However, only with Jesus is the opposite actually true. That took a while for me to figure out.
I didn’t want anything to do with Jesus when I was in my late teens and early twenties because I knew what giving away authority and freedom meant. I had seen it and studied it in college, and found that history shows the surrender of authority and freedom in the hope of gain is a terribly false hope with tragic consequences. Frankly, I think we’re on that path in America—I can see it. Naturally, I thought then that giving Jesus authority in my life meant the same thing, only cosmic. BIGGER equals WORSE. Way worse. So, naturally and wisely, I thought, I avoided Jesus . . . until I couldn’t. More accurately, until I didn’t want to anymore.
In sum, Jesus is The Great Contradiction to what I’ve found true in this world that competes for authority and freedom—including yours. Jesus has never taken mine away. Never. Not once. Instead, He has given me all of His. What a contradiction.
I have never felt that Jesus was trying to over-rule me or dominate me or take away what I am. From the day that I received Him, my days have been all about discovering what I have received instead of what I’ve lost. Here’s what I’ve found. Jesus actually IS freedom, and He exercises His authority to make sure that I have freedom and that I and enjoy it. Anything less than freedom is not the Jesus I know. I love Him for it! All that He is to me and all that He has for me is the antithesis and the antidote for what passes for authority and freedom in this world. That is why I hope and that is why I work for you to find the same with Him.
I think that when people look to a national or worldly government to find this, or to the government in their church gathering, the government over their employment, the government in the clubs and organizations they join, they’re lost and they’re going to act like it—How can they not?—because they’re maddeningly searching in the wrong place. They’ve been detoured. It will always be terribly painful and disillusioning. Fortunately, Jesus offers himself as the end of the search:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (And these weren’t people who were only burdened by their own problems, but by the government over them.) Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (Parenthesis mine.)
Right now when many of us are at least somewhat focused upon the kind of leadership and government we want for ourselves, Jesus says and proves, “I am.” And I can tell you, He is. He is the great contradiction you need.
(This is the transcript of the video, “The Great Contradiction You Need,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, click https://youtu.be/Pi0nnFcWRxc.)