Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
What does it mean to be alive in Christ?
This is a good reflection point for me this morning as I’ve felt a heavy heart lately. Not that I have any less hope in the Lord, but more a sense that the burden is great for the calling is at hand to step up in a bigger way.
So much of my life has been spent in pursuit of comfortable, safe, easy, secure, protected. The pursuits of pleasure is not really a pursuit at all but more of a hiding out from the world around which is filled with so much suffering and need. Instead, much like the cartoons of the Ostrich burying its head in the sand, the self-protecting fence-walker is a coward refusing to take sides because it might create tension.
Jesus knew His mission on earth and it was not conformity, complacency or easy. He spoke in opposition to the highest authorities of his time. Not in rebellion to create division, but in the hopes of opening the leaders eyes to the oppression and suffering that their self-righteous law-giving hate-filled hearts had created.
Jesus never pretended to call His disciples to greater success, wealth, comfort and fun.
Consider the Cost
25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “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. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
Sorry, this is not a happy-go-lucky message this morning. The “feel good” prosperity preachers of our times I believe are doing the greatest disservice to Christianity today. It gives people the sense that God’s love means I am offered success, happiness, laughter and fun for the rest of my life when in reality quite the opposite is true.
Persecution Will Come
16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.
Persecution of Christians in the world is at the worst it has ever been in history.
To be alive in Christ is to be filled with a compassion and be brokenhearted for our neighbor, not be politically agitated with something happening on the other side of the globe.
To be alive in Christ is to make a difference at our work-place, not just raise our hands on a Sunday service once-a-month so our neighbor can see us.
To be alive in Christ is to be a seeker of Christ, a follower, a true Disciple knows that to pick up our cross is to drop our nets, leave those things that have only worldly value and pursue with all the courage and boldness we can muster through the Holy Spirit a life-filled response to God’s call on our life… whatever form that takes.
We are not called to Arms, we are called to Service. Who is our neighbor? Who is it that sits outside our own gate hungry and looking in as we sit comfortable, cozy, fed and protected.
To be alive in Christ is to be armed with love, compassion and filled with an overwhelming calling and purpose to make a difference in the life of somebody, anybody; this day, each day.
God has given us all gifts but to use them for the glory of God means we must exhibit Agape love, which is UNCONDITIONAL and SACRIFICIAL.
Christ lived a hard life, spoke the truth, brought healing and life to those He encountered, responded to those who believed in Him when called, and paid the ultimate price through the ultimate sacrifice of suffering to the point of death for US. He didn’t have to endure any of it, he chose to wash the feet of even Judas, the one who betrayed Him.
For me, it’s great to have a testimony of a broken life filled with addictions and depression and that Jesus Christ saved me from certain death and He is the only answer to what is holding us back from become our best selves.
But we do not get to rest in the Good News of Salvation and remain complacent and content and go on in self-perservation.
To be fully alive in Christ is to be fully engaged in the very real Spiritual Warfare that is seeking to destroy our families, our communities, our nation and our world in whatever way God has equipped and called us to do so.
Father God, I have felt your call on my life to get engaged, get plugged in, find my calling whether it be on the front lines of recovery ministry, or starting up a church-wide volunteer organization that offers free services to those in need, or even in the extreme travel as a missionary building homes, digging wells and bringing the Gospel of forgiveness, healing and strength that comes from first believing, then following You Lord Jesus. My life has been lived in self-preservation, fearing confrontation and wanting to be liked. To take a stand against those things that seek to destroy the family, to call out the behaviors (in love) of those who are selfishly destroying their own lives and the lives of those they claim to love. Father God I’ve lived my life in fear and you call me to courage and boldness. Let not this blog be the only place that I’m willing to stand for truth, help give me the willingness to sacrifice everything for Your glory. In Jesus name I pray.