We’ve all heard of the butterfly effect. You know, that “metaphorical example of the details of a hurricane (exact time of formation, exact path taken) being influenced by minor perturbations such as the flapping of the wings of a distant butterfly several weeks earlier.” (Wikipedia). But today I want to talk to you about something I have coined “The Jesus Effect.” Don’t worry, this is not going to be a religious blog post, and no, not a Theological exposition either. In fact, many non-religious people have experienced the Jesus Effect in their lives without even knowing what was going on. Let me explain what the Jesus effect is.
Most of us are somewhat familiar with the life and teachings of Jesus to one degree or another. But, most of us are not aware of how Jesus’ own acquaintances and family perceived Him once he began his teaching ministry. Here are a couple of passages from the Good Book to put you in context:
“When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses,Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them,“A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13: 54-58)
So, that’s how Jesus was perceived by his own town folks from Nazareth. And because they didn’t buy into what he was telling them, He did not do many miracles there. They just couldn’t fathom that this ‘carpenter’s son’ could actually teach them a thing or two. In another passage we read about how his own family perceived him:
“Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “ He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3: 20-21)
So, on top of having no credibility with people from his hometown, his own family (perhaps Mary and his brothers and sisters even) wanted to seize him and take Him away from there before he would embarrass himself (or them) any further. That, my friends, is in a nutshell what I coined The Jesus Effect. Shakespeare had another name for it when he described it as “familiarity breeds contempt.” Jesus of Nazareth began feeling the ripples of His impactful mission early on. His acquaintances didn’t want any part in what He offered and He obliged them. He performed no miracles and taught very little in Nazareth. He didn’t give His pearls to swine.
My friends, all this to say that The Jesus Effect will manifest itself in your life the moment you begin doing different things than what others have come to know from you. When you begin a self-discovery journey and you start changing, they will resist that change vehemently. You have to expect that. When you start aiming in becoming more, you will see it. When you begin pursuing your dreams with passion, you definitely will feel its sting. When you begin shifting your mindset towards greater ideals and goals, the Jesus effect will manifest through your entourage as they try to drag you back down. You see, people’s perception of us is part of what they call their ‘reality’. When we evolve and begin changing, we affect their ‘reality’ and it makes them feel very uneasy. That’s why they feel they have to halt it or ‘knock some sense into you’. It’s not their fault really, they just don’t want their paradigm to change – and you are a part of it. It’s their unconscious defense mechanism.
Some call it cognitive dissonance. I have noticed the following in my own life:
- Mediocre people want you to be mediocre
- Average people want you to be average
- Great people want you to be great
That, by the way, is why I became intentional about surrounding myself with great people. And by great I just mean those who don’t settle – those who have a growth mindset and are always wanting to learn more and become more.
So, in closing, I will ask you a simple question. Have you ever experienced The Jesus Effect in your own life? If you haven’t, maybe this means it’s time you began your own journey towards your own calling or purpose. Maybe this means you have been living an ordinary life devoid of dreams that would enable you to discover your greatness. If you haven’t experienced The Jesus Effect in your own life, I can easily conclude that you are merely alive, but not really living. Like Jesus, only those who embrace their greatness will create that effect around them. So what are you waiting for? Begin pursuing your life’s purpose and make The Jesus Effect a reality in your own life!