1 TIMOTHY 3:16-17

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us...God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

JOHN - Do You Believe...Really?

When I was a teenager, and into my 20’s, there was a spiritual re-awakening called the “Jesus Movement.”

It was a movement toward Christianity that began in the United States in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. (Yes, I know – I’m dating myself here…)

It began as an outgrowth of the hippie counterculture that was so popular at that time. Staunch, strict, staid Protestantism was invaded by those who adopted a looser, more inclusive Christianity. Members of the movement were called “Jesus people” or “Jesus freaks.”

“Jesus freak” was a derogatory term, used to dismiss these people in a negative way. It was often said in a sneering manner – “Oh…you’re a JESUS FREAK.”

The movement focused on universal love and pacifism. You know, the whole “peace, love, and Jesus” kind of mentality. “Jesus freaks” relished and focused on the radical nature of Jesus’ message. They often carried and distributed copies of the “Good News for Modern Man,” a 1966 translation of the Bible that only included the New Testament in its first editions. This translation brought the Word of God to a younger generation, speaking in their language – it was a new departure from the traditional, more formal King James Version.

Now, let me clarify. I’m not condemning this movement. Some aspects of the Jesus movement were based on good values. Many people were reached and converted to a genuine saving faith in Jesus Christ. However, for some, it was nothing more than the “thing to do” – and their “faith” fell by the wayside.

I was reminded of the “Jesus Movement” when I read today’s “Bible Pick ‘Ems” from John 2:23-25:

“Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature. No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like.”

Does this sound harsh on Jesus’ part?

Why would He mistrust people who were putting their faith in Him?

The Amplified Bible adds a shade of meaning that I think clarifies things.

“…many believed in His name [identified themselves with His party]…”

It was this new “movement” that they were putting their belief in – not in Jesus’ “message" - not in Jesus HIMSELF.

At one point in time, my church’s high school group was overflowing with people. The most popular kids in town were there, the nerds were there...
(FYI – I was in the nerd crowd…) – everyone was there. It was the cool, socially correct thing to do.

Were there some genuine conversions? Absolutely.

Just as many of the people who followed Jesus genuinely believed in Him. But some had a superficial faith. They were there because it was the “thing to do.”

And Jesus knew, because He was discerning.

He knows the human heart.

Some of the same people proclaiming their belief in Him at this time would later yell, “Crucify Him!”

It’s easy to “believe” when it’s exciting and everyone else believes the same way. I think that’s exactly what happened with the “Jesus Movement.” It was a bandwagon that many jumped on. But when the ride got a little bumpy – when faith required right living, when faith required unpopular decisions, when faith required persecution and sufferingWHOA! Stop the bus – I’m getting off!

Jesus knew.

I wonder if He reflected on this passage – Jeremiah 17:9-10

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives.

Or maybe this one – 1 Samuel 16:7

“The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

I will not set myself up as the judge of another person’s heart. I will not presume to know the state or validity of their faith. NO WAY! I’m too busy attending to my own heart, my own faith journey. And even then, I’m not always to be trusted with self-judgment! I’m with Paul on this:

“It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.” (1 Corinthians 4:3)

But the question I leave you with is this.

Is your faith for real?

Will you keep your faith firm even when it ISN’T popular to follow Jesus?

Oh Lord, thank you for the assurance of salvation. Thank you for the gift of faith. Keep me from judging others. Keep me from judging myself – do not let me be deceived. Give me a right spirit, Lord. A spirit of truth and discernment. Let me seek You wholeheartedly and honestly. You alone know my heart. Convict me where I need correction. Convince me where I need assurance. Give me the desire and the power to follow You – with all of my heart, my soul, my strength, and my mind.

Yeah…I guess I am a “Jesus freak!”

“When in doubt, search God out!”


