Having An Affair With Jesus

I’m currently reading a book entitled, “The Senior Pastor and the Reformation of Youth Ministry” by Richard Ross. It’s really challenging my perspective on the “why” and “how” behind student ministry and what a healthy student ministry should look like–but that’s a topic for another day.

Eighteen pages into the book, Ross references some comments made by a well-known worship leader. Here are the two paragraphs that have wrecked me for the last couple of weeks:

Often it feels to me as if, for many of our people, singing praise songs and hymns on a Sunday morning has turned into an affair with Christ. . . . Too many of us are far more passionate about less, temporal concerns such as getting ahead at the office, finding personal happiness in a hobby, driving a new car, or rearing well-balanced children. But we rarely ever get that excited about Christ Himself, at least on any consistent basis.

Except when we enter a sanctuary on a Sunday. Then for awhile we end up sort of “swooning” over Christ with feel-good music and heart-stirring prayers–only to return to the daily grind of secular seductions to which, for all practical purposes, we’re thoroughly “married.” . . . Christ is more like a “mistress” to us. He’s someone with whom we have these periodic affairs to to reinvigorate our spirits so that we can return, refreshed, to engage all the other agendas that dominate us most of the time.

I wonder how many of us are merely having “an affair with Christ”? I’m not casting stones here. I’ll be the first to acknowledge my guilt of singing and raising my hands from the stage on a Sunday only to turn back to the “secular seductions” (work, schedules, finances, and yes, sometimes ministry) when the alarm clock goes off on Monday morning.

I don’t have this figured out yet. In Paul’s all-too-familiar words, “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” (Romans 7:18) But “thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25) who calls us his Bride, even when we treat him like a mistress.

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