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Jesus Swagger: Break Free from Poser Christianity
     

Jesus Swagger: Break Free from Poser Christianity

4.2 5
by Jarrid Wilson
 

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Stop being a poser. Start being a Christian.

Is your faith for real? How about your walk?

If everyone who claimed to love Jesus actually did, this world would be pretty close to paradise. Yet we live in a time when being a poser is not only easy, it’s rewarded—especially where Jesus is concerned.

But claiming to love Jesus without following

Overview

Stop being a poser. Start being a Christian.

Is your faith for real? How about your walk?

If everyone who claimed to love Jesus actually did, this world would be pretty close to paradise. Yet we live in a time when being a poser is not only easy, it’s rewarded—especially where Jesus is concerned.

But claiming to love Jesus without following him is bogus, fraudulent, and—frankly—it’s not you. God has called you to be set apart, to live authentically, to walk a genuine Jesus Swagger. He wants followers, not pretenders.

From Christian blogger Jarrid Wilson, Jesus Swagger is about calling out the phony, showing the pretender the door, and letting Jesus in instead. If you are suspicious of your own motivations, your own talk, or even your own Christianity, it’s time to be honest, come clean, and get real. It’s time to take the Jesus Swagger litmus test and start walking the walk.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
05/15/2015
This is Christian blogger Wilson's (30 Words) second book-length work, and a great deal is revealed by its title, his job title (NextGen Pastor), and home church (LifePoint Church, Smyrna, TN). He puts a young and even hip face to Christianity, with a vengeance. Wilson's message is, in the context of contemporary Christianity, sound: he is opposed to easy, superficial, and materialistic forms of Christian identity, and he challenges his readers to be full-time, sincere Christians. Given his appeal to the current moment and the young Christian reader, the author's admiration of Dietrich Bonhoeffer comes as a surprise, but a welcome and salutary one. VERDICT Wilson's brief book should be useful and of interest to individual readers, pastors, and most definitely church youth groups.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780718021993
Publisher:
Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date:
02/17/2015
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
239,165
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Jesus Swagger

Break Free from Poser Christianity


By Jarrid Wilson

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2015 Jarrid Wilson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-2200-6



CHAPTER 1

POSER CHRISTIANITY


God is looking for Christ followers, not religious posers. #JesusSwagger

* * *

I remember my first day of high school like it was yesterday. The night before was filled with excitement as I dreamed of what could be. I laid out my new clothes for my first day, while continuously giving myself a pep talk about why the next four years were going to be some of the best life could offer.

I guess you could say I had an untainted view of what high school was going to be like. All I could imagine was something resembling a low-budget Disney movie with a hint of Glee. Okay, maybe not exactly those things, but I couldn't help but think there might be a few spontaneous dance routines taking place in the halls, and I might even get to see a couple kids getting thrown in their lockers for not bringing the local bully their lunch money.

Regardless, I was excited for the first day of a new adventure, and I think most people my age would have felt the same.

The first day of high school is probably one of the most important days of your high school career. Why? Because the way you represent yourself on day one is quite possibly the way people are going to label you for the next four years. Was I going to be a jock? A geek? A musician? A Jesus freak? A loner? A teacher's pet? The class clown?

I really had no idea who I was trying to be, but all I can remember is staring at the clothes I had purchased the day prior and thinking to myself, What was I thinking? I guess I had chosen to go for the stoner-musician look and had also decided to put my faith in the backseat. My parents loved me, but I'd be lying if I said they were extremely fond of my decisions as a teenager.

The reality was, I was accepting the lie that I needed to be someone other than who God had created me to be. All throughout high school, my identity wasn't built upon Christ, but instead the clothes I wore, the friends I had, and the achievements I was trying to gain.

And although I felt very fashion-forward with my long, blond hair, checkered slip-ons, and a T-shirt promoting my favorite band, I'm surprised no one ever told me how ridiculous I looked. Well, maybe someone did, but I obviously didn't take that person seriously.

The truth is, I hated dressing that way, but all the people I planned to spend my time with looked the part, so I figured I would too. It's funny how quickly a friendship can turn into a fashionship, even in ninth grade. But the feeling of being accepted was incredibly hard to resist.

Why? Because our human nature thrives on being accepted and liked by our peers.

Based on the expectations of the world around me, fitting in was something I felt compelled to do in order to "be somebody." Maybe it was the thousands of shallow and scandalous advertisements I saw each day. Or maybe it was the media imposing its lies onto my feeble and newly pubertized brain. Or maybe it was because my heart wasn't grounded in the Word of God, but instead the shallow words of man. I'm pretty sure it was the last one, but regardless, all of those options played a role in my belief that in order to be accepted I had to follow the crowd.

