Perhaps you have heard of him. He tends to pop-up in uncomfortable conversations about religion. He is often used as a trump card to get out of any form of personal responsibility or culpability. Who is he? The ‘MyJesus.’ Never heard of him? Let me give you a few one liners that he is often referenced in by believers in him:
“MyJesus isn’t judgmental. He wouldn’t judge me by my actions.”
“MyJesus is all about love. He would never condemn my extra-marital sexual relationships.”
“I have a special relationship with MyJesus and he said that I can continue in my selfish acts because MyJesus knows my heart.”
“I don’t believe in that Jesus, I believe in MyJesus.”
Sometimes MyJesus takes on a more legalistic tone:
“MyJesus doesn’t like people who go to that church.”
“MyJesus would not approve of your style of worship.”
“MyJesus would read this version of the Bible.”
Now you recognize him. This impostor who has snuck into the chambers of the human mind by creeping through the dank muck of bad theology has done all he can to distort the message of the Gospel. Many people feel that they can manipulate the real Jesus into agreeing with them on any matter and what they end up with is the mythical MyJesus.
I’m not trying to be flippant, nor am I trying to downplay the importance of having a personal relationship with Jesus, but there are several inherent problems with the MyJesus. First of all, he doesn’t exist. He’s a myth. A figment of the mind. An imaginary friend. He is based off of the desires of a sinful heart, not on the reality of God. Second, He is weak. If he can be manipulated by the desires of a finite human being he doesn’t stand a chance against the schemes of Satan. This weakness leads to a third problem with MyJesus: he’s incapable of providing salvation. If MyJesus is persuaded by a sinful heart that means he is incapable of renewing the sinner’s heart. Finally, and perhaps most dangerous, MyJesus provides a false sense of security. Believers in him actually think that God is either (a) okay with their sinful, unrepentant hearts or (b) impressed with their legalistic list of accomplishments. Because of this they are duped into thinking that they don’t need discipleship, mentoring or accountability because, obviously, MyJesus approves of them.
Here is my desire: I don’t want to follow MyJesus. I want to follow Jesus. The real Jesus that jumps off of the pages of Scripture like the roaring Lion of Judah is strong enough to save. He is not so weak as to be manipulated by my whims and desires, nor is He so uncaring as to allow me to continue in sin without confronting my heart with the Holy Spirit. If I am legalistic, He reminds me of grace. If I am sinful, He reminds of righteousness. How? Through the cross. You see, MyJesus didn’t die on a cross for you and I, but Jesus did. The cross reminds me of God’s loving grace as I meditate on the fact that Jesus didn’t have to die, but rather He chose to in order to take from me my filthy rags of sin and give to me His robe of righteousness. But the cross also reminds me that God hates sin. He abhors it. Sin sickens the Holy God. The beaten, bloody body of Jesus is an ugly reminder of how God feels about the sin in our life. MyJesus doesn’t confront sin, but the real Jesus confronted it and defeated at Calvary, and we know sin is defeated because Jesus rose from the grave to show His superiority over sin and sin’s consequence, death.
MyJesus may allow you to wallow in your own sinfulness or false sense of pride, but Jesus won’t. He wants to do something that the mythical MyJesus cannot do; He wants to renew your heart. The Gospel is not about cheap grace, nor is it about behavior modification. The Gospel was, is and always will be about changed hearts and lives. May you encounter the power of the risen Jesus.