I have people on Instagram and Twitter that follow me, and I have no idea who they are. They're just random people. I follow people on Twitter that I don't personally know either, though. I follow pastors and leaders. I follow this one account that translates idioms so that I am always in the loop of the ever changing English language. Sometimes I retweet or favorite or like something on these social media accounts. I don't know these people but I like what they're posting.
We can like something without ever knowing the person behind the thing.
There's a story in John 6 that shows this perfectly. Jesus was doing some miracles and healing people left and right. People started to follow him because they like the things he was doing. They didn't, though, know the person of Jesus. They just liked his magic tricks. John 6 opens up with people following Jesus and getting hungry. Jesus does what Jesus does with 5 slices of bread and 2 McFish (no cheese, THANK GOD), and boom there is enough food to feed over 5,000 people. The people loved it. They loved the product. They loved getting fed.
They loved the thing without knowing the person behind the thing.
We know this is true because later Jesus tells the same people that they have to know him. He says that he is "the bread of life." He is the sustainer of life. If you want to live forever, you're going to need more than just a McFish. You're going to need Jesus.
The same is true for us today. Many of us get caught up in the "things" of Christianity, and never get to the "person" of Christianity. We want the blessings. We want the grace. We want answered prayers. But many don't want the sufferings that lead to knowing Jesus more. We don't want the messiness of loving different people and showing God's grace to others. We don't want to seek Jesus EVERY SINGLE DAY. We just seek him when we are desperately needing an answered prayer. Many people love and want the thing/ product of Christianity, without ever really loving and wanting the person/ process of Christianity: JESUS.
If these people in John 6 get fed every day, but never know Jesus, it doesn't even matter. If you're waiting for the next winter youth retreat to come to experience Jesus, then you may be seeking the things of Christianity, not the person. If you're waiting for Sunday morning to praise Jesus, then you may be seeking the things of Christianity, not the person. If you're waiting for the next mission trip to tell someone about Jesus instead of telling the person next to you, then you may be seeking the things of Christianity, not the person.
Without the person of Christianity, the things he can bring are pointless. Are you seeking the person of Christianity, or just the byproducts? Are you following the Instagram Jesus you don't really know, or the real Bread of Life?