily taking up the cross, or should I say never putting the cross down? Great post, Lisa.

  4. Hi Lisa
    I'm writing from the other side of the planet (South Africa) where I just happened upon your blog. I'm so glad I did. I am facing the very same "correction" from God. He is teaching me that He is NOT Santa Clause and that my worship of Him should not be dependant on what He can give me. He is God after all, and He deserves my worship, regardless of whether or not He is meeting my expectations. Because for so long, I had considered Him my personal "genie in a bottle" - rubbing on Him whenever I'd find myself in a bind. And stashing the bottle neatly on my shelf for the next time I'd need Him, little realizing I was cutting myself off from His presence, and in so doing from the source of life and peace. Thanks so much for this post. Before I read it, I wrote something very similar on mine, and I believe God is just reinforcing His message to me. Wait on the Lord and I will see the goodness of the Lord. Come on over to my blog and we can share a few more thoughts!
    God bless you as you witness for Him on your blogspot!

  5. Amen and Amen--a great post!


  6. "And our exhortations to "invite Jesus in" seem to perpetuate this notion."

    I've never thought about the phrase "invite Jesus in" like that, but it makes a lot of sense. Very insightful!