Things Nobody Told Me About My Faith #10
I became a Christian in 8th grade after a Dawson McAllister “Walk to the Cross” Conference. Dawson took a lot of time to explain the life of a Christian was designed to be one of exciting faith and trust in an Almighty God. It was to be a life filled with challenges, adversity, victory, defeat and most of all “a life worth living!”.
Needless to say I was pretty “pumped” about beginning my life with Jesus. But after a while I began to see that many of the folks that said they love Jesus, were neither exciting nor offered much challenge. In fact the goal for many of them seemed to be safety, comfort and control! The pursuit of the “Leave it To Beaver” life!
I see this quality in many men as they sit in my office and have boiled their faith down to a simple list of “do’s and don’ts”, niceties that neither satisfy or inspire. They are neutered and many believe that is how God intended. While I am not a huge fan of John Eldredge’s theology but he was right in his book “Wild at Heart” when he proposes that men (and women) were born and re-born for more than “behaving well”.
Starting off at #10.
A HOLY LIFE IS SUPPOSED TO BE MESSY!
Christians are called to:
- confront a brother in their sin (Matt 18)
- care for widows and orphans (Acts 6, James 1, 1 timothy 5)
- visit the imprisoned (Acts)
- apologize for offenses to others (Matt 5)
- stand alone when no one else will (2 Tim)
- turn the other cheek when we want nothing more than to fight back (Matt 5, Luke 6)
- forgive those who have offended us (Entire New Testament)
- suffer for the cause of Christ (2 Cor.1, 2 Tim 2)
- submit to authority (both good and bad) (2 Peter)
- be “salt and light” (Matt 5)
- look at people with compassion (Eph. 4, Col. 3)
I am not sure how a person does any of the above mentioned things without getting their hands dirty.
Far from being called to a “Leave it to Beaver” life of propriety and safety, God calls Christians to an exciting and dangerous life making an impact in the world that desperately needs Him.
Illustration: I was standing in line at a church cookout several years ago when one of the my friends in line picked out a diet 7Up can from the ice chest full of soft drinks. The can was silver and the afternoon sun reflected off of it brilliantly. I did not think much about it until she made a clever comment about the how it looked like a Coors Light can (only funny to Baptists). It was almost as if she had used profanity as the group within earshot got a little bit tense.
Then the “ringleader” of the other women said abruptly,”I would not know what a Coors Light can that looks like!”
Implying that the fact that my friend even knew what a Coors Light looked like showed a lack of purity and devotion to the Lord. (are we in Junior high or what?)
In my mind I thought how silly it was that the “ringleader” felt compelled to belittle my friend… especially given the fact that her husband has no problem having a beer with his meals. While I cannot speak to this woman’s heart, her actions illustrate what many folks believe is the chief end of their faith; to be separate from the world… or at least to appear that way. She seemed to take pride in being ignorant about the culture that surrounds her….or worse, she had buried her head so far in the Bible that she was of little use outside the walls of the church. (harsh)
I’m pretty sure that was not the approach that Jesus took:
Jesus spent time with women, prostitutes,tax collectors, thieves, and yes even religious hypocrites. He did not separate himself from the world he came to save. (of course at times He did for reflection and rest) We see throughout the Gospels how Jesus views people who have no hope….. with compassion and involvement in their lives. (Matt 9,14,26, Luke 10,14, 15, Hebrews 10:34, James 2…..more)
As I have grown up a little bit in my Faith I have found so much freedom in worrying less about how I look to my brothers and sisters in Christ and more about how I can reach people that do not yet know my Savior.
from The Bible Study Series, “Things They Did Not Tell Me About My Faith” – Hixon Frank 2007