[box type=”info”]Editor’s Note: We welcome guest commentary from Lakelanders. Terry Brigman takes a moment to reflect on his personal beliefs…[/box]
No, I don’t want you to avoid me because you think I am a “Jesus Freak.” But I do want you to know that there is nothing more important to me in life than being a follower of Christ. Unfortunately, I’m too focused on this physical body and the earth that it is bound to. I think about my needs, my wants, my family, my job, my pains, my worries, my plans, my, my, my, my to the point you may not even know I have a relationship with Jesus. And that worries me more than anything.
At the same time I don’t think it is in my capacity or make-up to stand on the street corner and yell “Jesus Loves You” to every passer-by. I’m not sure that is very effective anyway. But what I do want to show you each and every day is that God wants me to love you. He wants me to be of service to you. He wants me to be like his son, Jesus.
Jesus Freak is typically used in a negative connotation. You might be talking about the latest TV evangelist to fall by the wayside, or the family member that is particularly annoying and pushy every time they are in the same room with you – “Where are you going to church, are you reading your Bible, are you still drinking beer, oh my dearrr gawd I’ll pray for you.” And all you can think about them is: Why don’t you get a job and support your wife and kids like you are supposed to?
Jesus Christ wants his followers to be real. Jesus Freaks are fakes. Christ followers are real. The freaks will be confrontational and attack your life style with anger and bitterness. They don’t mind being hurtful, loud, and showy. And they will always justify their own actions and decisions no matter what. They will justify to the point of self-righteousness. They will come across as aggressive and divisive. This is not the Jesus I read about in the Bible or the Jesus that I have come to know.
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus was real and he never failed to speak the truth. And the truth sometimes, usually always, grips our heart because we know we are just not there yet. And we are usually not trying very hard to get there. Jesus forgives but he is not weak on what he requires. Just like a good father knows what is best for his children, God the Father works through his son Jesus to show us what is best for us. In fact, what is required of us. He even inspired over 40 authors to write down his history and his commands for us to learn and live by. And now, over 2000 years later the truths remain the same.
Christ does not expect his followers to be perfect. He does expect us to live a life of love for God and love for others. Through him the Christian will exhibit not only love, but also joy & peace in their heart, patience towards others, goodness in all we do and think, kindness toward others and all God’s creatures, faithfulness to God, to family, to friends, gentleness in dealings with others and self-control in all situations. And guess what, God expects this of me towards those that choose to be my enemies.
I thank God that day by day, I see more clearly what is truly important. Yes, I still make mistakes and those closest to me don’t mind pointing that out with a “way to go there Bible-Boy.” I thank God for this as well. And as things become clearer, it becomes more and more important to me to share Christ with everyone I meet. Especially those close to me.
So forgive me if I mention Jesus because I want you to know him. Maybe that is enough to make me a Jesus Freak, but I hope you just say, “well he is a Christ follower you know. We love him anyway.”
[box type=”shadow”]Terry Brigman has grown up and lived in Lakeland since 1961. His joy is his lovely wife and two daughters. He enjoys serving the community through the United Way of Central Florida Board, Polk Vision Board, Publix Employees Federal Credit Union Board, Achievement Academy Advisory Board, Leadership Lakeland, and Oasis Community Church. He is employed as the CIO for the City of Lakeland.[/box]