Based on the culture that surrounded me, an outsider was considered uncool, lame, and mediocre. But little did I know that ignoring my identity in Christ made me as mediocre as they come. I was nothing more than a cookie-cutter crowd-pleaser. I was just another cliché. And according to Romans 12:2, I was exactly opposite of who God called me to be. It says, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."

I was conforming to the world without even realizing it. My swagger resembled nothing of Christ and everything to do with creation.

It didn't take long for me to start posing in other attributes in my life: music, movies, books, and even the types of food I ate. I began posing as someone I wasn't, in order to gain acceptance from people.

The worst thing is that I claimed to be a Christian during my entire high school experience. I mean, I attended church, went to Bible study, and even memorized a few verses, but the reality is I never let the message of Jesus completely transform me, nor did I share my faith with others. I clearly remember the times I ignored my relationship with God in order to be part of the crowd. I was so young, but I knew the truth—and chose to ignore it.

But I soon came to realize there is a big difference between knowing of him and knowing him personally. Not only was I posing as someone I wasn't with my so-called friends, but I was also posing as a follower of God at the same time. How twisted is that?

It wasn't until years later that I truly began to seek God for who he is, and not who I wanted him to be, that those insecurities started to subside, and my view of God became more selfless rather than selfish.

It's mind-blowing how much of my experience in high school reflects the lifestyle of many self-proclaimed Christians in today's world.

Think about it. How many people in today's world claim to be Christians who love and follow God, but in reality are nothing more than religious posers? They claim to be one thing, but in reality aren't what they seem. My hand is humbly raised, and I'll be the first to admit that this is a daily struggle for me. Everyone deals with the temptation to give off an image that isn't quite true. There is a term for people like this: that's right, it's called being a poser.

Have you ever been called a poser? Although it seems immature and childish, that word packs a mega-punch in today's vulture culture. Everyone is created differently, but how many of us are pretending to be someone of faith in hopes that outsiders won't be able to see our inner decay?

The first step in finding your inner Jesus swagger is to stop posing as a follower, and start living as one. A true relationship with Christ cannot be mimicked, because only in a true relationship with Christ can we find real transformation.

Some of us always carry a Bible, we serve on the greeting team at our church, and we pray before every meal—even while in public. We have our favorite Bible verses tattooed on our forearms, and our refrigerators are covered in Bible-verse magnets. Not to mention our cars are covered in our John 3:16 and WWJD bumper stickers.

Sound familiar? Lots of us think we're doing God a favor by taking part in all these surface-level activities, when in fact God would be more satisfied with our hearts reflecting him more than our cars and fashion trends. That'll preach.

Don't get me wrong; all of these things are great, and there is nothing wrong with any of them. But when our faith in Jesus ends with the way we decorate our public appearance, we need to stop, evaluate ourselves, and realize that we are heading down a road of false assurance. It's not going to get us anywhere. Jesus swagger is about allowing the message of Jesus to penetrate the core of your heart, releasing an overflow of love, selflessness, and servanthood that goes beyond mere appearances, and makes a positive difference.

Your swagger reflects who you are. When we harness a swagger influenced by the power of Jesus, posing as someone we are not will no longer be an option. But when we don't allow Jesus to fully take control of our lives, posing as a Christian is the only option we will really have.

To be honest, it's easy to live in America as a poser Christian. We buy Christian clothing, stickers, accessories, DVDs, and music. We proudly attend church every once in a while, but we never let the message of Jesus change who we are. It's like throwing plant seeds onto a slab of cement. They aren't going to grow roots. They aren't going to get any nutrients. And they aren't going to grow into what they were created for.

Here is something that might sting a little bit: Just because you believe in Jesus doesn't mean you're going to end up with him.

Before you call me a biblical heretic, hear me out.

James 2:19-20 states, "You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can't you see that faith without good deeds is useless?" Even the demons believe! And that belief does nothing for them. We must allow Jesus to become more than just a person we believe in; he needs to be a person we also relentlessly follow and hunger to be more like.

Faith without action is a waste of time. Don't just talk about it; act upon it. I hurt at the thought of how many times I have forgotten this vital truth. This passage isn't saying that "works" will get you into heaven, but that your faith should be complemented by action. Jesus' aim was not for us to strive for good intentions, but to live with righteous ambitions fueled by the forgiveness and atonement he gave us on the cross.

The real issue isn't whether our generation is wearing enough bedazzled cross T-shirts; it's whether we are allowing the message of Jesus to root deeper than our wardrobe, blog posts, music playlists, tweets, and Facebook statuses. We've become a tribe of people who rank our faith in a measurement of likes, re-tweets, and memory verses. We need to up our game.


