What Simon Says Taught Me about Following Jesus

I was never good at preschool games.

Take Simon Says for example…

I always wanted to be Simon, but you had to win the game first to be Simon.

But, I rarely won.

It was just too hard to remember what Simon said and what he didn’t say.  Plus, I couldn’t keep up with all the jumping up and down and head rubbing anyway.

As simple as Simon Says is, the game can teach us a lot about following Jesus.  Because, if you’re going to follow Jesus, you better know what Jesus says…

And what He doesn’t say.

The truth is, if you don’t know what Jesus says OR if you think He said something but He really didn’t, you’ll have a really hard time following Him.

And, the challenging thing for Jesus followers today is that the culture that we’re living in right now likes to put words in Jesus’ mouth.

They like to think that Jesus said things like…

“I don’t care about your sexual identity…so be whoever you want to be.”

“I care more about your comfort than your commitment to me…so the more comfortable you are, the better.”

“I’m not coming back…so it really doesn’t matter how you live, as long as you’re being true to yourself, and you’re a nice person.”  #YOLO

But, Jesus didn’t say any of those things, did He?

The other challenge for Jesus followers today is that the culture we’re living in likes to think that it doesn’t matter who you follow or what you believe in.

They like to think that all religions, all spiritual leaders, and all belief systems all lead to the same place in the end.

Like we’re all climbing the same mountain, but we’re just taking different routes to get to the top.

You can follow Jesus, you can follow Buddha, you can follow the teachings of Joseph Smith, you can even follow Oprah, and it really doesn’t matter because we’re all moving in the same direction, and going to the same place.

But, is that really true? Is that even possible?

What do you believe? Who are you going to follow?

And, what exactly did Jesus say when He walked on this earth?

If you want to know what Jesus says, a good place to start is to read what he said.  And, the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are where you’ll find Jesus talking the most.

Do you know what Jesus says?  

Because, losing a game like Simon Says is one thing.

But, getting what Jesus Says wrong will haunt you forever.

 

31 “But when the Son of Man[a] comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations[b]will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.  Matthew 25:31-33 (NLT)

 

 

 

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Time to show people Jesus

“In order to see Christianity, one must forget all the Christians.”

That quote was made by a Swiss philosopher well over one hundred years ago, but it could just as easily have been made in the year 2016.

The truth is that saying that you’re a Christian doesn’t really mean that much anymore.

Not just because we don’t always back up what we say with our actions, but because there’s a lot of confusion in our culture about what Christianity is and what it stands for.

Christianity has long been victimized by the postmodern idea that it doesn’t really matter what you believe in as long as you believe in something.

So, we can make up our own versions of Christianity, call ourselves “Christians” and think that we’re all right.

For example, we can have different views on current hot button issues like gun control, the LBGT community, and the rise of terrorism in our world.

We can even throw out our favorite verses to back up our views, and come to completely different conclusions about what Jesus would do or say if he lived in our culture today.

But, can we all be right?

Do we really know what Jesus would do if he lived in our culture today?

Do we really know what he’d say in response to the most recent attack and tragedy in Orlando?

Do we really know Jesus?

Do we know his heart?

Do we know what he cares about?

Do we know what he loves…and what he hates?

Do we know what he stands for…and what he doesn’t stand for?

Do we know what he says…and what he doesn’t say?

Now is the time to not just tell people that you’re a Christian, but to show people Jesus.

And, if you’re going to show people Jesus, you need to know Jesus personally…not just know about Jesus.

Following Jesus is a radical way to live…

So radical that we really shouldn’t have to tell people that we’re Christians before we tell them how we think Jesus would respond to the brokenness in our world.

We’d probably just confuse them anyway.

The better option for all of us right now is to point people to Jesus, and if we’re going to do that, we’d better know who we’re pointing to.

 

1And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John 1:14)