Why we believe + how that affects our lives
If there’s one thing Leanne and I are most proud of, above everything else in our lives, it’s the fact that we are followers of Jesus Christ. This is an increasingly unpopular opinion in today’s society, but every day of our lives, we attempt to become more and more like Jesus.
So what does all of that mean? Why believe in + follow Jesus?
Well, first of all, every person has to decide one concrete thing about Jesus: Either he was telling the truth, or he wasn’t. There’s a lot of line-straddlers who like to say Jesus had a lot of good moral teaching but the Bible isn’t entirely relevant in this day and age. Here’s why we think that’s not true:
If you sit down and read some of the things Jesus is saying; either about being the Son of God, about how followers of Christ should live their lives, and so on; you’ll very quickly conclude that the dude is kind of crazy. No rational person would say the things he is saying. No normal person would suggest what he’s instructing. It’s difficult. It’s counter-cultural. Heck, it’s counter-natural. But here we are.
So you have to decide: Was he telling the truth? There’s no in-between.
We believe that, YES, Jesus was telling the truth, and that he’s not just some crazy lunatic.
So what does that mean for our lives?
Well, it means we take what he said and try to put it into practice day-in and day-out.
Why choose to do that? Why enslave ourselves to some crappy religion that puts restrictions and demands on our lives?
The answer is quite simple. As opposed to the hive-mind mentality that religion is a prison, we see our faith in Jesus as the key to releasing us from a prison of sin. We are more free and more alive when we follow Jesus than when we choose to stray, disobey the Bible, and do whatever the heck we feel like.
A universal truth: We are all screwed up. We all make mistakes. We have all wronged someone, or done something immoral at some point in our lives. Guilt and shame are real consequences for these actions, and often there are a lot more consequences, depending on what you’ve done. We absolutely believe this to be true.
The Good News (which, if you’ve ever heard the term “Gospel” before, is what that means) is that we do NOT have to live our whole lives with this shame and guilt on our shoulders! We can have a clean slate. We can start over. And so much more than that, we are given the promise that our shame and guilt and sin are removed from us and not counted against us. Even the sins we haven’t yet committed.
And this, my friends, is the incredible gift of Jesus Christ, from God the Father, through the Holy Spirit.
All throughout the Bible, you will read about people that God loves being screwed up and willingly walking away from a relationship with God. God took matters into his own hands by sending Jesus to be our once-and-for-all payment for sin.
Jesus lived a perfect life; without a single sin. He was God, but he was entirely Man, too. He was falsely accused, beaten and made fun of, stripped naked, beaten some more, attached to a tree, raised high above a crowd of people taunting him, and eventually starved to death right there.
But death couldn’t hold him! As it was prophesied countless times before Jesus arrived on the scene, 3 days later, Jesus rose again, coming alive and proving that even death could not defeat him.
It is in this incredible resurrection miracle that we can have the confidence that our God is all-powerful and all-loving. Every religion out there is Man trying to seek God; our attempts to live upright lives in order to make God happy with us. But Christianity is different, that God took the first step, God sacrificed himself(!!), and came to us as Men. This is the separator of our faith.
So, once again, what does all of this mean for us?
It means we’ve been given a gift. A gift so much greater than we could ever repay. It means we live our lives in eternal gratitude and joy that we know our future is secure. That we will not spend eternity in Hell (a real place, by the way), but that we too will spend eternity with God in paradise.
The beauty of this gift, my friends, is that you can have it too! You don’t have to look a certain way, come from a certain family, have a certain amount of money, or even be certain at all. Jesus just asks for acceptance that he is who he says he is, that we ask for forgiveness for our sins, and then we will be given the gift of eternal life. From that point on, it’s our responsibility, out of love!, to willingly submit our lives to the ways of Jesus, and attempt to live out what we read in Scripture.
For Leanne and I, that means a lot of different things. It means that money isn’t the most important thing to us. It means we remain faithful in our marriage to one another. It means we raise our kids to be kind and compassionate, even when they’re being shown none of which. It means we are to be honest. We are to be caring for those with less. It means we need to continually put ourselves in a lower place in order to elevate those around us much higher.
We have been given the greatest gift of all! And our hope is that in our lives, we can share that gift with others. There is so much freedom and redemption in Jesus, that we want others to find that same incredible joy that we have found.
