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The 8lb 6oz Baby Jesus Phenomenon

Talladega Nights is an all time favorite movie of mine. Not only is it full of great quotes, like the 8lb 6oz baby Jesus, but it’s a story of transformation, and doing what you love because you love to do it. Too often, though, we think this transformation is something we can achieve on our own. We’ll even create an 8lb 6oz baby Jesus to help. Not even Ricky Bobby pulled this off.

Many of us are guilty of creating our own Jesus. Tim Keller talks about this in his sermon series on the book of Mark. We’re quick to say we love Jesus. We love his compassion, his ability to heal, and to love. We love his wisdom. But to think of him as he thought of himself (king, savior, equal to God), we slam on the brakes.

We don’t want a ruler over our lives. We want our freedom.  The problem with this is that the Jesus we create can’t change us. A Jesus we create can’t transform us. It can’t bring us to a better way of life. It can’t stretch us, teach us, or lead us effectively. Do you know why? We created it! We’re merely following our own advice, again. It’ll get us nowhere.

Not even Ricky Bobby could do it. Ricky had to go through the fire. He needed Jean Claude to challenge him, his dad to push him past his fears, and his girlfriend to love him for him.

No matter where we’re at, Jesus will meet us there. If we have a huge ego, great – Jesus can assist. If we’re as timid as a mouse – great – Jesus can help. If we think we’re fine, that there’s nothing wrong with us, great – Jesus can help. If we’re on the fence about Jesus, great – Jesus can help.

The help has to be Jesus though, not selected aspects or interpretations of him. Jesus thinks big! He came to announce a new world order (an Empire of God), one ruled by God – he never backs down from this position – not once. He invites us to discover this kingdom, to his way of thinking, and to his way of living. As Keller notes, he invites us to God’s dance.

We miss the invitation though because we’re wrapped up in our own desires – we’re enslaved by a consumer culture that screams this and that will make us happy, and that we’re in charge. Not even Jesus followed his own will. Why do we think we can?

Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson

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