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Turning Off Jesus

by Alan Allegra  
7/10/2015 / Devotionals

On our dresser sits a large ceramic nightlight, a cross with cutouts of a sheaf of wheat, a fish, and the name Jesus, illuminated with a comforting green glow. Yes, we turn it on at night and, yes, I like having a nightlight. Must be part of my second childhood.

When we first got it, I would turn it off in the morning, mumbling, "Time to turn off Jesus." I'd catch myself and think, "What a dumb thing to say!" Now, I realize it's not as dumb as actually turning off Jesus.

How does one "turn off" Jesus? Even if he had an on-off switch, we'd need an awfully long extension cord. We can turn off Jesus by insulting him or doing something repulsive.

One way to turn off Jesus is by not believing in him. Sending out his disciples to preach, he warned them about how they might be treated. His gravest warning was for those who would not accept him. He said, "So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32, 33). Nothing turns Jesus off more than refusing to accept him as Savior and Lord. Such refusal turns off the entrance to eternal life.

Jesus proved his deity and mission by working miracles. "[M]any believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing" (John 2:23). Tragically, many saw Jesus display his power yet did not believe on him. In his hometown of Nazareth -- where people were familiar with him -- although they knew him, they were offended by him. "And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief" (Matthew 13:58). Although Jesus is familiar to his own, a lack of trust and honor toward him can turn off his power in us.

Another way to turn off Jesus is to love the things he hates. Jesus hates spiritual darkness and came to bring light to those walking in the darkness of sin. "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). Spiritual darkness is the work of Satan, preventing people from understanding the gospel and knowing who Jesus is. Speaking of unbelievers, Paul said, "In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4). Only God can dispel the darkness: "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Jesus hates darkness, but unbelieving man does not. "And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil" (John 3:19). Loving sin more than Jesus turns off our understanding of the gospel.

Even after one accepts Jesus as Lord, God, and Savior -- and desires to live for him -- it is still possible to turn off Jesus by living a life that disgusts him. The church in Sardis was feeling self-sufficient, blind to their spiritual needs. Their half-hearted faith expressed little love for the Lord they professed. Jesus' surprising reaction: "I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:15, 16). Living a tepid, jaded Christian life nauseates the Lord. Being uncommitted turns off Jesus' delight in us.

One fatal way to turn off Jesus is to shut out his words. Stephen confronted unbelieving religious leaders with incontrovertible proof of Jesus' claim. He spoke of God's works, which highlighted their stiff-necked unbelief. Unable to counter his arguments, but still unwilling to bow the knee to Christ, "they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him" (v. 57). Turning off your ears turns off Jesus' words of life.

Before you throw that spiritual switch, think about whether the light is going on or off.

Alan is Content Coordinator for Lifestyles Over 50 (Thrive Media) and contributor to the Allentown, PA, Morning Call. He is also an adult Sunday school teacher and Bible study leader. Passionate about reviving theology and church methodology, and being a senior citizen!

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