Shadow Christians are Christians, meaning they have become followers of Jesus Christ and adopted his identity as their own. His name means more than our names and much more than nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, or any cultural affinity. Believers aren’t hyphenated people with spiritual qualifiers further defining their identity. We are simply Christians, which establishes our new identity. Embedded in that relationship is a new purpose in life: magnifying Jesus and accomplishing his mission in the world.
The process for becoming a Christian is summarized in straightforward verses like these: “Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out” (Acts 3:19) and “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8–9). It’s likely most people reading this book have made a personal commitment to Jesus and consider themselves Christians. If you have not done this, perhaps today is your day! You can receive salvation by repenting of your sin and placing faith in Jesus. You can express those commitments through a prayer like this or one in your own words: “God, thank you for loving me. I confess my sin has separated me from you. I turn from living my way and ask you to forgive me and save me. I commit to following you, Jesus, my Lord and Savior, from this day forward. Amen.”
Becoming a Christian, even though it may have happened many years ago for you, is a profound experience. Some people who aren’t yet believers struggle so much with feelings of inadequacy and condemnation, that they don’t really believe they can become Christians. They wonder, How could Jesus love me? and Why would Jesus want a relationship with me? Many people feel overwhelmed when they discover God loves them so much he sent Jesus to die on the cross as a substitute for them. They are astounded, in light of their sinfulness and shortcomings, that they can have a relationship with God—and more than that, an intimate relationship with him.
When God was ready to reveal himself fully, he came as a person. He didn’t send an angel to tell us more about himself; he became a person. He didn’t set up a website or tell an Instagram story. He showed up with skin on. God came in the person of Jesus. He wanted us to know him personally but also intimately.
Jesus came to be among people, not aloof from them. He walked, talked, laughed, and prayed with people. He slept in the homes of friends, visited their sick relatives, went to funerals, and attended dinner parties. Jesus was not a distant deity demanding homage or respect. He was a flesh-and-blood person who lived among his followers.
Despite how unworthy you may feel, here is an astounding reality: through Jesus, God wants more than a token connection with you. He wants an intimate relationship. He wants you so close you can touch him.
In the Bible, the people who worked around Jesus and with Jesus are often named (like Peter, James, and John). But many of the people who related to him most intimately are unnamed. The people with him when he was most vulnerable, who touched him physically, who met his personal needs, and who served him with no desire for anything in return were anonymous followers. You don’t have to be rich, famous, or popular to have an intimate relationship with God through Jesus. Through Jesus, shadow Christians know God intimately.
Iorg, Jeff. 2020. Shadow Christians: Making an Impact When No One Knows Your Name. Nashville, TN: B&H Books.
We have just completed a study of Jeff Iorg’s book, Shadow Christians. It is available on Amazon as well as part of the Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service.