Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A QUESTION OF PERSPECTIVE




"When troops move to take a beachhead, they do so with the conscious plan that they will sacrifice thousands of men. What if the Christian church moved into the world with the same convictions? What if we had a conscious plan to follow (Jesus) even though it might cost many lives? ...It would appear that before the Christian church justifies giving the lives of so many of its people in military involvement it should look at the greater sin of being unwilling to sacrifice lives of affluent ease for the cause of building the Kingdom of Christ." - Myron S. Augsburger; War:Four Christian Views, page 93.

What has it cost you to follow Jesus? I mean, what has been the actual cost; what have you given up?

Are we willing to give up our time, our comfort, our entertainment? Are we willing to surrender our freedom, our job, or our reputation with others?

Are we truly living here as strangers and aliens in a foreign land? Are we really willing to let go of this world in order to embrace the eternal Kingdom of God?

Do we sacrifice the life of the Kingdom in favor of temporal pleasures in the here and now? Or are we willing to sacrifice the things that will soon vanish away in order to usher in the eternal treasures of Christ?

What really moves us? Do we have more passion for our Nation’s flag or the Constitution than we do for Jesus and His Gospel?

God’s heart was moved with compassion for the outcast, the broken, the lonely, the diseased, the sinners and the unclean.

Are we equally moved for the poor in our community, or the immigrants working three jobs to support their family, or the lesbian couple who gets shamed by their church?

We know that we shouldn’t have idols in our life, and that nothing should eclipse our devotion to Jesus. But if an idol is anything we will sacrifice our children for in order to maintain our way of life, then what is the name of the god we appease when we send our children off to die so that our nation’s foreign policy is defended and the price of gas stays under $4 a gallon?

What does it really mean to be “in the world, but not of the world”?

Are we first and foremost citizens of God’s Kingdom – without borders or flags – or are we at heart actually more American than Christian?

The truth is, the Body of Christ is a global reality whose citizens inhabit every nation on the planet. If you are in this Family of God, then you have brothers and sisters in Iran, Iraq, China, Pakistan, and every other nation on earth. Most of them are not Americans, and they do not ever want to be. Their hearts desire is to know Christ and Him crucified. They long to hear His voice and to walk in His ways. They see you and I – in spite of our nationality – as members of the ekklesia and as fellow members of Christ.

We are not properly identified as Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Charismatics, Pentecostals, or Anglicans. We are simply His children. We are His Body. We are ambassadors of His Kingdom. We pledge allegiance to no other nation except to His.

The question before us now is simply this: “Are we willing to lay down our lives for the Kingdom of God?”

There is a profound difference, I am learning, between "being willing" to lay down my life for Christ and actually laying down my real life for Him.

If I am in Christ, then I have already died to myself. I have already crucified my nationalism, along with everything else.

Now let the Kingdom come, no matter what it costs.

-kg




2 comments:

Debbie Kean said...

I am a wee bit amused that although you seem to realise that there are Christians who are not American you do not realise that what you wrote would be read by non Americans who further more oppose America with everything in them because of your wars

Keith Giles said...

Debbie - I do realize that, but since over 90% of those who read and follow my blog are Americans [and since my desire is to see the Church in America transformed into the image of Christ] I often call out the particular American tendencies that I am familiar with.

And I do know that these problems are not uniquely "American", it's just that this is my home and I feel like I'm talking to my own tribe.

Still, I appreciate the reminder that there are those who read my blog outside of the USA and still find grace to forgive me for using Ameri-centric language.

Peace!
kg