Happy Easter dear readers.
My thoughts today have been on the question: why do I need Jesus?
Not, why do YOU need Jesus, but why do I need Jesus. This isn’t an essay to convince you to accept Christ (that essay would look very different), but rather to boil down what purpose He serves to me that I can’t find elsewhere.
Which is a little difficult to test since I don’t have a control group of me without ever knowing Christ.
So our starting point is the FAITH I’ve already gained in Him, which is may be a bit of a biased starting off point since I have found that when I do what He says (pray, repent), I get back what He says I will (help, comfort), which has caused quite a bit of trust going on, but it’s what we’ve got to work with.
So as a Christian, I believe I need Christ to help make me clean from sin and progress to a point where I can be clean enough to live again in God’s presence in the afterlife.
But, what about in this life?
Why do I need Jesus here and now? What benefits does He afford me that I cannot find elsewhere?
I’m a bit of a self-help junkie. I LOVE the feeling of empowerment when I read all about how to solve my own problems. I LOVE the feeling of progress. I love setting goals and working toward them.
This process of gaining knowledge, applying that knowledge and improving my life brings me deep joy.
So if I can improve myself all by myself by learning new things and applying them, why do I need Christ?
Often I think I say I need Christ in order to change and progress. I still absolutely think that is true for me, but is it true that a person CAN’T change or progress without Jesus?
It can’t be. People are doing it all the time! There are testimonials to every self-help book I’ve ever read that people are making all sorts of amazing, incredible, laudable breakthroughs in their lives- be it through their health, business, marriages, parenting or productivity- every single day without even knowing who Jesus is.
My next thought in answer to the question of ‘why do I need Jesus?’ was happiness. My relationship with Christ brings me happiness.
Does Jesus make me happier than I otherwise would be if I never knew Him? I like to think so, but its hard to measure.
Do I think people can be happy without knowing Jesus?
Yes of course they can. Millions of people are doing it right now all around the world. In fact, I think we do non-believers or former-believers a GREAT disservice when we don’t actually believe them when they say they are happy.
Research shows that happiness can be measured by positive emotions (peace, love, gratitude), engagement with a worthy cause, meaningful relationships, and a sense of purpose.
Can you accomplish these things without Jesus?
Yes you can.
The next thing I thought of was comfort. Does Jesus comfort me? Absolutely! Can people find comfort without Jesus?
Of course they can. They’re doing it all the time. In fact, it would be terribly biased of God to only comfort those of His children who believe in Christ. God loves all His children equally and I think He wants to provide comfort for them all equally as well.
If I don’t absolutely NEED Jesus for progress, happiness or comfort, why on earth do I need him??
In order to unearth His unique contribution to my life, lets first look at what makes Him unique.
1 He was uniquely perfect.
While Christ was on the earth, I believe he was perfect and was in fact the only perfect person to ever live, so He uniquely presents me with a PERFECT example of kindness, returning love for hate, forgiveness, mercy and compassion to follow.
I notice a difference in the scriptoral depictions of him that is different even than other scriptures, which were written by and about awesome, but imperfect people. For instance, elsewhere in scriptures there are countless instances of common prejudices against other ethnicities and peoples. Christ, amazingly defies the very ingrained prejudices of his day toward other ethnicities and races (Samaritans who were looked on as less than by all Jews), gender (there are more references and stories involving women in the Gospels than anywhere else in scripture) and even those with horrible untouchable illnesses (lepers) and mental illnesses. Jesus loved and served them all. His example is unique.
2 He is uniquely all-knowing.
He is omnicient. He is all knowing. He knows what will happen when I die, what my potential is, what my purpose and meaning is.
Another unique feature of Christ is that He knew me personally before I came on earth. Because of this, we can have a very unique relationship indeed. No one else knew me before I was born, so no one can really provide me with the same level of companionship, connection and understanding that He can. He knows my unmarred potential, my faults, weaknesses, strengths and abilities better than I do, and that connection is unparalleled elsewhere.
3 Back to that progress, happiness and comfort thing . . .
Without meaning to diminish anyone’s experiences and beliefs who differ from my own, I think I could find happiness without Christ, but I have learned through experimentation that personally, I am HAPPIEST when I do what Christ says and strive to live as close to Him as possible.
And while I think I could certainly improve and progress many aspects of my life without Him, I have found a strength beyond my own as I ask for grace and divine help in my personal development.
And while I could find comfort elsewhere, for me, there is no comfort sweeter than the love and acceptance of one who has gone through everything I have already and still loves me.
Now. As I said this essay was entitled “do I need Jesus?’ not ‘do YOU need Jesus?’
DO you need Jesus? Well, I don’t know, that will depend on what you WANT.
I don’t know everything about God, but my faith is anchored in two great truths:
- God loves His children.
- God respects people’s agency.
Meaning, you get to choose where you end up and God loves you enough that He won’t put you somewhere where you won’t be comfortable -like in God’s presence when you don’t want to be there OR out of His presence when you DO want to be there.
I have found, I want to be there- in God’s presence and I believe I can get there- BOTH here and in the next life through Christ.
So, yes, I need Him. He is uniquely positioned to put me exactly where I want to be.