What excited, or excites you about Jesus?

Dr. Elaine Heath observed today that “the longer someone is part of the church, the less excited they are about Jesus.”

While not categorically, absolutely true, there is more truth to this statement that I, a professional clergy, want to admit.

What is it about church that kills excitement about Jesus?  If excitement about Jesus is a good, what ought we do about reversing this inertia?

Wrote the above last night, so I’ve pondered it since, and decided to add this:

I wonder if too much of what excites people early on in their experience of church/Jesus is about what Jesus does for them.  After all, that is how Jesus is presented, primarily, in our culture.  Jesus can save you from your sins.  Jesus offers you forgiveness, etc., etc.

Then, not too far into this new life of forgiveness and salvation, we wake up to see that our lives are the same.  The lives of those around us (now those in the church) are pretty much the same.  Salvation and forgiveness is good, but, apparently, they only go so far.

What if we learned to look at what Jesus offers, and what following Jesus offers for us; for our culture; for the world?

This, I think, is something we can get, and stay, excited about!

8 thoughts on “What excited, or excites you about Jesus?

  1. I’d suggest we get cold in the excitement because we forget what we’ve been saved from and where we are going to. Some argue that today’s Christian culture seems to diminish, due to political correctness and avoidance of arguments, two major Christian tenants: sin and eschatology (study of end times). Sin is not talked about because we don’t want to offend the seeker; the end times, well, it is too complex and there are so many interpretations that we don’t want to divide on a ‘secondary topic’.

    What this produces is the lack of appreciation for what Jesus did for us, saving us from our sin’s due pay -eternal suffering in hell and the hope of being with Him one day as the whole world is restored to a better form hence killing our two main sources of joy.

  2. If the salvation Jesus offers is primarily (a) I get forgiven for my past, and (b) I get to go to heaven when I die, there is awful lot of life for the average person that has no apparent need for or connection to Jesus.

    But if salvation includes the call of God to a particular kind of life – along the lines of “as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you” and “whoever believes in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things because I am going to the Father,” we’ll more often find ourselves with Jesus along the way. we’ll also find ourselves in desperate need more often than is common in our culture so anesthetized by prosperity, entertainment, and comfort.

    • Richard, I agree with you. I didn’t mean that forgiveness of sin and heaven are the only things salvation offers. I agree that there is more to it into ‘life in abundance’ on earth and being His hands and feet, the process of sanctification and so on. I just noted that these two are, in my opinion, huge part of our believes that are often disregarded and can affect the loss of’passion’. I think this can be seen on the message to the church of Ephesus in Rev 2 where Jesus tells them “you have left your first love”. To that, as a remedy, Jesus says: “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works”

  3. Perhaps in many ways it is in part to how we “do” Church that kills that excitement. What I mean is Churches are generally set up to seek out equilibrium. We try to balance budgets, “keep” people engaged, minimize conflict, etc. As we seek equilibrium (which feels good) it also, as noted by Paschale, is a precursor to death.

    It could be not so much that we focus on what Jesus offers us once again as we did but rather reclaim the culture Jesus set up – that of one of being on the move. Jesus was constantly on the move and did not have a rock to lay his head. When people wanted to move him toward a greater grasp of equilibrium (Peter wanted him to slow down, Satan wanted him to be his disciple, Mary wanted Jesus to come home, etc.) Jesus pressed on to create a greater disturbance.

    Perhaps as Church leaders we ought to take the task of creating disturbances more than trying to move toward equilibrium. Perhaps leadership is about creating conditions in which change, adaptation and innovation will take place, rather than setting up a place for work-a-holics to have a quite moment or where we can be entertained for an hour as our week begins.

    I am willing to bet this move will excite the Church attender regardless the amount of time they have logged in the pew.

  4. Sounds right to me, Jason. Read similar thoughts in Alan Hirsch’s The Forgotten Ways.

    When “church” or “Christian life” amounts to things we can do perfectly well without a living, active Jesus, we’re missing out on the real thing.

  5. Why do we need to be “excited” to love Christ? After 25 years of marriage, I can attest that, although the giddiness of being newly in love has long gone, I love my husband more deeply and widely today than I did in those first days of giddy “excitement.” Part of the excitement of the new love of the believer is this new awareness of being loved by God, of the novelty of being able to depend upon Christ … and that is necessary to re-route our lives onto the “narrow path.” Even those of us that grew up knowing Christ — as adolescents and young adults, we had that new excitement of following Christ as we began to be able to make our own free choices and forge our life paths. I don’t find a state of acute excitement to be sustainable. Other things necessarily must hold our attention — including and especially the tasks to which Christ calls us.

    As I go on in my faith (“toward perfection” hopefully, as Wesley put it), I think there are fewer mountaintop experiences but also fewer valleys of despair. The “excitement” has been replaced mostly with a sustainable sense of peace and joy that is our constant companion. Excitement is definitely a positive emotion (I refer you to Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions for what I think is an exhaustive list of positive and negative emotions), but waxes and wanes with our attention. Peace and joy, on the other hand, are underlying wells of positivity that can co-exist with whatever we are going through at the moment.

    I think excitement about Christ is kind of like the Texas weather … if you don’t like your levels right now, wait five minutes and things will change.

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