On an Island with Jesus

I would like to start by apologizing for the title of my post.  It sounds like something someone would say in response to that ridiculous question, “If you’re stranded on an island and can only have one thing with you, what would you want it to be?”  “Well, I’d want my Bible, of course!”  I don’t take the question seriously, but I take any pious-sounding answers even less seriously.  I also have a hard time believing people when they say they’re “in love” with Jesus like He’s a new romantic interest.  Well, I have a hard time in general believing people when they say just about anything related to Jesus or their relationship with Him.  I have seen Him represented in so many frustrating and sometimes erroneous ways that I am immediately wary when anyone makes a claim about Him.

So, the other day, when someone asked me where and with whom I would like to spend the holidays, my answer surprised me.  I thought for a second, and said, “On an island with Jesus.”  I was partly communicating that no likely options were preferable, but I also meant what I said.  I would rather be with Him right now than anybody else.  And, hey, Christmas is supposed to be His birthday, right?

Yes, it was a spontaneous answer to an unanticipated question.  But I made me think about how my perception of who Jesus is has changed.  I want to share a few of the ways I used to think of Him, and then list a few of ways I’ve come to think of Him.  I’m not going to go into examples and Scripture references, at least not in this post.  I’m sure my ideas will continue to change, and none of us can ever claim to have a full understanding of Christ and who He is to us.  You are quite welcome to disagree with the way I’m thinking right now.  So, please take my thoughts below as what they are: my reflections at this particular point in time.

Who Christ used to be to me:

  • someone whose love and closeness to me depended on my actions (not only my sinning or not sinning, but also how often I prayed, did devotions, or participated in church activities)
  • someone who was shocked and disappointed when I did something wrong
  • someone who was always calm, almost to the point of seeming unfeeling or cold
  • someone who was loving, but in a warm, fuzzy, almost weak way
  • someone who only had “pat” answers, and if those answers didn’t satisfy me, then that was my problem
Who Christ is becoming to me:
  • someone who has always been with me and will never leave me
  • someone whose grace is unlimited, even in my darkest darkness
  • someone who laughs, cries, and gets angry 
  • someone who challenges me and fights me and doesn’t back down
  • someone who can take my questions and my frustrations, and who just plain doesn’t make sense sometimes (to me and to a lot of other people)
  • someone who tears down people’s assumptions and expectations
My perceptions have not been changing so much as a result of new knowledge, but of new experience.  Mostly, they have changed because of people in my life who have represented Christ to me.  I wrote about some of these people in “Being Christ’s Presence.”  These experiences, among others, have started to change my feelings about Jesus.  I’m feeling less like He’s someone with whom I’m just supposed to want to be close and more like He’s someone to whom I actually want to be near.
Some related posts that may interest you: “Freedom From Devotions” and “The Life-Encompassing Psalm (Psalm 139)
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