Without Jesus – by Zack Fugate

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“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understand- ing, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”-1 John 5:20-21

The verses above are found at the end of the first of two letters written by the author. On the surface, and after a first reading, you might find yourself asking, “Why the last sentence? Verse 20 is so beautiful, so powerful, and so clear. Why follow that up with a statement about keeping ourselves from idols?” You see, it is comfortable to sit back and admire the beauty that is in Christ Jesus, but it is much harder to do when it involves dying to ourselves, our idols, and those things that we place on pedestals. What stands in the way of gaining the understanding that God so freely gives? It is the very thing that the author warns us about in verse 21.

I was recently sitting at my desk at work listening to Shane and Shane as I often do while working, and their song Without Jesus began playing. Immediately, I stopped what I was doing and began processing the simplicity of the song’s message. What struck me was that though the message was simple, the power of the song’s message was overwhelming. One line in the song states, “You could memorize, become a Mennonite, you could speak in tongues and raise the dead to life, you could build a big church, call it ministry, teach them all they need to know to raise a family, you could sell it all, be burned at the stake, but what in the world have you to ever gain without Jesus, oh, without Jesus.” Simply put, what we do in this life matters naught if Jesus is not at the center of what we are doing. While this may seem sad or drab, it is the exact opposite. We don’t have to wonder about the meaning of life or about the purpose of our actions and experiences…why? We don’t have to worry about those things because, apart from Jesus, they don’t matter, only Jesus matters. When we go to work, Jesus gives it meaning. When we spend time with our friends and loved ones, Jesus gives it meaning. When we find ourselves suffering, Jesus gives it meaning. There is no gray area…it is black and white…all meaning comes from Jesus.

You might be thinking, “Okay, but it isn’t that easy.” Brothers and sisters, we are not told that following Jesus is going to be easy, we are told that following Jesus will bring sanctification and eternal life. Consider Luke 18: 29, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” We must have a kingdom mindset and pray that our focus would be what is so often stated at New Life, “Only Jesus!”

Please be praying with me, brothers and sisters, that our lives would reflect that of Jesus and Jesus alone.

Your brother in Christ,
Zack Fugate

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