March 28, 2013

Don't Rock The Boat

Jesus was revolutionary.  
Jesus was politically incorrect.  
Jesus was popular and unpopular.  
Jesus "rolled up His sleeves."  
Jesus wasn't afraid to stand alone.

Jesus did and still does so many wonderful things.  This weekend is Easter!  It really sneaked up on me this year.  I have been taking time to reflect on who Jesus was when He walked on Earth as a human being.  

If ever the world needed a role model it needs one today.  And Jesus is it!  He was so revolutionary in just about every area of life.  He didn't worry about what was culturally acceptable or unacceptable.

Jesus talked to women and treated them with respect and kindness.  Jesus touched lepers and confronted corrupt, religious leaders in public.  Jesus displayed anger to synagogues/ churches that made worshiping God a business.

Jesus often quoted scripture when confronting the erroneous ways of thought many people fostered.  But I have never read in the Bible that Jesus belittled or mocked people for their sinful ways.  He was always ready and willing to forgive and correct those who came to Him.

Today there still are many ways of thought and ways of life that are clearly against scripture.  Things such as: abortion, infidelity, promiscuity, human trafficking, pornography, homosexuality, drug and alcohol addictions, all manner of abuse towards women and children, etc. etc.

But I don't usually spend time talking much about "hot" topics of disagreement.  Instead I point people to the Bible and encourage them to study its pages.  What is God's opinion of infidelity?  What is God's opinion of homosexuality or pornography?  What does He think about exposing children to sex education or lying on our taxes?

I could give my opinion but that's all it would be.  My opinion.  It holds no power.  I cannot change anyone's mind or heart.  So I try to form my personal opinions based on what I read from the Bible and allow my life to speak for me.  Because honestly, how can I say as a Christian that I am against sinful ways and yet treat people cruelly or with a judgmental spirit?  Judgement is God's territory.  So I study Him and view Jesus as my role model.  Admittedly not always an easy thing.

How did God treat societies that openly and readily accepted many of the things cultures accept today?  And how does the cross fit into all of this? 

In the past my life had been personally touched by the evils of human trafficking, alcoholics, pornography lovers, physical and verbal abuse, and even racism just to name a few.  And as I suffered through these pains I knew that I could make choices about God.  I could reject God and everything the Bible teaches.  I could warp God into someone who wouldn't make me feel any conviction for anything.  I could go off the deep end and become fanatical about God's judgment and hate all sinners.

But God is so good!  He transformed my mind and healed (and still is healing) the broken places in my heart.  I am learning more about who God is and who He is not.
For many it is easier to see God as a loving god that accepts sins and sinful life styles and just overlooks it all.  But that isn't who God truly is.  He is holy.  And many times this aspect of His character is overlooked.  

Yes the cross makes it possible to be forgiven but that doesn't mean that we are spared the consequences of sin.

Yes, once we accept Jesus as our savior we become a new creation.  But that doesn't mean we will never sin again.

Yes God loves the whole world but that doesn't mean that He agrees with all our sinful inclinations.

The truth is that none of us really understand or fully know God as He truly is.  We will not know Him fully until we die.  But that doesn't mean that we should not study the Bible and keep trying to know Him better.  It doesn't mean that we should just swallow what popular opinion or the media tell us is acceptable or unacceptable.

Sometimes being a Christian means we will have to stand alone in our opinions.  Because the Bible tells us that we are becoming more like Jesus. That means we will share in His suffering.  And the scriptures remind me that Jesus was a man of sorrows.  Many times He was rejected and mocked because He stood firm in what was right even when it was unpopular.  

God will call us in life to "stand alone."  It may mean that you have to adopt opinions that are not  popular with your relatives, your coworkers, your friends.  It means that you may suffer terrible injustice at the hands of criminals and you will have to forgive and not hold grudges.  It means that people may make fun of you and put you down and even lie about you.

Whatever is to come we know that Jesus has already given us the victory.  The cross is a reminder of how much God loves us.  Jesus, even before his death and resurrection, was saving lives with a holy love.  It wasn't a love that was blind to sin.  It wasn't a love that accepted sin.  But it was a love that stood for truth and forgiveness.  It was a love that provided another way to live... free from the chains of popular opinion and self denial.

Easter means so much to me, as I'm certain it means so much to you too.  Easter means new life for me.  New strength.  New dignity.  Redemption.   I am not perfect.  But by God's grace one day I will be.  

When I look to the cross I weep.  Every time.  Not because I'm sad but because I am overwhelmed with gratefulness and joy.  I don't deserve God's beautiful gift.  But I receive it as one who was dying and needed life.  This Easter may you rediscover what the cross means to you.  May God uncover the hidden, secret places of your heart transformed most deeply by His love.

Jesus Christ died for you.  But by God's grace and power He didn't stay dead.

" For God so loved the world that He gave His only son,
so that anyone who believes in Him will not die
but have everlasting life."
~ John 3:16


Life and Breath and Everything Else said...

I was blessed reading this post. Thanks. Happy Easter to you.


Life and Breath and Everything Else:
Thank you. Have a blessed Easter. :)

BelovedBomber said...

So thankful that He is alive and working in us and through us. Happy Easter!

Denise said...

Have a very blessed Easter.


BelovedBomber: Happy Easter to you too!

Denise: Thank you and may your Easter be very blessed as well.

Anonymous said...

Blessed Easter. May you be refreshed and your strength and love renewed as we once again reflect on what Christ did in love for us all.

T-Childs said...

Living out the faith is a radical stance, and sometimes it does mean walking in the opposite direction to people around you. Much of what passes for organised Christianity in both America and Britain is watered down, all the value taken out, and what is left is something that pleases people, but I think does not please nor fools God.

Taking a chance on Jesus means we are vulnerable; turning the other cheek and learning to forgive makes us seem vulnerable and weak, and fools to the world. Accepting Jesus into our sinful and corrupted lives means that we are often different from many of those around us, and yet He is the only way to truth, real peace, contentment and the right path to salvation and all that is good and true.

Yes there is much in the world that is sinful and even evil, but we can't take it all on our shoulders. We can talk about it though, debate it, and learn to accept that much of humanity, even those who call themselves religious, need to hear a simple message; that message is that God loves us no matter who we are and what we have done or what has happened to us. And He can change us too.

Brenda said...

Hi Sincerity,
yes God loves the whole world and wants all to be reconciled back to Him, and the only way it can be done is through Jesus Christ, the mediator. We cannot judge outsiders, we can call no man 'evil' for once we were 'evil' ourselves. I see the word 'evil' simply as the reverse of 'live'(spiritually), it is what we lost in Adam, and it is what we re - gain by being born again in Christ. We are dead in our sins, we live in Him. God bless you.


Mr. LGSquirrel: Thank you. :)

T-Childs: All good thoughts. I agree that the world needs to see more real love through God's people. Not always an easy thing to do. Which is why God's people should be always leaning on Him for wisdom and strength.


Brenda: What a neat thing you taught me today! I never thought about evil and live that way before.

Very true. Christ has accomplished what Adam could not. And now everyone who trusts in Jesus can live with hope. Nothing, not even death can stop it.