Eight Differences Between a Believer and a Follower

1. A believer believes in Jesus. A follower honors his commands.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. (James 2:19 NIV)

2. A believer reads the Bible when things get tough. A follower reads the Bible to engage in a deeper understanding of Jesus himself.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. (Psalm 105:4 NIV)

3. A believer prays when things get tough. A follower gives thanks no matter the circumstance.

Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:20 NIV)

4. A believer twists the Bible to fit his or her lifestyle. A follower works to make his or her lifestyle resemble the teachings of the Bible.

Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction. (2 Peter 3:16)

5. A believer gives when it's easy. A follower gives out of the abundance of his or her heart.

They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on. (Mark 12:44 NIV)

6. A believer conforms under the pressure or culture. A follower holds fast against temptation.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:13 ESV)

7. A believer will share his or her faith when it's comfortable. A follower will share his or her faith regardless of the scenario.

And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation." (Mark 16:15 ESV)

8. A believer knows about Jesus. A follower knows Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior.

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 ESV)


Many people act like being a poser Christian is okay. Does that make you as frustrated as it makes me? It's not just about those obviously hateful people who are claiming to represent Christ while waving their "God hates f-gs" picket signs and yelling into their wrath-of-God megaphones. It's normal, nonconfrontational people too.

This may sound judgmental, but it's a trap any of us could fall into. Claiming to love Jesus but not following his commandments is like selling a pair of brass knuckles to Mother Teresa. It just doesn't make sense.

When our gospel-centered tweets and faith-driven Facebook posts are stripped away, and we are left with nothing more than our hearts and a face-to-face conversation with God, who are we then?

Francis Chan said, "The irony is that while God doesn't need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don't really want Him most of the time." That's the difference between knowing about God and really knowing God. When we know God, we know how much we need him.

I want to help you bridge the difference between being a follower of Jesus and being nothing more than a sideline fan. I want to help you develop your Jesus swagger, rather than the cheap imitation swagger that most of the world thinks is enough.

We can't expect the Jesus swagger to flow when all we know about him are some thousand-year-old statistics we researched on Google. These days, anyone can know about Jesus, but what does it take to know him?

The definition of knowing someone in the Greek text of the Bible (the word ginosko) is more than just an understanding of someone, but rather an intimate and extremely knowledgeable relationship that goes further in detail than that of a simple acquaintance.

We must view our relationship with Jesus to be more than just a shallow bond, but one that is worth putting in our time and energy—all in order to deepen its value and worth. This relationship must be put to the forefront of our hearts.

Through obedience, prayer, study, service, a pure heart, and all the things we'll talk about in this book, you'll become a person who fully belongs to God, and then the real swagger will begin to follow.


CHECK YOURSELF

Think about it: Are we the same people we claim to be in 140 characters or less?

Let me tell you more about my poser days. I was juggling the world and the Word, praying that I was doing enough "good" to be loved by God, but also hoping I was popular enough to be accepted by the world around me. It was actually hindering my relationship with God, and not at all helping it.

I would claim to be the "Christian guy" because I listened to all the top chart Christian bands. Not to mention I went to youth group once a week, wore my WWJD bracelet, and had some virtuous morals that could support my claim.

But when it came time to take part in activities the Bible would deem sinful, I would justify my sin by stating the biggest excuse known to man: "God knows my heart." And maybe follow that up with a good self-pep-talk about why I was a "good person." I'm positive I am not the only one who's experienced this.

There are plenty of self-proclaimed Christians who can quote more Scripture than you ever will, preach the most powerful message you've ever heard, and perhaps even tithe more than most people you know. But underneath the good deeds and pretty words they are nothing more than posers. It's all a show. It's the heart that matters, and I say this from personal experience.


POWER RANGER POSER

Every year we use Halloween as our day to play pretend. And no matter how young or old, we see people getting into their fairy-tale attire and killer zombie outfits.

Although this holiday is often full of innocent fun, one Halloween opened up my eyes to something painful and sorrowful but true. One year when I was a kid, I wanted to dress as the Red Ranger from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but all the store had left was a Blue Ranger costume. And if you remember the original Power Rangers correctly, Billy the Blue Ranger was a total nerd. Anyway, against my personal preference, I ended up buying the Blue Ranger costume because it was all they had left. And frankly, my mom and I were tired of shopping. Regardless, for one night of my life I was going to be a Power Ranger, and I didn't care that I was the Blue Ranger, no matter how nerdy he was.

When Halloween came around, I remember looking in the mirror, fully decked out in my Blue Ranger costume, laser pistol, and sound-activated gloves. If I recall correctly, I looked pretty sweet. I remember feeling like I could take on the world or fight anyone who came in my path. The costume I was wearing looked so good that I began to believe I actually was a Power Ranger.

