“Modern Christians hope to save the world by being like it. But it will never work. The church’s power over the world springs out of her unlikeness to it. Never from her integration into it.” –A.W. Tozer
I love Jesus and I want something more.
Something more than Bible study.
Something more than church on Sunday.
Something more than Christian radio, movies and bookmarks.
I want to experience Christ.
I want to know what it means to walk with Him and follow hard.
I feel the frustration of a thin, dry, predictable faith.
I’ve been sold something that does not hold
• When the rain comes down.
• When life doesn’t line up neatly.
• When babies die and cancer goes uncured.
I want more.
When Jesus walked the earth, religious leaders gave people a lot of rules.
It hasn’t changed much:
• Don’t read certain books or watch certain movies.
• Wear the Christian mask of perfection, the one without cracks where light never escapes
• Don’t hang out with those people.
• Blend and fit in – look how we look, say what we say, do what we do, go where we go
Does anyone notice Jesus hung out with drunkards, gluttons, lepers, tax collectors, women, the disabled – those society had no use for?
And I wonder – if I’m following Jesus, shouldn’t I do the same?
I’m part of the problem when my life looks like everyone else’s.
What good is another Bible study if I’m never willing to put it into practice?
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:36-39 NIV
Love God, love people. That’s it – that’s what God calls us to. It seems so simple.
The challenge is the love part – Jesus love is hard.
Love that gives without getting.
Love that is complicated and messy and inconvenient.
Love that involves people I don’t like or relate to.
Love that calls me to broken places.
Love that tells the truth even when it’s hard and offends.
Easy to limit my faith to Bible study, prayer groups, church.
Easy to stay with who and what I know while living a sanitized, empty faith lie.
I want to walk with Jesus, feel His scars, place my fingers where Thomas placed his.
Jesus was radically different, He loved and lived in ways no one understood.
He saved me to send me.
Send me into the world – the world where I already live.
To share the gospel both with how I live and words I say.
He calls me to persecution and suffering, rejection and ridicule.
The student is not above the master.
Jesus speaks out against legalistic religion that cripples love.
He touches lepers.
He befriends the friendless.
He ticks off the establishment.
He sacrifices and loves unconditionally.
I must do the same. Sweet Jesus, I must do the same.
In my selfishness and sin, I don’t want to.
I want the lie. I want to believe I’m fine.
I want to believe it doesn’t matter how I spend my money if I tithe.
I want to believe following Jesus means doing exactly what I’m already doing.
I want ease, I want comfort.
Jesus calls me from atop the water.
He invites me to leave the comfort and safety of the boat.
Arms wide open, He promises to never leave me.
He won’t let me drown.
The boat feels safe, secure.
The water is choppy, dangerous.
The choice is mine.
I want the waves and adventure.
I want the safety and security of the shore.
These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Isaiah 29:13 NIV
Wild, radical Jesus will never be domesticated or contained.
Following Him requires all of me – not just the parts and pieces I choose to give.
It’s leaving and cleaving.
Inhaling and exhaling.
Dying and living.
It’s becoming willing to make the sacrifices real love demands.
• Willing to do what I don’t want to do.
• Willing to go where I don’t want to go.
• Willing to give up people, places and things I’d rather not give up.
• Willing to love when it’s hard, messy and inconvenient.
• Willing to obey, willing to follow.
The willingness happens in the will breaking.
Christ is always found in the breaking, in the broken.
Jesus broke to break open Heaven.
If I want to find and follow Christ, I must do the same.
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:26-27 ESV
So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33 ESV