The Missing Component

componentI was praying for a close friend the other day. She has everything in the world going for her. She’s very happily married, has a beautiful and healthy baby, a great job, and lives in a nice house in a cool California beach town with lots of friends and family around. I was thanking God for all of these and then started to say, “There’s one component missing,” when I choked on the word “component.” Since by definition, “component” means “a part of a larger whole,” Jesus is not a component to anything. He’s no cog in the machine. He made the machine, maintains it, and gives it meaning. He’s what the machine is all about. He’s not really a part of anything and there’s no larger whole than him! He’s missing in my friend’s life, but not as a component.

I searched for a term that better describes who God is, or is supposed to be, in a person’s life, when I realized he couldn’t even be thought of as “in a person’s life.” I remembered the verse: “When Christ, who is your life, appears…” and the one where Jesus said he was “the way, the truth, and the life.” Then there’s, “He who has the Son has life and he who doesn’t has no life.” So how can Jesus simultaneously be a component to my life and be my life? How can he be “the life” and at the same time be something added to my life? We often talk about Jesus being “in” someone’s life, but is that really the same as having him “as” their life?

Jesus is not an “essential component” to life, a key piece, or even the most essential piece. He’s not a piece or a part of anything. How can he be part of something when he made all the parts of everything? He’s either what life is or he’s not. Some people claim to know him yet treat him as less than a part, like a spare part, one of those extra things you keep in a drawer in case something breaks down. They treat him as one who’s always there, waiting patiently so they can use him to replace a broken part. He doesn’t really work like that.

For this reason I’ve never been a fan of the phrase, “accept Jesus into your heart,” as though he was some starving puppy out in the cold looking for a warm place to sleep! He doesn’t need acceptance or a warm heart to inhabit. He’s what makes our hearts beat.

It got a little tricky as I prayed and tried to picture my friend with Jesus as her life (as opposed to “in” her life). What would that look like? When Jesus is someone’s life is there some standardized way of showing it? Of course, there are telling signs in a person’s character and how they act when Jesus is the Center. Their morals and motivations transform. They’ll change on the inside and it will show up on the outside. That’s a no brainer.

But there is no standard calling, career choice, or personality type for the one whose life is Jesus. They might show it as a missionary, a social worker, or a barista. A Jesus-owned person might be an extroverted devil-may-care-evangelizing-fool-for-Christ or a quiet and retiring unassuming selfless servant. So I decided that formulating a mental image of her as a lover of Jesus might not be the best way to pray for her.

I don’t know how it would look if my friend let Jesus come in and take his rightful seat on the throne of her heart, as Savior, Best Friend, and Life; but I pray for her and look forward to finding out.

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