So I did what any extremely awesome seven-year-old kid would do: I began practicing my ninja moves in the mirror just in case someone tried to steal my candy or hurt my parents as we walked through dangerous suburbs of Southern California. As I continued practicing my advanced ninja techniques, I remember doing an incredibly off-form ninja back kick against my bathroom sink. All of a sudden I heard a smack! I realized I was on the ground. My knee had been scraped up by the edge of the bathroom door, and my head felt like it had been super-punched by an elephant. To be completely honest, I don't remember exactly what went wrong, but I do know that the kick did not go the way I had seen it in last week's episode.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Jesus Swagger by Jarrid Wilson. Copyright © 2015 Jarrid Wilson. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author


Jarrid Wilson is a husband, pastor, author, and inspirational blogger. His articles have been viewed by millions, showcased on some of today’s hottest talk shows, and featured on national news stations worldwide. He is a dynamic speaker whose outside-the-box perspectives have gained him national recognition from some of today’s most influential Christian leaders, and he currently serves as the NextGen pastor at LifePoint Church in Smyrna, Tennessee.

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Jesus Swagger: Break Free from Poser Christianity 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
itsraymarie More than 1 year ago
I've been a lot more interested in reading theological books these days, but its hard to find ones that keep my attention, and don't sound preachy. I've been reading Jarrid Wilson's blog for a while now, and so I was curious as to how that translated into a book (because let's face it, most books I've read from bloggers just don't work out very well, because their voice doesn't translate over). However, I found that this book met all my expectations of being well-written, attention-grabbing, and not preachy. Jarrid Wilson has always been a bit more unconventional in his approach to Christianity and spreading God's love, and I think that was explained well in this book. Even the title, Jesus Swagger, grabs your attention from the start because it is unconventional. But Wilson isn't preaching at you, instead he is sharing his experiences, and what he has come to understand, backed up by Scripture. "Love the sinner, not the sin" (page 52) I found this to be a breath of fresh air. I don't know exactly who this is marketed to, but I would definitely recommend it for teens and young adults. I think the topics Wilson discusses are things they need to hear. It's not about one religion, or what your denomination is, it's about Jesus and His love. That's what we have been called to do, and that's what he focuses on. It's not about acting a certain way to fit in with a crowd. Instead, it's about following the example Christ gave us, and I think Wilson does a great job of showcasing that in this book.
markyMI More than 1 year ago
_240_360_Book.1495.cover“Jesus swagger is all about your life being infected with the love of Christ” writes millennial pastor Jarrid Wilson. This book claims to be a roadmap to a spiritual journey that Jesus calls to travel for His followers. The word swagger refers to a person’s style – the way they walk, talk and dress. It’s an identity that’s reflect in a lifestyle. The author calls every professing follower of Jesus to stop being religious posers and start being authentic follower of Jesus – a Jesus swagger. Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book: Jesus didn’t die an extravagant death so that we could live mediocre and comfortable lives. The man who gave his life for us expects nothing less than our best, and I don’t believe that’s too much to give. Although there is freedom and grace in the arms of Christ, we are all still called to live above reproach in all we do. When our gospel-centred tweets and faith-driven Facebook posts are stripped away, and we are left with nothing more than our hearts and a face-to-face conversation with God, who are we then? This book is challenging and oftentimes convicting because it’s a hard call to die to ourselves so that Christ can truly shine on us. The book is easy to read because it is wrapped in modern terms and communicated in a modern way that speaks to my heart – as millennial myself. I don’t like shallow Christianity and I’m tired of poser kind of Christianity – I was once myself and this book is a fresh reminder. I highly recommend it to everyone who calls themselves Christians.
StephWard More than 1 year ago
'Jesus Swagger' is a thought provoking look at Christianity targeted towards teens and young adults. It answers several questions that a young person might have - about life, religion, God, and other important topics. The book's goal is to have the reader examine their own lives - how they live, act, think, and their faith - to see if they're being the true Christian that God wants them to be, or if they are merely putting on a show for others - pretending to be the devoted Christian that they want others to think they are. The book is written with some slang - even the title contains it - and it seemed a bit silly to me at times. However, given that the book is geared toward a younger audience, I'm sure that it fits well in that age category. Otherwise, the writing is easy to understand and personal - it feels like the author is speaking to you directly when you're reading. This writing style should prove to be an effective method for a book dealing with these topics. It will also help the teen readers to identify with the author and put the lessons discussed on their level. Recommended for Christian teens and young adults who are trying to be more 'real' in their faith, as well as those readers who are curious about the religion in general. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review through the Book Look Bloggers Program.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a youth leader, I loved the book! Fun and relatable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good Book. Attention grabber.