Baiting And Switching

Maybe it’s because we’re in a series on the Holy Spirit.

Maybe it’s because I see the cultural and individual fallout from casual Christianity.

Or maybe it’s just because of what I see in the mirror.

But the whole notion of a Jesus “bait and switch” is on my mind recently.

Here’s what I mean.  When those of us in church leadership talk to people who are considering an embrace of the Christian faith — and these conversations happen at the altar, in our offices, or over a meal — we say things like “you can invite Jesus into your life” or “would you like to ask Jesus into your heart?” or “let’s pray to accept Christ, OK?”

As if Jesus is an add on.  An accessory.  An important-but-by-no-means-exclusive part of self-improvement.

But in contrast to that church-y language, here are the inspired words of Colossians 3:4:

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

“Christ, who is your life, . . .”  Not part of your life.  Not invited into your life.  Not your path to a better life.  Your. Life.

So if at the beginning of people’s journey with Jesus we use the language of the “part” rather than the “whole,” should we be surprised when later on people are resistant to living fully surrendered and completely joyful lives in Jesus?

We’ve baited them with what is partial and then become disappointed when they ignore the switch to what is total

So at Good Shepherd, we’re going to try to be brutally honest from the very beginning.  After all, we’re not inviting people into a stagnant relationship with Jesus Christ but a living one.

One that’s neither baited nor switched but alive and vital and total.