“No wonder the world hates us. Most of the time we’re persecuted not because we love Jesus, but because we’re prideful, arrogant jerks who don’t love the real Jesus. We’re often judgmental, hypocritical, and legalistic while claiming to follow a Jesus who is forgiving, authentic, and loving.”
~Jefferson Bethke, “Jesus>Religion”
Jeff’s book will definitely make you think. Christian or not, it’s a must read. I pulled so many quotes and excerpts that I thought I might want to expand on, it’s going to be really difficult to choose just a few! I’ll try not to bore you or ramble too much, promise! I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to read through it again and really take some more time to absorb all that it has to offer.
The quote I opened with was the first thought that really hit me hard and made me stop and examine my life. As Christians we need to be sure that our lives are reflecting and representing Jesus, not the religious pharisees that even He wanted nothing to do with. It’s not our job to try to condemn others or judge them for behaviors that we may not agree with, our only job is to love them and show them Jesus through our actions and how we treat those we encounter in everyday life. We need to be transparent and honest with those around us and understand that the only perfect one is Jesus, all the rest of us will make mistakes and our lives will be a mess until the day we die.
Along the same lines as the previous quote, this one shook me as well:
“The author Brennan Manning famously said, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their mouths and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle.”
Are we making sure that we’re not only acknowledging and glorifying Jesus with our mouths but with our lifestyles as well? It’s easy to praise Jesus up verbally, but are you living a life that shows others His love and compassion. His grace, forgiveness, truth? Even when your life isn’t going the way you think it should? Is your lifestyle pulling those around you closer to Jesus or pushing them away because you say one thing and do another? Take a minute to look at your own life and ask yourself that question!
We need to continue to glorify God even through the rough times, He doesn’t cause them, but I can assure you He’s going to find a way to use them for your growth and His glory.
“Too many times we curse the rain in our lives—suffering, trials, hardships—but the truth is, without rain nothing grows. Without rain there’s no fruit—just dry, flaky, and nasty leaves. Sometimes suffering is actually God’s blessing rather than God’s curse. It is clear in Scripture that He is not the source of evil, nor did He cause it, but He promises He can use it.”
If everything in life was perfect and always went the way we wanted it or expected it to go, how would we learn to appreciate the good? How would we learn to appreciate the blessings God puts in our lives if there wasn’t any rain or storms to let us see the difference? God uses the storms in our lives to grow us as Christians, as image bearers, and bring us closer to Him and reflect more of His image and light into a broken world.
With that being said, I’ll leave you with this final quote, then you’ll just have to go buy the book yourself for the rest of the good stuff I pulled!
“You want to radically change how you see others? See them as fellow image bearers—broken just like you, but image bearers nonetheless. We love God by loving his people.”
Oh yeah, I almost forgot! You can buy Jeff’s book at http://www.jesusisgreater.tv ! Thanks for hanging in there with me!