Watching Jersey Shore Made Me a Stronger Christian
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God Moves In Mysterious Ways, So He Used ‘Jersey Shore’ To Make Me A Better Jesus Follower

Ten seconds of a TV show rocked my faith.

God Moves In Mysterious Ways, So He Used ‘Jersey Shore’ To Make Me A Better Jesus Follower

I don't typically watch "Jersey Shore" (I don't typically watch a whole lot of TV, either), but a specific moment from MTV's "Jersey Shore: Family Vacation" really caught my attention.

I happened to look across the kitchen to see the TV on and playing a more recent episode from the show. One of the actors, Ronnie, is emotionally deep in thought while laying on his bed. The show then cut to a talking-head interview. Ronnie poured out his current relationship troubles, wondering if things would last between him and his then-girlfriend. He said how he wanted to have security and stability in the midst of the current relational struggle he was having.

I was about to turn away from watching, nearly rolling my eyes to scoff at Ronnie and, what seemed to be the millionth soundbite of pot development in a typical MTV reality show, when I found that I couldn't look away: not because of my investment in the characters, but because my gaze had fallen on Ronnie's necklace.

He was wearing a chain with a giant Cross around his neck.

My mind immediately pulled me back to the closing words of Jesus' most famous teaching, the Sermon on the Mount:

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash" — (Matthew 7:24-27, NIV).

At first, I wanted to roll my eyes at the TV and feel superior to Ronnie. If he wears the Cross around his neck, shouldn't he recognize he has the best source of life and security and stability? Why is he allowing fleeting, momentary drama, and hardship get in the way of truly living the life God calls us to live as followers of Jesus?

But after taking some time to reflect, I realized that that was not the correct response at all. In reality, I believe those questions are what I and all Jesus followers can ask ourselves as we meditate on the words of Jesus from the passage above.

Just as Ronnie was putting so much stock into his relationships and resting his identity on them, I found that I too have been doing the same thing recently. I was not putting the words of Jesus into practice: with people I needed to forgive, I continued to hold grudges. Life circumstances I needed to pray more about, I chose to be lazy and not seek the voice of God. Ten seconds into "Jersey Shore", and I realized that I had no right to judge these actors when this reality TV show was showing me exactly the reality I have been living in.

Ultimately, I cannot begin to "fix" myself until I humble myself and recognize that I never truly can: that it is only by God's sacrifice, through Jesus, that I am graciously gifted a place in God's Kingdom.

I must start with getting on my knees before the cross and begging God to be what He desires to be: the secure, stable foundation that I am seeking, a foundation that, despite trial and drama and hurt I know is continuing to absorb the pain and mistakes of myself and others, and is constantly inviting me into a place of forgiveness of others and a heart that longs to demonstrate that same stable, rock-solid love that is the Gospel.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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