A few years ago, I had a bit of an awkward moment at the gym. I was at the gym and ran into someone I knew from church—actually a lady I knew fairly well. But I had never seen her without makeup before.

So she calls out my name, comes over, and starts talking to me. But she looks so different without makeup, I don’t have a clue who she is at first. I’m just like, “Hey……how’s it going?” And I’m trying to figure out who she is.

And she’s very socially perceptive, so she immediately notices the blank stare on my face before I can hide it, and she kind of smiles and reminds me of her name. Remember, this is a lady I knew fairly well. So of course, I feel terrible for not recognizing her at first, and I do the best I can to kind of “shake it off” and go through the rest of the conversation as normally as possible.

Just add that to the list of the hundreds and hundreds of awkward moments I’ve brought on myself during the course of my life. But that’s how different she looked without makeup on. That’s how much makeup changed her appearance.

And that kind of reminds me of the way a lot of people try to change Jesus. So often, it seems like even people who call themselves Christians aren’t satisfied with Jesus as he’s described in the Bible. They don’t think he’s cool enough or relevant enough or enough in line with contemporary cultural values.

And so, they have a tendency to alter his appearance and remake Jesus the way they think he should be. So if a certain aspect of Jesus makes them a little uncomfortable, they just kind of leave that part out. And if another aspect of Jesus really resonates with their values and seems like it would be a popular thing for them to say, then great—let’s just talk about things like that.

In the end, what they have isn’t Jesus as he is but rather Jesus as they’ve created him to be.

Read carefully: if your “Jesus” is exactly the way you would create him to be if it were up to you to create him, then you probably HAVE created him—at least in your mind. He probably is just a figment of your imagination and not the true Jesus of the Bible.

The Bible describes Jesus as one who transcends all of our categories and leaves us humbled and in awe of his glory. So you can either conveniently skip over passages that talk about Jesus in a controversial way (his justice and authority), or you can humble yourself under Jesus’ self-revelation and joyfully worship a Jesus who really is more glorious than our minds can comprehend.