A Life Aligned with Jesus

by Petey Crowder, Executive Pastor

One of the things I’ve noticed about living in Minnesota in the winter is that every once in a while, I’ll get in my car and I’ve got a warning light that the air pressure in my tires is low. Isn’t it amazing that over time, little by little, the cold temperatures cause air to leak? And it doesn’t even cross our minds until one day, seemingly out of nowhere, a light is flashing on our dashboard.

But isn’t this how life with Jesus often looks? Over time, little by little, our enthusiasm and engagement in our faith wanes. If forced to confront it, we imagine that we are “steady” in our faith. Then one day, usually when we bump up against something challenging, we discover, to our surprise, that our faith is running dangerously low.

As Christians, we believe Jesus has done something that changes everything. The freedom, forgiveness, and grace He freely offers us is radical. It should matter. It should make a difference. It should be revolutionary.

So why does our faith sometimes seem flat?

Our current sermon series in Ephesians is called “Out of Joint: Finding Alignment in Christ,” and our hope is to remind you of the ways Jesus reorients our lives—our words, our thoughts, our actions, and even our hopes and dreams.

In fact, Ephesians is essentially split in two as a letter. The first half primarily focuses on our beliefs. You might say it’s inviting us to make the Jesus story our story, to see reality by the truth that Jesus brings into our lives and the world. The author, Paul, wants us to desire for the world what God desires for the world: forgiveness, healing, reconciliation, and an invitation to God’s family.

The second half of Ephesians makes a turn towards how we live our lives. Whereas the first part of the letter is about beliefs, the second half is about behavior. This is important—Jesus didn’t redeem us just so that we could think the right things, but so that we could live the kinds of lives that would flood the earth with God’s love. Once our hearts are aligned with God’s heart, we are then challenged to align our everyday lives with God’s vision for a flourishing humanity. We are called to practice, in our daily work and relationships, what it looks like for our lives to be aligned with Jesus.

Sometimes life blindsides us, but often it just subtly nudges us off track. Over time, we find that we’ve strayed—we’re behaving in ways that don’t match our values, we’re saying things to people that don’t match our hearts, we’re believing lies about ourselves that we know aren’t true.

We don’t need to be reoriented to Christ once; instead, it is an ongoing work to be aligned with Jesus.

Ephesians pulls us back to Jesus over and over and over again. It reminds us that our hope is not found in ourselves, our world, or our society. Our hope is found in Jesus, and alignment with Him is beautifully our beginning, our middle, and our end.