Trends are part of the human experience. Some are good, like a renewed interest in fitness and healthy eating habits. Some are not so good: mullets and bell bottoms. We see trends come and go in the Church as well, because the Church is made up of people. I’m sorry to say that more often than not, trends in the Church tend to be in the not so good category, encompassing worldly influence and extra-biblical practices. If it’s new, it’s probably not true.
For today’s essay, I would like to bring attention to a troubling trend I have observed with increasing frequency: professing Christians qualifying statements of who Jesus is with “Well, My Jesus…”, followed by an often ill-founded opinion rather than Biblical fact.
When I am offering a critique, I like to make sure that I am extending grace and giving the benefit of the doubt. With that in mind, I believe there are times when people preface their statements with my Jesus, simply to show an intimacy with their savior. I’m not a fan, but I presume well-meaning intentions. This type of example is not what I am concerned about.
I am far more concerned with problematic underlying causes. I have thought of some possibilities:
1. Biblical Ignorance. It is a sad reality that many Christians in this day and age simply do not know their Bibles. It is much easier to just have someone tell you about Jesus and the Bible than to put forth the effort to study and apply it yourself. The problem with that, is that you never know what you’re getting. It is possible you are being fed a bunch of malarkey. If you don’t know the Word yourself, or take the time to compare what you are hearing with what the Bible says, you may be walking around with a bunch of beliefs that simply are not true. A hunger and thirst for truth, the Word, and knowledge of the Savior is evidence of true conversion. This thirst is quenched by regular immersion in, and proper study of the Scriptures. If you aren’t sure how to start, I point you to this excellent article by Michelle Lesley: 10 simple steps to plain vanilla Bible study
2. Not having the Bible as the foundation of your faith/not holding to inerrancy. Here is another sad reality of the professing church. Many Christians view the Bible as one piece of the Christian faith, rather than the sole foundation upon which the faith draws it’s truth. Often, hand-in-hand with this is a case of a professing believer not holding to inerrancy. Inerrancy means that the Bible, in its original manuscripts, is without human error. A proper view of the Scriptures is essential for having orthodox doctrine and theology. A Christian believes that the Bible is inspired by God (therefore it is God’s very words), without error (innerancy), and the sole authority for the Christian’s life. This is summed up in Sola Scriptura, as defined in an article by Grace to you: the Bible is the only divinely revealed Word and therefore the believer’s true authority for sound doctrine and righteous living. If your definition of who Jesus is does not line up with what the Bible teaches, then it is not true. If ‘your Jesus’ does not align with the Jesus described in Scripture, then it is a god of your own making, in your own image, and not The One Eternal and True God of the Bible.
3. A rebellious heart/unconverted heart/false convert. This one covers both true and false converts. A false convert will not be concerned with rightly upholding the name of Jesus. They are far more concerned with pleasing themselves. False converts do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit, who enlightens the truth to believers, conforms us to Christ likeness, and teaches us the Word. Even more, they will not care what the Word says. False converts use the name of Jesus while serving their darkened hearts. It is no surprise that they would be wrong in their assertions of who Jesus is. Their claims about ‘my Jesus‘ are just that: A Jesus of their own making.
Sometimes, a new Christian is in a church that fails to handle the Scriptures properly, or teach their people the correct way to study the Word. New or immature believers, as a result, might have things wrong for a season. But if the person is truly converted, the Holy Spirit won’t leave them in that place indefinitely. A true believer will eventually want truth more than tradition, preference, or whatever else may be the root of their incorrect doctrine. Persisting in personal definitions of truth is rebellion.
Christology, who Jesus is as defined by the Scriptures, matters. Jesus’ sheep are concerned for His name. True Christians are zealous for Truth, and their preferences are subservient to that Truth. We would do well to be careful of the claims we make about our Lord. Do they agree with what He says about Himself in His Word? Converted hearts are submitted hearts. If what you want to be true of Jesus does not agree with what the Bible says about Jesus, then you throw your version out. If you are willful that you and your experiences/opinions/beliefs are the ones who determine what is true of God, examine yourself to see if you are in the faith. If you find yourself jumping on the bandwagon of saying My Jesus… ask yourself why? Be careful that you haven’t created a god in your own image, who you have named Jesus.
God is immutable (unchanging). The God of the Old Testament is the same Jesus you read of in the New Testament. Just because you find it difficult or uncomfortable, does not make it untrue. We need to be careful that we do not change who Jesus is due to fear of man (Proverbs 29:25) or love of the world (1 John 2:15).
Soli Deo Gloria!