Silly Things Christians Say: Ask Jesus Into Your Heart | RELEVANT Magazine

Editor’s observe: This piece initially ran on It was republished right here with permission.

All it’s a must to do is ask Jesus into your coronary heart. Im certain youve heard it earlier than. Its the basic evangelism tagline, and it makes me consider these adverts on Fb: Studying guitar doesnt should be sophisticated anymore! Discover ways to play superb solos in simply 15 minutes with my new methodology! Heres how I realized to make 1,000,000 {dollars} a month working 10 hours per week! Discover ways to obtain mindfulness and dwell an built-in life in three classes!

Or for my private favourite, take a look at this gem that popped up in my newsfeed yesterday:

Now, please, dont get me fallacious. I don’t consider that making a call to observe Christ has any stipulations, as if you needed to qualify for it like taking out a mortgage or a automotive mortgage. However I feel there are a number of very problematic issues with this worn-out clich.

Jesus doesnt dwell in your coronary heart

Jesus nonetheless has a human physique, and that physique has ascended as King to be seated on the proper hand of the Father. And no matter that metaphorical language means (for the reason that Father is not human and does not have a bodily physique, so far as we all know), on the very least it means Jesus continues to be residing and respiration, not establishing a campsite in your pulmonary valve. This isnt some bizarre spin-off collection of the Magic College Bus, the place he shrinks himself down to maneuver into your arteries.

Now, Paul does say that we’re full of the Spirit of Christ, and plenty of instances over we hear that we’re full of the third particular person of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself promised that he can be with us at all times, however he stated this within the context of claiming that the Father would ship the Holy Spirit to fill us and work via us.

I dont wish to cut up hairs, right here. I dont suppose anybody of their proper thoughts thinks that any of my caricatures above are true. Individuals who discuss asking Jesus into their hearts would just about all agree (I hope) that being full of the Spirit of Christ or the Holy Spirit is what theyre truly speaking aboutand I dont have an issue with that. However once we use that language, it may be tempting to neglect one of the crucial essential, radical, shocking, and completely unprecedented doctrines: that God grew to become human and continues to be human within the physique of Jesus of Nazareth. 

God-in-Jesus stooped from his place of otherness to change into utterly united with humanity, and in so doing he paved the way in which for all of humanity to be re-united with God. There’s already one human within the throne-room of God, and because the new Adam he opened the door for the remainder of us. As Athanasius wrote, He grew to become what we’re that we’d change into what he’s. And we’d do effectively to think twice about our use of language, lest we neglect or diminish that marvelous reality.

Jesus didnt ask us to ask him into our hearts

We’ve loads of examples of Jesus himself calling folks to be disciples, and he by no means used the Sinners Prayer or the simply ask me into your coronary heart lingo. He stated issues like observe me, take up your cross, and go away every part behind. I dont suppose I want to clarify how important the distinction is between these two on-ramps into a lifetime of discipleship.

The thought of salvation (one other factor Jesus described with completely totally different language than we do) being lowered to a easy ask is pitiful. This isnt as a result of I feel we have to attempt to make folks do extra to get saved. Its as a result of I feel we’re betraying the very coronary heart of the Kingdom of God once we cut back salvation to some cookie-cutter sentences.

Im not advocating that we have to earn Gods forgiveness and acceptance. Its that I feel we have to supply folks extra and name them to extra if we would like salvation to have any actual which means in any respect. In my thoughts, the supply/name to pledge my allegiance to the Kingdom of God is compelling, whereas simply ask Jesus into your coronary heart and get your sins forgiven seems like speaking to a Cutco knife salesman or a man in a trench coat promoting me a knockoff Rolodex.

What does it even imply anyway?

Once we use language as imprecise as ask Jesus into your coronary heart, we’ve got to play a complete lot of catchup after the bait and change. To me, it doesnt appear truthful to promote somebody a product and solely later clarify what theyre shopping for. This doesn’t imply we have to lay out all the story of Scripture, all of the teachings of Christ, and all of the theology of the Kingdom of God earlier than somebody can change into a Jesus-follower (though, by the way, the early church did precisely that by requiring at the least two years of attendance and studying earlier than permitting folks to be baptized). However we additionally cant make all of these items right into a phrases of service that we dont explainand no person readsbefore we ask them to test the field and set up the product, so to talk. There needs to be a cheerful center floor right here.

As I say in each publish on this collection: I dont suppose that each one that makes use of one in every of these clich phrases is falling into the entire damaging unwanted side effects that I level out. However as at all times, I feel its vital to critically think about the language we’re utilizing, as a result of our language shapes our understanding of actuality. Grace and peace, everybody.

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