“why I follow Jesus”

My response to a friend’s question:

I’ll weigh in on why I follow Jesus (and not another faith), though I need to slightly modify the question because monotheism seems way too abstract. Yes, I’m trying to “do the will of God” as presented through Jesus, but the realness of that trust is only proven as God’s spirit blows in it and through me. Like many others who have walked with Jesus, I feel his warmth: “Were not our hearts burning within us as he walked us on the road?”

I wonder if the evidence you’re asking about is something that might better emerge from actual experiences rather than Big T truth. Another way to say it, learning from Jesus seems to require human weakness, solidarity, and suffering. Not to say that certain kinds of feelings or experiences will by themselves reveal the truth. It’s just that we need more than data points or even a person to see the integrity of Jesus.

Of course, I’ve also tried following other “gods” who are conferred with a lot of power in the USA. Idols like white privilege and neoliberalism (sometimes called “capitalism on steroids”). These demonic ideologies promise peace and blessings to all those who will sacrifice and show their devotion, but I have never been satisfied with fear-based religion. Their promises are empty.

I follow Jesus because he’s inspired me into action and taken my life in whole new directions (on so many occasions). Jesus filled me up and set my face toward God in a new way. This came as a real surprise to me. Even after so many back-and-forths, ups-and-downs, rounds and rounds of joy, confusion, disgrace, shame. I never would have expected what Jesus did to make that “salvation” possible.

Could other faiths have produced this in me? Maybe. But my love for Jesus is not really about my own salvation project. It’s about who Jesus is. No self-reference is truly necessary.

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