Sisters, Jesus Is Not Your Cheerleader

If you’re mainly hearing “you’re great!” from your devotional or women’s ministry, I invite you back to God’s Word, where we hear the voice of Jesus in a diversity of ways.

If your devotional, Bible study group, or conference is more focused on who you are than who Jesus is, it’s time to pick up a new book or find another group. We desperately need to know more about Jesus, for in him we find everything we need.

 

There’s a common trend among many women’s events, popular books, and blogs today. Whether it’s devotionals that speak words directly from Jesus, or women’s conferences that focus us on fulfilling a grand purpose, it seems we’ve whittled down the words of Jesus to only those of encouragement, support, and affirmation. We’re comfortable hearing him (and one another) say: You’re wonderful! You’ve got this, girl! Be yourself! You can do it!

And, to be clear, Jesus does encourage. He offers words of strength to the weary and comfort to the hurting. In a world where we so often feel we don’t measure up, we need his encouragement daily. By focusing on only part of his message, however, I’m concerned that we’ve reduced Jesus to a spiritual cheerleader. And, in turn, that’s what we’ve become to one another. We offer words of affirmation, but not rebuke; words of forgiveness, but not repentance. We rightly celebrate his grace, but often forget to mourn our sin.

I’m concerned that we’ve reduced Jesus to a spiritual cheerleader. And, in turn, that’s what we’ve become to one another.

In doing so, we miss out on life-giving realities in our relationship with Jesus and one another. It’s the friends willing to call me out in my sin and say hard things whom I trust the most. They’re the ones I return to time and again for advice and wisdom—precisely because they recognize that who I am isn’t all I need to be.

Jesus speaks to us in a variety of ways—he teaches, commands, rebukes, calls, and exhorts. When we reduce Jesus to our personal rah-rah section in the bleachers, we miss out on the faithful friend we so desperately need. If you’re mainly hearing “you’re great!” (cue Tony the Tiger) from your devotional or women’s ministry, I invite you back to God’s Word, where we hear the voice of Jesus in a diversity of ways.

Jesus Teaches: ‘I Am’

In the Gospels, it’s clear Jesus thinks one person is supremely important for us to know about: himself. He teaches in every way at every turn about who he is: I am the bread of life. I am the light of the world. I am the door. I am the good shepherd. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am the true vine. I am that I am.

For some, this list might evoke images of a self-centered guy who manages to bring every conversation back to himself. But with Jesus, he teaches us about himself because he knows our understanding of himself is the thing we most need.

If your devotional, Bible study group, or conference is more focused on who you are than who Jesus is, it’s time to pick up a new book or find another group. We desperately need to know more about Jesus, for in him we find everything we need.

If your devotional, Bible study group, or conference is more focused on who you are than who Jesus is, it’s time to pick up a new book or find another group.

Jesus Commands: ‘Obey My Word’

Jesus wants us to obey God in everything we do and say. While the Pharisees tried to lower the standard of obedience so they could meet it, Jesus calls us to true obedience—not just in word and deed, but in our desires and affections too. He wants our whole lives, so he bids us to keep his commands: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).

Jesus wants us to obey, but not out of duty or drudgery (though at times obedience may feel like both). Jesus wants us to obey because he knows God’s Word reveals God’s best. Walking in his commands may not always feel joyful, but it leads to a joy-filled life.

Jesus Rebukes: ‘Flee from Sin’

Jesus doesn’t look at our sin and say, “No big deal, just do whatever makes you happy.”

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