In the past few years I have been introduced to the idea of a life coach. Of course, life coaching can address a lot of different things, relationships, finances, health, emotional well being, and career, among others. The basic idea is that by learning certain principles and practicing certain disciplines each of us can live more fully and enjoy life more. These life coaches attempt to aid others in re-directing their lives more constructively in some or all of these areas.
In a practical sense, I believe we who admire Jesus and wish to embrace him meaningfully in our lives must recognize and accept him as our "life coach". Too often, the church rhetoric makes Jesus into nothing more than a supposed escape hatch to avoid divine sanction. That misguided understanding completely diverts most "Christians" from Jesus, the "Abundant Life Coach".
Though occasionally we hear the church emphasize the importance of living our lives as Jesus would (WWJD?), most often the church can't get past the perceived need to enforce doctrinal conformity on everyone, including those outside the church. Stressing a plan of salvation and the tenets of church piety do little or nothing toward guiding our everyday lives in accordance with the life principles taught by Jesus.
Jesus condemned public piety. He did not conform to the religious tenets of his day. He rejected human religious leadership. He stressed the importance of human relationships, humility, and self sacrifice. His mode of living and example would be anathema to most in the church today.
Because of the misplaced notion that we please God and live fully by directing our attention to God and meeting His demands, we completely ignore the weightier matters of the law, to quote Jesus (Matthew 23:23). If we want to begin majoring in the important things, we might try Jesus as our example in day to day living, instead of church doctrine, which largely ignores Jesus as a "life coach" in favor of Jesus the future judge and destroyer.