When I got my first varsity letter I couldn’t wait to get a letter jacket.
That thing was like $100, but I swore it was going to be worth it and I couldn’t imagine a day when I wouldn’t want to rock it.
Fun fact, letter jackets might be one of the most uncomfortable pieces of clothing a human can wear. They’re outrageously hot and trying to move around in leather sleeves gets old fast.
Regardless, I wore it, like a badge of honor because I mean, I was a high school athlete and I wanted to be known as part of that group of people. The jacket did this, it let people know how I classified myself.
Outside of making a statement, however, wearing that jacket nor calling myself an “athlete” really didn’t have any other impact on me. It didn’t change the way I thought and it sure didn’t change the way I acted most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I ran my fair share of suicides, if you can still call them that, and I went through the motions of tons of practices, but that was pretty much where it ended for me in high school.
The title didn’t change my thought process, it didn’t change how I used my time, and it darn sure didn’t change my priorities.
I was still the same goofy, lazy kid who secretly much preferred to spend his time making jokes than putting in the type of work it takes to be a great athlete. Hence the bench riding.
I think we have a tendency to treat Christianity a lot like a letter jacket.
I think we’re often real excited to take the name “Christian” and punch our church attendance cards, and then kind of just let it end there.
But taking the title “Christian” really can’t be limited like that because really deciding to follow Jesus changes absolutely everything about life.
It changes every thought. It changes every action. It changes every minute of every day.
It’s probably taken me far too long to realize this, but really following Jesus means that my life is no longer my life, it’s to be lived for someone else, because of someone else.
That changes how I think about things. That changes how I make decisions. That changes the relationships I have with other people. And that darn sure changes my priorities.
Granted, there’s a lot of times I suck at following through with this, but the very fact that I even consciously realize this is unlike how I would be living otherwise.
Sometimes it seems like kind of a ridiculous thought that my highest priorities would be centered on a man who lived some 2000 years ago, but you know, it was Jesus who was first ridiculous. It was Jesus who decided a self-absorbed wreck like me was not only worth loving, but was worth being murdered for.
That type of glorious and wonderful ridiculousness deserves a lot more from me than simply pinning a letter on my jacket.