Why it's not enough to be exposed to Jesus

Clayton King

We live in a very religious nation, and this is not a bad thing. Not always.

Because of our freedom to choose to believe in something or nothing, religion has flourished in our democracy. Actually, only one religion has flourished. All the others have had the chance, but none has found the privileged place that Christianity has.

Setting all debates aside concerning whether or not we ever were a Christian nation, no one would argue that all the other religious groups, sects, or cults combined could rival the numbers or influence Christianity has. This brings me to my question: Have most professing American Christians been exposed to the religion of Christianity or have they experienced the reality of Christ?

Have most professing American Christians been exposed to the religion of Christianity or have they experienced the reality of Christ?

The difference between these two is staggering. Exposure to the religion of Christianity is something we all have in common. Exposure comes in all flavors and forms: Vacation Bible School as a kid, a sleepless night tuned into a TV preacher on a local cable access channel, a CNN special on evangelicals and politics, seeing Billy Graham address the nation at the National Cathedral after 9/11, or a Switchfoot song played over the speakers during a meal at Chick-fil-A. All of these things expose the individual to elements of the Christianity. But when someone confuses exposure with experience, the results are not just devastating; they are deadly.

Experiencing the reality of Christ brings more than feelings of religious liberty or a sense of goodness. One can be exposed to facts about abortion, stories about how long Noah’s ark was, testimonials of deliverance from addiction, or voting habits of Baptists in Tennessee, and never once personally experience the breathtaking grace of God.

It’s like this. My entire life I wanted to go to the Grand Canyon. It became an obsession. My exposure to the Grand Canyon began in books I read in elementary school. The pictures mesmerized me. Then later I watched specials on PBS where they actually showed videos of the Grand Canyon covered in snow, during thunderstorms, people hiking to the bottom. I had taken everyone else’s word on how magnificent it was. But until I experienced it for myself, it was just a shadow and a rumor.

Exposure to something great is not the same as experiencing it for yourself.

In 1994, I drove to Arizona with two good friends. When I got my first glimpse of the Grand Canyon from our moving vehicle, I nearly hyperventilated. When I stood on the edge of the North Rim and let the breeze hit me in the face off the Colorado River, I was ruined. Twenty-four hours and 15 miles later, I had my sore, blistered feet submerged in those icy cold waters. Every day for the next two years, that giant hole in the ground called me back until the summer of 1996 when I rafted the upper half of the Grand Canyon. It still was not enough. I returned in 2000 with my new wife. We hiked the South Rim and rafted the lower half. And I have been back five times since 2000. The experience surpassed the exposure.

Exposure to something great is not the same as experiencing it for yourself. Hearing the stories of Jesus does not mean you believe them to be true. You will never know how good Jesus is until you quit looking at pictures of Him, watching movies about Him, and listening to others talk about Him and you experience His grace personally.

Don’t take my word for it. Experience Him for yourself. Taste Him and see that He is good. The real Jesus is even better than the stories and the pictures.

Related Content

to Discover More

Article

Three things the resurrection changes

eternity resurrection salvation jesus

For many, this Easter was like every other. The Easter Bunny left his eggs, families gathered around Sun... read more

Read Article

Article

Watch the Christmas story amaze your kids

salvation jesus christmas

Have you ever tried to imagine what Jesus' birth was like? Gather your family and friends and see th... read more

Read Article

Article

Who would Jesus vote for?

obedience hope jesus prayer politics

On Election Day across America, many of us wonder: What would Jesus do? Many politicians act like they speak... read more

Read Article

Article

3 ways Christianity is different from other religions

resurrection salvation jesus religion

Everyone puts their faith in something. Some people put their faith in scientific theories. Others put their ... read more

Read Article

Article

How to handle politics, religion, and criticism without getting distracted

religion politics

To say politics have been front and center in 2019 is an understatement. Presidential debates fill the news, ... read more

Read Article

Devotional

Dear God, help!

From 2 Thessalonians: A 5-Day Devotional

evangelism salvation jesus

The news and social media bombard us with the pain and destruction happening in the world — suicide bom... read more

Read Devotional

Sermon

Something For You

From Something For You

Dec 24, 2018

salvation jesus christmas gospel

All of us experience pain and brokenness. Our common response is to blame others, blame God, or blame ourselv... read more

Watch Sermon

Sermon

World Changer

From Something For You

Dec 10, 2018

salvation jesus love grace

God is not a tribal god, but a global God. In this message, Clayton King shows us that Jesus’ unstoppab... read more

Watch Sermon

Story

How Jesus rescued me from a religious cult

Oct 1, 2017

family identity salvation jesus faith religion fear

Dylan House wrestled with the fear of leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses and losing his family and friends... read more

Read Story

Story

I was the leader of a prison mosque

Dec 13, 2016

freedom salvation jesus religion environment

Charles McMillan spent 11 years following Islam in prison only to discover that it wasn’t a true relati... read more

Read Story

What's happening at NewSpring Church?

  • Need to Know: Weekly email to keep you informed about what's happening at NewSpring
  • Fuse News: Email for Fuse parents sent on the first Monday of the month
  • KidSpring Scoop: Email sent at the beginning of each series to give you the scoop on what's happening in KidSpring
  • Read My Bible: Daily devotional sent via text from 6-7am

Subscribe