Love Jesus butThe other day I saw a shirt for sale online with this printed across the front: “I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.” You can also get the slogan on a coffee mug, refrigerator magnet, or apron.

Seriously? Is this supposed to be funny?

Like every believer, I still struggle with sin. And I struggle in some areas more than others. But the goal is to defeat the power of that sin in my life, not to proudly advertise it’s hold on me.

You may be thinking I’m making too much of this. You may be thinking it’s just all in good fun. After all, none of us are perfect so why should we pretend?

But I believe the issue is too serious to make light of. Let’s see what the Bible says.

First, the way we talk is not insignificant. The Bible repeatedly warns us about our speech. Jesus said we will be held accountable for every word (Matthew 12:36). Believers should not allow any unwholesome word come out of our mouths, but only words that encourage and help others (Ephesians 4:29). The way we talk is no laughing matter.

Second, Jesus very clearly connected our love for Him with our obedience:

“If you love me, you will obey what I command. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love.” John 14:15, 16:9-10

God’s Word is clear. If we love Jesus, we will obey Him. The reverse is also true: if we don’t obey Jesus, it reveals a lack of love for Him. This covers everything – more than just our speech. I am not saying that if we truly love Jesus we will be without sin, but our sin will grieve us. We will long to grow in holiness, not to stay in our sin.

The third reason I believe this is a serious matter is because this slogan – and others like it – portray a warped and self-centered view of Christianity. Wearing this statement across our chest testifies to the world that we aren’t serious about following Jesus. Claiming His name, then in the next breath admitting you choose not to obey Him, minimizes the name of Jesus before the world. “I love Jesus, but I love myself more.”

Sin – all sin – is serious business, not a joke to put on a t-shirt. “Friendship with the world is hatred toward God (James 4:4).” God commands believers to not conform to the ways of the world (Romans 12:1-2). (See this post for more about compromising with the culture.) Instead we are to draw near to Him in confession and repentance. To grieve over our sin and allow Him to cleanse us and make us more like Jesus (James 4:4-10).

Let’s not boast about our sin. Instead let’s proclaim the name of the One who died to save us from it.

What do you think? Laughing matter or serious business?

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