It's time we untamed our Christianity.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Our faith defies the status quo.
Our Savior calls for a complete revolution of the human heart.
Our Gospel is designed to ignite a total regime change within the soul of every living person.
Our Messiah was executed for defying the Empire - both the Church and the State.
He encouraged his followers to lay down their lives and die for Him - not as suicidal martyrs, but as radical agents of love who would rather die than resort to hatred or violence.
The majority of our Scriptures were written by a former terrorist who helped to imprison and murder numerous disciples of Christ.
He was radically transformed by a supernatural encounter with our Jesus and that day became an ambassador of the Prince of Peace.
After that day he left his violence behind and instead embraced the way of the cross, seeking not to destroy his enemies, but to love them and to share in the sufferings of Christ as he boasted all the more in his own weakness.
Many of those early disciples and saints were led like lambs to the slaughter, much like our Lord. By the hundreds they submitted to the governing authorities and were burned, boiled and skinned alive, beheaded, and even crucified upside down, never once reaching out to do violence to their oppressors, but declaring their love for Jesus and even praying for those who put them to death.
These subversive missionaries of light understood that their struggle was not against flesh and blood. They knew that the weapons of their warfare were not of this world, but spiritual, and far more powerful - able to transform hearts and minds alike.
They knew that they were sent as lambs and doves, not wolves and serpents, into a world dominated by power and lust. Yet they refused to participate in the things that make for war or death.
Instead, they devoted themselves to the way of life, and light, and peace, and mercy, and most of all to love.
Oh, blood was shed, to be sure. But the blood that was shed was their own.
What happened to those Christians? Where did those sorts of believers in the message of Christ go?
Why, today, is it so rare to find anyone who claims the name "Christian" and still embraces the Gospel of Christ?
Instead of resisting the Empire, many Christians today embrace it, salute it, pledge their allegiance to it, and even kill others to protect the honor of their Empire.
Instead of seeing everyone alive as someone Christ loved dearly enough to die for, many of them openly express their hate for people of other faiths, and make no attempt to veil their contempt for those who oppose them, or their Nation, or even their Political ideology.
Instead of laying down their lives and their rights so that those who are without Christ might see a living example of His radical love, many who claim to follow Jesus attempt to cut people off from God's grace simply because they are "sinners"; forgetting that Jesus was a friend of sinners and spent most of his time among them in fellowship.
Many Christians today are deeply and profoundly offended by the idea that Jesus loves terrorists, and homosexuals, and communists, and transgender people, and those who simply think differently than they do about God, or Politics, or Theology.
If those early Christians were like the people who wear His Name today, they would have tortured or killed someone like Saul of Tarsus before he ever had an opportunity to be changed, or to write most of our New Testament.
I'm so glad they weren't like us. I just wish that we were more like them.
The truth is, we cannot say we love God if we do not love others.
That means, I love God as much as I love the poor.
I love God as much as I love the homosexual.
I love God as much as I love my enemy.
What if, at the final judgment, Jesus identified you as a sheep or a goat based on how well you had loved your enemy?
Is there any reason to think that He won't? He warns us that on that day He will divide us by groups into those who showed mercy and love to the outcast, and those who did not.
Jesus also said that not everyone who called him "Lord", would enter His Kingdom. Only those who do what He said to do.
Loving our enemies is one of the clearest and most unmistakable commands Jesus gave us.
"Why do you call me ‘Lord, lord’ and do not do what I say?"
Are we so sure that our attitudes about others are justified? Are we certain that Jesus won't expect us to have embraced His call to love others as He has loved us?
The Gospel of the Kingdom is simply about submission to Christ as Lord. If He is truly Lord, then we can love as He commanded and not worry about the outcomes.
It's time we untamed our Christianity.
Let us return to a wild, unbridled pursuit of the radical Messiah who challenged us to live outside our comfort zones.
Let us defy the status quo and begin to love with more audacity and abandonment than anyone would consider feasible.
Let us resolve to hate no one - to condemn no one - to shame no one.
Let us take up our crosses, set our eyes on the One who would rather die than live without us, and follow in His footsteps towards a Kingdom that is already in the making.
"Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15)