We have a saying in my house: “baseball is life.” The saying originated in my childhood home around the time I was seven years old. My dad grew up playing baseball, and I played softball through college, so for us to view life through this lens makes sense. The sentiment has always resonated with me, and now it’s the lens that both my husband and I use to view life. As we prepare for the birth of our first child, you better believe that this saying is something our future child will hear often.

The saying that baseball is life is pretty simple at its core: everything in life can be explained in terms of baseball. Whether it’s teamwork, hard work or picking yourself up from an “error” in life — everything can be related to baseball.

If you think about it, there is probably a lens (or several) through which you view life, too. Whether it’s based on your experiences, relationships or passions, we all have a filter through which we see life. And honestly, we all have a filter through which we see Jesus.

Now, if you are not a Jesus follower, you may be immediately resistant to that claim. But I would argue that Jesus follower or not, you have an opinion about Jesus — even if it’s one of indifference. My husband is not a Jesus follower, but he grew up in church and absolutely has an opinion about Jesus, even when he wants to act like he doesn’t. In the American culture, it’s pretty impossible to escape Jesus, meaning you’ve likely interacted with the idea or representation of Jesus in some way.

What if the lens through which we view Jesus looks more like a reflection of our past experiences and relationships, and less like who Jesus really is? What if we have set expectations and rules around Jesus that He never set himself? And what if we are following or have walked away from a version of Jesus who never existed in the first place?

One of the most compelling things about Jesus is that He always invites us in intellectually first. When he walked by Matthew, he didn’t say “Come, believe in me.” He said, “Come, follow me.” The invitation is always to investigate and see for yourself. It’s an invitation to get up close and personal with Jesus, and to experience firsthand who He says He is. Jesus doesn’t want us to sit on the sidelines and speculate who He is based on what others have said or done. He wants us to get to the source of the truth and make a decision for ourselves. And, if we are being intellectually honest with ourselves, we should want to get to the source of truth, too.

At His core, Jesus is a disruptive force who flipped all of the social rules on their heads. He stands up for the marginalized, and His love is recklessly unconditional. He is probably not the Sunday school version that you learned about. The closer we examine Him, the harder He is to resist. Let’s remove our filters and really look at who Jesus is and what it means to follow Him.