I believe that Jesus is calling His disciples to a higher level of commitment than is generally seen in the Church and in the world today. In many way and in many nations today Christians are living and acting like non-Christians and it is hard to tell the saved from the unsaved. Believers have compromised their faith so as to enjoy the comforts of society and acceptance by their culture. Oh, we disguise it well calling it “being relevant” but in reality it is simply compromising the truth to be accepted and considered ‘normal.’
However, there is a deepening sense in the Kingdom and in the Church in general that things are not right. Leaders and followers are beginning to see that in our post-Christian society we need to live a distinctively Christian lifestyle based in Scriptural principles with the foundation to this life being the Great Commission and the need to tell the world the good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom. We need a Kingdom perspective and a lifestyle that matches what we believe. We have become too much like those we are trying to reach all in the name of being relevant. And, surveys and statistics are showing us that it has not worked.
I am not suggesting that we become so different in our dress code or lifestyle that we are considered totally irrelevant. We already have many groups and some churches that are like that. In one town where I work every one of the males – young and old – goes to church wearing black dress slacks and a long sleeve white shirt. When they walk into the restaurant or gas station after their morning service everyone knows who they are and literally avoids them – not speaking to them.
After all, the thinking goes, if I became a Christian I would have to dress like them and talk like them. I could no longer wear bluejeans and a t-shirt. And, that simply seems ridiculous. It is. Do we really think that dressing like it was the 1960’s or the 1850’s (read horse and buggy – no modern conveniences – black hats, beards, and solid black clothes) makes us more holy and acceptable to God. Really? And, it certainly does not make our message or lifestyle something others want to embrace. The lifestyle totally defeats the message.
Well, you might say, we are not extreme. Probably not. But if you took a good look at yourself and your lifestyle you will most likely find you are the total exact opposite. You are so much like the people you should be reaching that they don’t even know you are a believer. Forget the clothes and the lingo! How about simply living like a believer. Talk positive, stop talking about how hard your life is and how difficult work has been. Find another topic other than your health issues. Stop gossiping. Stop asking just to each other and avoiding the real world whenever possible. Love people regardless of who they are and how they live. Accept people even if they don’t live like you think they should. And, don’t expect them to live like Christians until they become Christians. And even then, don’t expect them to live like you do because you are not them – they are unique – and you also may not be one of the better examples of how a believer is to live.
As followers of Jesus we need to have open hearts and open homes. We must, like God our Father, be loving and giving – giving generously of what we have … time, energy, money. We must be willing to turn the other cheek (forgive) and go the extra mile (sacrifice). We must stop looking to be comfortable and start wanting to be challenged. Instead of a luxury vacation or staycation we should sign up to go serve overseas helping others who don’t have the luxury of either a vacation or staycation – they simply need to work seven days a week to keep their heads above water. Maybe…
Jesus is asking His followers – we are called disciples – to be like Him and willingly give of ourselves to serve others. Then the world will see we are different AND relevant. So, the call for a greater commitment and a seriousness about the faith is being felt and even heard in the Kingdom and in the Church today. Are you ready for the change? Are you willing to make a greater, deeper, and different commitment than ever before? I am!