The Bible kind of turns the world on its head. In our society in 2019, if you’re rich/wealthy/successful, you’re at the top of the food chain. If you can’t pay your bills, you eat rice for most of your meals, you can’t afford to clean your clothes or pay your rent, you’re at the very bottom of the totem pole.
Jesus focused first and foremost on the lowest of the low. The people society deemed had no influence or power were shown grace and mercy and the way to a life so much greater than the one they are given. But this life is not exclusively for the poor.
See, if being wealthy and successful was really as good as our world makes it seem, no one in Hollywood would commit suicide. No higher-up in a company would be caught cheating on their spouse or tied up in scandal after scandal.
It’s proof that all the money and power in the world is never enough. It’s never enough.
Jesus teaches us that he is enough. That all of the troubles of this world can be overcome by following him. Not that all of the troubles of this world will seek to exist (a common misconception), but that through Jesus, something greater will happen.
Leanne and I both came to start following Jesus in our teen years and we’ve lived our lives constantly trying to improve upon our devotion to Jesus.
Where most people see Christianity as just a “religion with a lot of rules and regulations; a cage, essentially”, we see following Jesus as the key to release us from the cage we are all in: sin.
I don’t care who you are or where you came from or what kind of life you have had in the past or live right now: we are all screwed up. We all have our vices. At some point in your life, you’ve wronged someone or done something immoral. For a lot of people, those decisions weigh heavy on them with guilt and shame.
You do not need to carry this guilt around for your whole life, my friend! There is freedom; tangible freedom, where you can be cleansed of your shortcomings and be given a new shot at life.
This is the beautiful gift of Jesus. God loves us all SO MUCH that he came to earth to stand around like you and me; fully God, yes, but fully Man. And while he lived a perfect life without any trace of sin, he was falsely accused, beaten nearly to death, made fun of, hung to a tree beside literal murderers, and then starved to death while a crowd called him names from below. But after 3 days, he rose from the dead, proving that not even death could defeat him.
This resurrection is where we draw our confidence and faith. God took the first step in seeking us out and bringing us closer to him. All we need to do is surrender and be swept away in the current of his love.
Christianity is not a religion in the traditional sense of Man trying to impress God with our perfect behaviour in order to hopefully secure our seat on the train to heaven. Instead, Christianity is a life lived in response to the gift God openly offers us all. Every single one of us. “Here! Please come to Heaven! I want to be with you! Just stop resisting and trust me.” It’s really as simple as that.
Since we both have done that, our lives have been forever changed. You hang out in our church on a Sunday morning and you will feel something in that spot. There’s something different about it. It might make you squirm a little if you’re still unsure about this whole God-thing. But for us, we recognize that as the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that where two or three people are gathered in God’s name, there he is with them. And when there’s 150 or so of us? Well, that’s a whole lot of God.
There is an answer for the guilt and shame you carry around. There is forgiveness and mercy so much greater than you could ever imagine! Don’t believe me?
Crack open the Bible. Every single person you read about had some big mistake (minus Jesus obviously). David was a cheater. Jonah was a coward. Saul was a mass-murderer. Yet all of these people were given special tasks by God because he wanted to use them to make a very important point:
No one is ever past the point of saving. It is never too late. You have never sinned too much.
You can always be forgiven. You can always be shown mercy. And that is the beauty of the gospel.
We spend our lives trying to live out what we read in the Bible. We fail daily. But we get back up and we try again.
We surround ourselves with other people on the same journey so we may help each other; that the things that knock us down will eventually stop. That we can overcome all of these things together.
Following Jesus does not mean an end to suffering. In fact, it might mean more suffering. Following Jesus doesn’t mean we’ll have all the answers. In fact, we might have more. Following Jesus doesn’t guarantee our popularity with the world, it doesn’t guarantee everything will be perfect, or that we’ll be happy or we’ll be rich and successful.
Following Jesus does guarantee that we will be set free. Every single one of us that should choose to believe in him.
This is why we live our lives the way we do. It is why our photography and videography is so colourful and full of life and joy. It’s because our lives are full of joy. Every day we celebrate the fact that God loved us more than we could ever imagine, to the point of death, and so far beyond.
This is Good News. And it’s why we are who we are, we speak the way we do, we act and think the way we do.
It is never too late, my friend. Talk to us if you have questions or want to know more. Even if you’re just on the fence. There is never shame or guilt we will lay on you. It’s never too late.