As I started reading this chapter, I immediately thought of Christmas. Our chapter opens with talk of the Super Bowl and the amounts of money we spend on hype and security. The mention of all the hype that surrounds a big event and the possible reactions of people during that event. Maybe it’s simply the time of year. Christmas is coming-ever so rapidly, and I’m being bombarded everyday with ads on Facebook, email, and tv. I often wonder if we’ve truly lost what the spirit of Christmas is all about due to all the hype surrounding it. It’s amazing the number of injuries or deaths that occur on a black friday. Stores increase security because they know people are crazy about finding the best “deals”. It’s a lot like the picture Jonathan painted about the Super Bowl and about the day Jesus descended from the Mount of Olives on the back of a donkey colt. Amazing isn’t it? The amount of hype that surrounds big events. But are we willing to see through all the hype and look into the heart of what is going on?
“Today we have people, sometimes leaders, sometimes Christians, who have all the right moves, all the symbols and ceremonies, but no reality in their dealing with Messiah. Maybe you sense at times that description applies to you. Possibly you have been going through the motions; perhaps you know how to speak Christianese, but God is not real to you.” (pg. 126)
I have to admit…it’s hard sometimes to know the reality of God. It’s hard sometimes to read words in a book and see pictures on a wall of the man who calls himself the Messiah. It’s hard to pray sometimes when things are tough and you can’t see a person.When we get down to the nuts and bolts of a relationship with Christ, let’s face it. It’s work. It can be hard. When we look beyond the hype we find decisions that need to be made. Will we follow Jesus no matter what? Will we let him be Savior and Ruler over ALL the parts of our lives? I loved how Jonathan showed us that the same people who cried “Hosanna”, “Behold, your King is coming”, and “Rejoice”, where the same people who a few days later yelled “Crucify Him”. Everybody has somebody for a King. Who’s your King?
“It is salvation and a deep appreciation for it that rouses in our hearts expressions of true worship. When we come to grips with what Jesus has done for us in His death, burial, and resurrection, we can’t help but cry out in praise to Him, regardless of risk, regardless of cost. We will follow Him no matter what.” (pg. 131)
At the end of the chapter, Jonathan asked these questions:
When Jesus looks at me, are there tears in His eyes? Does he see a person voicing praises to Him, but without authenticity? Can I look beyond hype and entertainment-even Christian entertainment-and find the reverence of a spirit of true worship? Do I know how to worship him in spirit and in truth?
Am I occupied with social revolution, political solutions, economic ideas, psychological methods, or material things instead of resting my hopes in true spiritual deliverance? God often uses these things, but the heart of our deliverance is spiritual because the heart of our need is spiritual. Can I get beyond the hype of my agenda to His plan?
As I type today, my heart is heavy. Tears roll down my cheeks because I’m not sure I’ve been living in the true reality of Christ. As a woman who longs to someday hear the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”, I am realizing (through the help of this book!) how much I’m really missing. I’m beginning to realize how much I take for granted, and how I’ve bought into all the hype. Our salvation was a gift. And it all started with a baby in a manger. In a barn on a cold night.
As we work through the next few weeks to Christmas, please take time and really think about what the Christmas season represents. Let’s all take time to look beyond the hype and see what is at the heart of this exciting event. Let’s all find the reality.