Test yourselves. If you cannot tell that Jesus Christ is among you, it means you have failed the test. 2 Corinthians 13:5
How do you tell if Jesus is among you? You look for Him. Is He here? Is He there? How do you tell? Do you see someone who acts like a spiritual giant and go, “Well certainly He’s over there?” Do you see someone being like Him? The answer is actually no to all of these because we are trying to “see” Him so we’re looking for character evidence or growth markers in a person.
This is what has been wrong with Christianity in America for years. It’s all individual. We size up each other’s personal spiritual “evidence.” We are so competitive and bent on self-actualization. Walk into a Christian bookstore and look for how many books are all about being happy, successful, fulfilled, even purpose-driven. How many books are sold on the basis of what they will do for you? Is this the way we are going to pass the test of Jesus among us by being happy, successful, fulfilled, purpose-driven people?
No, I don’t think this is it. We don’t see Jesus by sizing up individual Christians in a spiritual “line-up.” We experience Jesus in relationships.
You spend a few hours with someone. You bare your soul. You pray. You cry. You experience the love, acceptance and forgiveness. And you give it back. You walk away, and you can’t necessarily say you saw Jesus, but you know you’ve been with Jesus. That’s the way you know Jesus Christ is among you. You don’t “see” Him, you experience Him in relationships.
You know you’ve been with Jesus. There was an unexplainable presence and power. You add up the elements of who was there and it doesn’t add up. There was more than what you can account for. And things happen that defy explanation. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” (Matthew 18:20).
You can go to church these days and not see Jesus. You can be lead in worship and hear an inspiring talk from the word of God and go home feeling as alone as when you came. Why? You were not in relationship with anyone. There was nothing in that service that put you in relationship with those around you. You experience Jesus in relationships.
In the last few years I have gotten to know a friend who is just one of these folks who likes to get people together, and he has taken it upon himself to gather a few brothers together for a lunch, or once a year, it’s a 3-day event at a retreat center with no agenda but to get together and share lives. He started inviting me to these and for a while I did not attend. I couldn’t imagine what you could accomplish just sitting around talking, and I was a little threatened about the idea of no agenda. Finally I decided to go to one of the 1/2 day events and I have now been to three or four of these. And I’ll go again. Why? Because one thing is consistently true: when it’s over, I know I’ve been with Jesus.
Join us for church Sunday at 6pm on facebook.com/thecatch. It’s live and interactive and Jesus will be there among us!
That’s absolutely right, John. While I think you may be overselling it just a LITTLE, I can most certainly relate to the phenomenon of which you speak. Those times when smaller groups (a dozen or so, in my experience, is about as large as it can effectively get) get together and “get real,” can be truly amazing times with undeniable spiritual power.
An interesting Catch!
We are experiencing it in our relatively new couples small group – only 3 couples drawn together by the Spirit. Affirmations prove we’re on the right topics for discussions – everyone shares freely and wants to know when our next meeting in our home is. Real ‘church’ for us all, receiving something lacking otherwise. All born og God – praying I continue to follow His lead as I lead.
oops – typo – should read “born OF God! Apologies!