Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president on YouTube and then traveled 17 hours by van to campaign in Iowa. Ted Cruz made his announcement first on Twitter, and later at a university. Rand Paul announced his candidacy in a hotel ballroom. Marco Rubio made his announcement at the Freedom Tower in Miami, known as the “Ellis Island of the South.”
The presidency is arguably the most powerful and prestigious office in the world. Why would its candidates work so hard to be so down-to-earth?
Because we live in the age of social media. President Obama tweets to his 58 million followers. Taylor Swift used Tumblr to share that her mother had been diagnosed with cancer. When we hear from celebrities, we feel we know them. There was a day when familiarity bred contempt. Today it breeds loyalty.
We want to know our president. What about our Lord? (Tweet this)
I was talking recently with a well-known pastor in our city. As we discussed the health of the church in our culture, he asked me what I considered the greatest challenge pastors face today. My answer was simple: staying in love with Jesus.
As a pastor for 25 years, I was constantly tempted to focus more on my work than my Lord. It’s been said that people do not do what you expect—they do what you inspect. Not once in 25 years did a church leader inspect my relationship with Jesus. I was evaluated by the popularity of my teaching and the effectiveness of the church’s programs. But no one ever asked me if I was in love with Jesus.
When I am working for Jesus more than I am walking with him, life becomes drudgerous, people can be frustrating, and the day loses its joy. But when I am in love with Jesus, everything changes. He speaks to me and through me. He gives me his grace and patience for people. He infuses my spirit with his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Even—especially—in the hard places, I experience his presence and power.
Nothing we do in human strength frightens Satan. Human words cannot change human hearts. (Tweet this) This Cultural Commentary will have no enduring value unless Jesus inspires its words and his Spirit uses them for divine purposes. Nor will anything you do today last beyond today unless Jesus makes your temporal work eternally significant.
Here’s the good news: you can know Jesus more intimately than you know your spouse or your best friend. Your risen Lord is praying for you right now (Romans 8:34) and knocking at the door of your heart (Revelation 3:20). If you ask him to make himself real to you, he will. Then the Bible will speak to your spirit as his Spirit speaks to your heart. Prayer will become communion. The day’s events will become opportunity for divine revelation. All because the living Christ is alive in you, changing you and changing the world through you.
When last did you ask Jesus to make himself real to you? Paul summarized his life purpose simply: “I want to know Christ” (Philippians 3:10). Do you?