It is surprisingly easy to lose Christ. Somehow, in the mix of schedules and priorities and programs and meetings and burdens and anxieties and responsibilities, the person we love and who so loves us gets lost. It’s ironic that the blanket of good things that covers and warms our lives also tends to suffocate our relationship with the one for whom all good things were meant to be done.
For the Christian — and especially the Christian steeped in church tradition, ministry programming, spiritual activity, and biblical fellowship — it is frighteningly easy to lose Christ. Prayer becomes token, spiritual activities become mechanical, and Christ becomes a word on a page and one general priority among many. Like the husband for whom marriage becomes the bi-monthly date night in the day-planner, our loving Lord and most faithful of friends becomes another line on the to-do list.
Perhaps what’s most frightening about losing Christ is the subtlety of the loss. I have lost Christ before, and I didn’t notice right away. I didn’t notice for awhile, in fact. I don’t know if anyone else did, either. The turn from autumn to winter takes time, and the spring dries up long before the stream.
I am not of those who parrot the mantra “It’s-all-about-Jesus” in a minimalistic attempt to deny all practical expressions of holiness and all lower-level priorities. I don’t believe that being tenaciously faithful to our responsibilities or narrowing in on an important project or bearing a hectic schedule for a season make it impossible to be near to Christ. By the Spirit, He Himself stayed near to His Father during His full and laborious time on earth. So I am not part of the “Jesus-as-trump-card” movement where we use the simplicity of Christ to denigrate all organization and planning and thoughtful, purposeful spirituality. Rather, this is just a simple reflection on the ease with which Jesus Himself fades from our affections — and a plea to guard against it.
Jesus is a person. He is more than a person, to be sure, but He is never less. He is our Savior, our Master, our Friend, and the Shepherd whose voice we know. He is our Mediator, and He is our Prophet, our Priest, and our King. And because He has brought us near to God through His sacrificial, unbreakable love, it is never too late to come back to Him again — to deny our task list its sovereignty, to reject the tyranny of the urgent, and to once again regather our hearts in His presence in deep and meaningful communion.
We may lose Christ for a season — in our busyness, in our criticism, in our fanaticism, in our lethargy, in our systematizing — but Christ has never lost us yet. Which is why it is always so wonderfully good — so indescribably refreshing — to come back to the Shepherd; to come back to our Friend of friends; to find Jesus again.