As social media continues to take over our world and our lives, I have browsed literally thousands of posts, and I have come to a conclusion: Jesus is not cool.
Now don’t get me wrong here, I love Jesus with all that I am, but let’s face it, sometimes, actually many times he’s just not cool. I have seen people post a scripture, inspirational Godly quote from a leader in the faith, or even a challenging message to follow Jesus, and they will get a handful of likes.
While later pictures of pets, new things, great physiques, or even beautiful weather get likes and comments like crazy. And, let’s face it, when it comes to social media we all base the “coolness” or popularity of something based on how much interaction it receives on social media. That is why you will have a video of a dog go viral, like this one.
But, when you have someone post a scripture or quote like one of these,
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, – Matt 5:44
If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me – luke 9:23
Selfishness and centeredness is the root of our problems – alcoholics anonymous
Or something that challenges you like this from Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book The Cost of Discipleship (one of the most challenging books on following Christ)
Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘Ye were bought at a price’, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.
The likes, sharing, and comments almost disappear. Why is that? Because Jesus isn’t cool, the Gospel isn’t cool, unless it is promoted as health, wealth, no suffering and all things good.
When in actuality Christ calls us to come and die. The Gospel bids a man come and die, so that he may truly live. A man is called to lay down his life, die to his ‘self’, his flesh, his wants, his desires, the meaningless and trivial pursuits of this world, and to pick up his cross and follow Jesus.
Christ tells us that the world will hate us, because we follow him:
You will be hated by everyone because of me. – Matt 10:22
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. – 2 tim 3:12
For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. – 1 peter 3:17
HERE are 48 verses that talk about believers suffering.
Do we really receive hatred for our pursuit and following of Christ?
The Jesus who is not cool
The Jesus that bids a man to come and die, that Jesus is not cool.
The Jesus that promises only good things, wealth, perfect health, miracles in everything you do, a yes answer to every prayer, and an easy life is the cool Jesus.
Now am I saying that following Jesus is supposed to be all doom, gloom and suffering, and that it can’t involve any of the other things I listed that make him “cool?”
No. Health, wealth, believing for miracles, etc are not bad in and of themselves, but when we go to extremes in either direction, and lean solely on one of these aspects “we have not so learned Christ,” as Paul states to the Ephesians. In America we have a tendency to preach a comfortable Gospel.
Let us learn to live by Christ’s indwelling spirit, His spirit that literally lives within us. Let us look to Paul when he says,
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. – Philippians 4:11-12
Paul knew what it meant to have plenty, and to be in need. He knew what it was like to be hungry and to be filled; to be free, and to be in prison; to live securely on land, and to be shipwrecked at sea; to be whipped with 39 lashes, be persecuted and stoned, and then what it was to have his words of the Gospel accepted. In all circumstances he found contentment in Christ! He said again to the Philippians in 3:8
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.
Don’t get caught up in extremes that lead you away from the heart of Christ. Let each of us die to our self, and allow Christ to live in us. Let us live by Christ.