If you have been a follower of Jesus for more than a few seconds, you realize that (to use a Southernism) “it ain’t easy.” To think otherwise is to miss the point. In fact, His very mission on earth was not easy. Why would we, as His followers, think that following Him would be? In being our way of salvation Jesus took the narrow road, and he calls His followers to do the same. This is what Jason Mitchell discusses in his new book No Easy Jesus (Tyndale).
Throughout the book Mitchell draws a distinction between the easy Jesus and the real Jesus. He defines the easy Jesus as a convenient savior that is there when we need him and stays out of the way for the most part. This is a Jesus that is made in our own image. On the other hand, the real Jesus is the Jesus described in the Bible. He is the Savior who stepped out of the glory of heaven and dwelt among us. He didn’t shy away from the hard stuff. The real Jesus got into our mess and was crucified in our place. The real Jesus defeated death and rose again on the third day.
Following the easy Jesus doesn’t take much effort. It is…well…easy. This is a version of Jesus that doesn’t require much out of those who follow him. Following the real Jesus, however, takes grit as Mitchell puts it in the book. It isn’t easy to leave all and follow Him. The real Jesus calls us to get messy like He did. This means that we might get hurt, because we have skin in the game. It is not enough to say that we have faith in Jesus, we must also be obedient to His call. A life lived by faith in Jesus will always lead to living in faithfulness to Jesus.
Following the real Jesus also means not pretending that we have it all together. But being willing to be vulnerable by admitting and living with our weaknesses. It means saying no to certain desires and temptations and constantly reminding ourselves that Jesus is enough for us. The real Jesus calls us to forgive, to trust Him in times of need, grow in our pain, seek His best with intimacy, steward well the gifts/resources He has given us, and love others like He does. This way of living isn’t easy, but over time it can because second nature as we humbly surrender to the Holy Spirit.
No Easy Jesus is a great reminder to stop evaluate what version of Jesus we are following. Are we following the easy Jesus of our own imagination, or are we following the real Jesus as revealed in Scripture. I reccomend this book as a good resource to anyone who is tired of following the easy road and is serious about following the real Jesus. It is full of real life stories of people who have counted the cost and remind that it is worth it.
I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers as a member of the Tyndale Bloggers Network program in exchange for an honest review of the book.