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‘Jesus Revolution’ teaches the power of godly relationships

Media Review & Entertainment
By Kyra Thompson

Image: Deposit Photo

In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with messages about the importance of individualism and independence. Most relationships are viewed as an opportunity to get something. But what if a crucial key to a fulfilling life and future is actually found in meaningful, sincere relationships with both God and people? 

This is a central theme of the Jesus Revolution movie that has been making waves in Hollywood with how successful it has been. The movie is a powerful and inspiring film that tells the story of a soul-searching young man who, in the midst of the cultural upheaval of the 1960s, found a new way of life by embracing the teachings of Jesus. Through his experience, we see how the power of love and community can transform lives and bring about real change in the world. Jesus Revolution actually teaches us valuable lessons about the importance of cultivating godly relationships in our own lives–and how we can apply these lessons to make a positive impact on the world around us.

What is the Jesus Revolution movie?

If you haven’t already seen Jesus Revolution, you are seriously missing out. Not only is the film’s production quality at a level that rivals many Hollywood films, but it is a true story. The film tells the biographical tale of Greg Laurie as he begins searching for truth in the midst of the hippie movement of the 60s and 70s. His journey starts down the dangerous path of drugs as he embraces the popular cultural movement at the time. But after a few near-death encounters as a result of drugs, he finds his way to a church that had begun what would become a new kind of movement: the Jesus People revival. It’s there that he finds a new way of life by immersing himself in the community of the church, embracing the teachings of Jesus, and cultivating a relationship with God. 

What the film does so well is show the reality of relationships and the fact that even relationships within the church are flawed and get rocky. But the powerful message here is how God can restore and resolve conflict with people when you put Him first. He unifies His body when they seek Him with their whole heart. The film really captures this spirit, and the spirit of the movement as a whole which was characterized by a deep sense of community, love, and a desire to transform the world. It is a compelling and moving film that provides valuable insight into a time of great social and cultural change in America while also teaching us lessons for today.

The significance of the Jesus People movement

The Jesus Revolution–which was a title coined in an article by TIME Magazine to describe the revival sweeping the country–was a significant moment in American history. It emerged at a tumultuous time for our country when young people across the nation were questioning the status quo, diving into excessive drug use as a way to expand their minds, and protesting wars and traditional ways of life. If there was ever a need to return to Christ in America, it was during this chaotic time.

That is why when Chuck Smith (the pastor of Calvary Chapel) met Lonnie Frisbee, just one small change caused a tidal wave of revival. When the churches started reaching out to the hippies–these young people who were desperately searching for truth–it was incredible how much hunger that there was for the gospel. And just like the counter-culture movement of the time, this movement challenged traditional church structures and encouraged a more organic, relational approach to church life. This approach emphasized the importance of community, discipleship, and evangelism.

A subtle lesson about godly relationships

When you see this movie, it would be easy to see the surface-level message about the hope of salvation and the importance of evangelism but I think the message goes a lot deeper than just, “get saved so you can go to heaven.” That was not the key characteristic of this revival. It was actually the fact that the most effective evangelism was birthed out of a place of genuine love and care for people. And this movie does such a great job of visually illustrating this sincere relational approach to church in one of the most moving scenes of the film when Pastor Chuck washes dozens of hippies’ bare feet to keep prior church members from complaining about the new carpet. This beautifully teaches the importance of serving others and shows us that true community is built on a foundation of service and sacrifice. When we are willing to serve others, we create a space where love and grace can flourish.

It further teaches the importance of cultivating godly relationships in our lives as it shows young Greg Laurie’s desperate search for a family that won’t abandon him. He ultimately finds that in the community at Calvary Chapel, his future wife–but most importantly–His relationship with Jesus Christ. It shows how godly relationships are characterized by love, grace, forgiveness, and a deep commitment to one another. These relationships are built on the foundation of a personal relationship with God, which provides the strength and guidance we need to love and serve others. In today’s world, where individualism and independence are often emphasized, it can be easy to overlook the importance of relationships. But the truth is that we were created to live in community with others. We need each other to grow, to learn, and to thrive.

I think another valuable lesson that it shows is that even though we need relationships with people, sometimes they will have rough patches, friction, and maybe even fail. Throughout Greg’s spiritual development in the movie, we see his relationship with Lonnie get severed, we see his relationship with both pastor Chuck and his girlfriend Cathe go through challenges, and we see that even his faith and trust in God goes through a shaky season. But in the end, as Greg focuses on the things that the Lord has done in his life and the lives of those around him through this movement, he stays committed to cultivating those godly relationships instead of pulling away.

Godly relationships vs. worldly relationships

It is important to note that not all relationships are going to help you grow closer to the Lord. Relationships are a very powerful force, for good or for bad. The people you hang out with will affect the decisions and trajectory of your life. The Bible warns us of this very thing when it says, “bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NASB). So it is crucial for us to be careful in choosing who we let affect our lives. 

This movie also provided some direction for helping determine who is going to be a godly relationship and who is not. When Greg first begins walking out his faith, he tells his girlfriend in an awkwardly assertive way, “if you ever get between me and God, it’s over.” While this moment was somewhat comical in the movie, and Cathe giggles at his timidity in asserting this sentiment, this is actually an excellent test for all friendships. If the person or friend is distracting you from your relationship with the Lord, keeping you from church, or influencing you to do things you know go against your convictions and Biblical standard, then that relationship needs to end. 

Use your time to invest in the relationships that are pushing you to be more like Christ. We need to be intentional about cultivating relationships that are characterized by love, grace, and a deep commitment to one another and to serving the kingdom of heaven.

This film really did an excellent job of showing us what those kinds of relationships look like. And just how important they are for not only our personal well-being but also for the transformation of the world around us. 

Watch the trailer for Jesus Revolution here: 

The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team.




Kyra Thompson is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for storytelling as a way of connecting people with truth and the bigger picture of this thing we call the human experience. She earned her degree in journalism from Liberty University and has been published in USA Glass Magazine and as a ghostwriter for several pastors with ministries all over the country.

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