  1. I do believe I will hold on to my faith and Jesus even if it becomes unpopular or would be unpopular to follow him because without him, who do I have? He is my only hope indeed! I too remember the Jesus Movement (okay we are that old, LOL :) But you are right, God looks at the heart and he knows who is sincere in their faith and commitment and who isn't. I always found it amazing that people enjoyed the good things of Jesus when he walked the earth, being fed by him, healed by him, entertained by him with his parables, etc but when it came down to the end when he wouldn't "deliver" and be the earthly king they wanted, they walked away and rejected him.

    very good thoughts today Sharon!


  2. Hi Sharon,

    Great message. The scripture that comes to mind is the parable of the soils, when Jesus talked about the various conditions of the heart. The wayward soil that is shallow and that people trample on; the rocky soil and the thorny soil. People whose hearts resemble these don't produce a harvest. The cares and worries of the world choke the Word of God; the Word doesn't take root, and when persecution comes, they fall away.

    Thanks for shedding light on the Jesus Movement. I have heard of it and I know that The Living Bible came from that movement. I love that paraphrase. The Living Bible in that generation is like the Message bible in our generation.

    But to answer your question. Yes, my faith is real. Halleluja!


  3. Nita - Yes, amen! What a tremendous gift our faith is!

    Betty - How true! We are nothing without Him. Without Him, where would we go? I agree with you, too - how could these people WALK with Him, face to face, and then reject Him? I suppose it's human nature to try to fit HIM into OUR little molds. I pray that He continues to grow my faith, to make it more and more "real."

    Judy - It's funny. I was thinking of that parable, too. It really is so sad how many people listen to the message, but they don't HEAR. I also loved The Living Bible. I enjoy reading The Living Translation now. I like the simplicity of the words. (The Message is also good - maybe not for study, per se - but for seeing and hearing shades of meaning).

    PRAISE THE LORD - my faith is real, too!


  4. Yes, I remember the Jesus movement. :)

    Great post, Sharon. Another scripture that comes to mind is 1 Samuel 16:7b "For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."

    These days, being a Christian is not the popular thing to do, but praise God for those whose faith is genuine.


  5. Found your blog through Alisa's. Love this post. I think I'm becoming more of a Jesus Freak every day. The more I see Him do, the more I can't help myself. Thanks for sharing. Awesome. BTW - love your profile pic!

  6. Joan - Thanks. I'm glad I'm not the only one out there who remembers the 60's and 70's! That is a great Scripture, too. I am somehow reassured that God knows me, and a little intimidated by it - you know what I mean? I just ask Him to weed out all the things that keep my faith from being genuine!

    Alene - WELCOME! Thanks so much for stopping by! I am definitely becoming more of a Jesus freak, too. He is just too wonderful for words!
    (p.s. Thanks for the compliment on my profile picture! I'm just a western gal stuck in urban California - some day...
    Would love to have you visit my "daily" blog:
    www.sharonsharinggod.blogspot.com (Sharon Sharing God)

    GOD BLESS - and thanks for your insights!

  7. praying I am strong even in persecution!! Praise Jesus when others call us Jesus Freaks!! :)

  8. Mariel - It seems like persecution is getting stronger lately, doesn't it? I will join you in praying that God keeps us courageous! Jesus Freaks Unite!!


  9. Amen Sharon. I am also a "Jesus Freak". Christ is my one true obssession. It is a personal walk and if no one else was following Jesus,I will still love and follow him. ( I can only say that by grace, of course). I see what you mean though. A lot of big churches draw crowds that love the social aspect but not the cross that comes with being a follower of Christ. Very true post.

  10. Toyin - Thanks for your comments. I wasn't sure if people were going to be offended by what I said, but I'm glad you understood what I meant. Jesus is a pretty good obsession to have, isn't He?! Our walk with Him is intensely personal - just Him, just each one of us. I'm also grateful for the grace to be faithful to Him.



"So I have been greatly encouraged in the midst of my troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives me new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How I thank God for you!"
(1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!