Have you ever heard someone tell you why Jesus died for us? If you've been to church, it's possible that you've heard a less than enthusiastic answer that goes something like: "He paid for our sins and made it so we can be resurrected and go to heaven." I've heard and said many times, the "Sunday school answers" because in reality, I know they're right, but sometimes in my apathy, what comes out feels kind of pathetic in retrospect.
I thought about this today as I sat with 4 young men that will likely go on to serve a 2 year mission for their church in the next couple of years. It seems to me, many of us are guarded when it comes to how we really feel about things, especially, when it comes to things that go deep, or have culturally been established in a certain format.
We have a hard time showing any real emotion that could make us vulnerable, and we are scared to say anything that could be considered wrong according to the 'norm' that we perceive in the room. We are taught the unwritten social rules of conduct and conform, even if that conformity is harming both the individual and all of us as a society.
So what will happen with these young men when they leave their friends, family, and home to teach others about Jesus and His sacrifice for all mankind? Will they miraculously snap out of the apathetic answers about how the Savior of mankind is the Only Begotten of the Father? I doubt it.
Sometime, somewhere, somehow, each and ever one of us, I believe, needs to learn for ourselves the answer to the question: Why is Jesus Christ important in MY life? Not in my parents life, not in my church leader's life, and not to all of the human race. Me. What does He mean to me.
If I was a person hearing the lessons of the missionaries, I don't think I'd last very long, or stay interested for more than a few sentences without some kind of truth in their eyes. Do they really know what they're talking about, or is this just a memorized script they watched others repeat? Have they felt the atoning blood of Jesus in their own lives? Or, did they just watch the movie?
If you want to help someone else come unto Jesus and feel of the love that He offered us first, then I think we need to walk a little bit by His side, get to know the marks in His hands and feet. I think we need to wash His feet in our own tears. We need to own up to the many sins that we've committed over and over again, sometimes, as it were, rubbing His love for us in the dirt under our feet. Still after any number of black marks, He still forgives, He still loves, He still stands with arms outstretched waiting for us to be humble, trust Him, and try His way.
I think we need to feel a little bit of the cross on Golgotha, and witness some of Gethsemane, and still acknowledge that we didn't make things right, we didn't lift our burdens, we didn't make up for our wrongs. And even after we know it and feel it like fire in our bones, sometimes we still forget, and must continue to strive to "always retain in remembrance" what He means to us.
Why is the Savior of the world important in MY life? He means simply everything to me. If you really want to know how I feel, I think a personal face to face talk with tears and hugs and really getting down to the nitty-gritty of life would do more than any amount of words I could paste on a screen. I hope that one day we do meet, and in an appropriate setting I would be permitted to share the sacred thoughts of my heart, given to me from a loving Father in Heaven.
...and...more importantly, I hope that you would also be able to share with me your "hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15) and we'll all be the better for it.
See the lesson at the link below:
Jimmy Coray is a husband and father, hiker and adventurer, author and speaker. Jimmy spends time each week in the mountains of Utah enjoying the freshness of high altitudes. He takes a couple cameras with him to record thoughts and experiences of his own path to recovery and peace. Speaking from the heart, Jimmy will share with you how to break down shame and enjoy being genuine...even if your genuine isn't your ideal...yet. He is the author of the forthcoming book, "26 Peaks in 26 Weeks" a series of lessons that inspire change and humility. He shares these lessons in men's retreats, youth groups, and corporations.
You can follow him on the mountain by subscribing to his YouTube channel: Every Mountaintop