Nothing puts flesh and blood on Jesus in our world more than loving others for who they are, not just loving who we want them to be.
Isn’t that the plot of the gospel? God’s relentless love towards us is demonstrated by his sacrifice while we were still an absolute mess. The apostle Paul says that Christ died for us “while we were still sinners.” He freely gave his love for us even though we wanted nothing to do with him. There were no conditions to his love, no fine print. And even if there were never any change in our lives, not even an ounce of acknowledgment of his love, he would still love us the same way.
We need to ask ourselves a difficult question: Can we, will we, walk the same path as Jesus and love the people around us while they are still sinners? If we’re serious about following Jesus by loving others, it means loving the people around us for who they are today, not just loving who we want them to become someday.
Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p.172
We have been crowned with glory, created in God’s image, to create the future alongside him.
That’s why we feel a sense of fulfillment after we solve a complex problem at work, organize our homes, or type the final word on a manuscript. What comes to life at those times is our innate desire to rule and reign, to create good work, and to bring order to the world in the unique ways that we’ve been equipped by God. It’s the image of God showing through.
Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p.131
So the tough choice we face – which will tap into our reserves of grit – is to own our pain and then offer it to God for redemption. But we will make that choice only after we have decided that – despite whatever pain we may have been handed in life – God can still be trusted.
Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p.86.
When we reject the easy Jesus in search of the real Jesus, we take a step. When we convert our desire and intention into commitment, we take a step. Day in and day out, with each seemingly small decision to align our lives with the way of Jesus, we take a step. And before we know it, with a little bit of grit and the Wind at our backs, we find that we’ve covered some ground. We’ve moved forward in running after the rich and satisfying life that we desire.
Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p. 41-42
God’s grace is a fighting kind of grace. It pokes and prods and confronts and pushes us toward the path that leads to a rich and satisfying life. Grace will not let us settle for mediocrity and small living. It compels us to change.
Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p. 33
Ultimately, if we refuse to forgive others, we won’t experience God’s forgiveness – not because he will withhold it but because we think we don’t need it.
Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p. 52
Jesus didn’t step into this world only to feel for us, or think for us, or be a model for us. That can all be done from a distance. He came to touch the world as well. To get skin to skin with the creation he loves. He came to be with us in our need.
To follow the real Jesus means to become like him in this way, to put skin on our compassion for others by getting involved in their lives, by attacking in tangible ways the things that are wrong in the world, and by working with God to set things right.
Jason Mitchell, No Easy Jesus, p.73.
The truth is beliefs that have no connection to reality, even if they’re sincere, aren’t beliefs at all; they’re delusions.
Kyle Idleman, No Easy Jesus forward, page x.
We swapped the glory of the eternal God for a fabricated greatness we’ve forged on our own, one that never seems to be enough. We were created to image God, to resemble and reflect his glory, but we’ve seen it, suppressed it, and sold it, and now we’re left with an emptiness that nothing else can fill.
That’s the problem of sin. We’ve gotten rid of the very thing that gives us lasting pleasure.
Jonathan Parnell, Never Settle For Normal, p. 50
If gospel messengers were meant to merely blast out information, Jesus would have told his followers to go make subscribers, not disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). But because the Christian story is a message about Jesus, the real person, our response is not about what we do with the data but what we do with him.
Jonathan Parnell, Never Settle For Normal, p. 93