In High School, I wrote for our school newspaper, the Tornado Times. My favorite assignments were editorials and sports. Writing editorials gave me the chance to express my opinion while hoping to sway people to see things my way.
During my senior year, I wrote an editorial about the Jesus “freaks” at my school who were part of the Jesus Movement, a revival of sorts in the late 1960s and 1970s. The Jesus Movement started among the counter-culturalists on the West Coast. It originated with hippies unfulfilled in the drug-saturated, free-love culture and found more meaning in Jesus’ teachings on love and peace.
The Movement was fairly Pentecostal in nature, emphasizing healing, signs, and miracles. Jesus freak was a term used to describe the non-traditional Christians of the Jesus Movement. Outsiders initially used the word freak, but the believers in the movement adopted it as their own.
I’d like to say I supported the Jesus Freaks at my school, but I spoke out against them for the way they openly shared their faith in Jesus Christ. It’s been forty-seven years since I wrote that editorial, and I still feel the sting of shame and regret taking a stand against them.
Most Friday nights, they met together in a parking lot on Main Street to play their guitars and hold up signs that said, “HONK IF YOU ❤️ JESUS!”
On Sunday nights, they met as a “youth group” and were the best of friends. They were headed for Heaven and wanted their friends to be saved to go there, too!
They had intense enthusiasm and a deep personal devotion to Jesus Christ, which was something I didn’t understand.
Years later, when I stopped being a Fake follower, I finally understood what it meant to be a Jesus freak.
I quit pretending to be a Christian, and when I did, Jesus changed my life. He gave me His joy! He created in me a hunger and a thirst to know Him more and to tell others the Good News! He gave me a love and a heart for others, which was something I had been lacking.
In the book of Romans, Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes, the Jew first and also the Gentile” Romans 1:16 and Jesus said in Luke, 9:26, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in His glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.”
The term Jesus “freak” is still used today but in a lesser term. Anyone who is enthusiastic about following Jesus and not ashamed to show it is the type of follower Jesus will not be ashamed to call one of His own.
DC Talk, a popular Christian band, made the song Jesus Freak famous. The chorus goes like this:
What will people think
When they hear that I’m a Jesus freak
What will people do when they find that it’s true
I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus freak
There ain’t no disguising the truth
What would people think if they knew you were a Jesus Freak?
Great is His Faithfulness! 💚Deb
The next time you see a sign or bumper sticker that reads, HONK IF YOU ❤️ JESUS, be sure to honk! Beep beep!