Opening Our Hearts — St. Peter's Fireside | Vancouver, B.C. 

by Roger Revell
September 4, 2014
6 min read

God wants be to featured in our conversations. Not through people who know about him, but through ones who know him. That’s why God became a man. That’s why God put on the face of Jesus of Nazareth and lived among humankind. So that he could relate to us, connect with us, and guide us. Whenever I speak to someone about Jesus, I remember this. It reminds me that it’s not actually odd—even if it can feel awkward at moments—to talk to the people in my life about the person at the centre of my life. This is what Christ is, or is becoming, for a Christian.

Speaking about Jesus—who he is, what he loves, how he loves, and why it matters—should be as natural as speaking to others about a beloved friend, an admired and respected boss, or even a romantic partner. It should come as overflow. As second nature. As something that’s normal and expected.

But it doesn’t always feel this way. And I’m sure that I am not alone in this impression.

Perhaps this familiar unease is linked with fear that conversations about Christ will offend or elicit a hostile reaction. Maybe we worry that talking about Jesus will alienate us from professional and social circles that we value. Perhaps  the thought of conversing about him in ways that are personal and intimate make us squirm. Many of us struggle with topics of a personal and intimate nature.

Whatever the case may be, it’s worth considering how to press past any awkwardness that is associated with talking about Jesus. Not Jesus as a“religious idea”or historical figure, but as the lover of our hearts and the lord of our lives. Much could be offered in this regard, but I’ll limit myself to a few brief reflections. These reminders assist me in overcoming those inner inhibitions or lack of confidence or fear of ostracism that sometimes stymie my freedom to speak about Jesus with others. They help me to be open and authentic about the innermost spiritual affections of my heart, and the God who is their source.

I. Jesus is the architect of a better world

I love Jesus because he’s a concrete example of the type of person I aspire to be: Someone that would make the world a better place. I wish more people were like Jesus. I wish I was more like him. He was, after all, one who came to serve and not to be served, one who loved sacrificially. He was generous with everything he had and a person with a special compassion for the people that slid into the margins of society – the most vulnerable, wounded, and even untouchable of our lot. He was not afraid to expose the fraud, greed, and self-interest that riddles so many of the world’s power structures. He was a good listener, a man who did not fear men, and a person of remarkable love and steadfast commitment. These are all qualities of Jesus that I am more than ready to celebrate. If Jesus is God, then I for one am glad that God is the way that he is!

II. Jesus is the true friend and lover that we all desire and need

I cherish Jesus and knowing him in spiritual intimacy—because there’s nothing that he can’t handle. There’s no mess in my life—or the life of any human—that’s too much for him. Who else is like this? Even the truest of friends, at moments, will falter in their emotional capacities, ability to hold fast, or determination to love. We’re all finite, after all.

Jesus is different. He can’t be overwhelmed by the troubles that plague our lives, or the harmful and selfish things we’ve done. He won’t be dissuaded from loving us as a result of the psychological, relational, and even spiritual brokenness in our lives. Who doesn’t want such a person in their life? Who doesn’t desire, especially in our moments of failure, destitution, and regret, a friend that can’t be pushed away? A companion and advocate who won’t abandon us? This is how Jesus interacts with us.

When I open my heart and life to others—with all the good, bad, and ugly therein—I am more than glad to speak of the one who has been with me in it all. The one that loves me through it all. This is what Romans chapter 8 sings about! This is a love that changes lives and alters destinies. I want more people to know the enduring, compassionate love of Christ.

III. Jesus reveals the beauty of God’s involvement with humanity

I cling to Jesus—and want others to know why—because there’s something utterly beautiful in what he reveals about God. The world is filled with ideas about God. Many are ugly and disturbing. Some of these are, to my dismay, seemingly dignified by claiming to be Christian. If you take Jesus as the clue to the truth about God, however, you’ll encounter the divine in a way that is moving and glorious and uplifting. You’ll see that God is quite different from us. He’s not a bigger, better version of ourselves. He’s not a superhero. In Christ, God shows himself to be a being of astounding goodness and compassion and sacrificial love. This is seen most clearly in the Cross of Christ.

At the Cross, we discover that God delights to empty himself—to forgo his majesty and to assume a posture of unimaginable humility—so that he can be in relationship with us. So that he can be our friend, and caretaker – the one who binds up our broken hearts. Such a vision of God is quite counterintuitive to human notions of power. It’s not a conception of salvation that the human mind would have generated on its own. It’s actually rather bizarre, but beautiful. It touches the heart. And I like to reflect on it with others. I trust it, because it’s mesmerizingly strange.

Perhaps these momentary thoughts will serve you in your own conversations about God. As I see it—when I remember the truth about God found in Christ—there’s nothing more appropriate than wanting to speak about him. To be sure, a bit of practical wisdom is always advised in starting a conversation. A mixture of sensitivity, restraint, boldness, and freedom is in order. But such considerations shouldn’t undermine our determination to speak about God. They should only guide a perfectly natural desire to do so.

about the author
Rev. Roger Revell (affectionately known as 'RoRo') is one of our former associate pastors. He is currently working on a PhD at Cambridge. He is married to the lovely Cindy. They enjoy bringing harmony between America and France. We're grateful for Roger's continued contributions to our blog.

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