“I am personally dissatisfied with cultural Christianity – Canadian Christianity, American Christianity, or Eastern Europe Christianity. Totally dissatisfied. And my dissatisfaction has not come because all of a sudden I am going “secular’ or ‘liberal.’ I became dissatisfied by studying and plunging into what the earliest Christians called “the Way.” You know, the way of Jesus, the way of the cross, and the way of the Kingdom.” (Shane Claiborne – Urban Monk)
I read that comment on a recent flight to somewhere. It is part of a great book called “The Irresistible Revolution- Living As An Ordinary Radical.” An excellent read and well worth the investment of time and money. Powerful book, life-changing, gripping, moving, thought-provoking. Not a book to read if you are comfortable with the way things are in your life and your walk with Jesus. But, if you know there has to be more – you pray that this is not all that there is to this thing called Christianity – then this is your book.
The way of Jesus – is not the way of the Church. In fact, I wonder, at times, if Church people really know the real Jesus … not just church-goers but even born again believers. Have we encountered the real Jesus or simply a “plastic” version that is really a god of our own making that allows us to comfortable and complacent? I believe that the Jesus most people worship and adore at a distance is “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4). So, we cannot follow the ‘way of Jesus’ if we are not following Jesus. And, if we are not evangelizing and talking to others about the Lord then we are not following the real Jesus because He said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Not fishing – not following. So, to follow the ‘way of Jesus’ we need to see and follow the real Jesus and not the well known and familiar religious Jesus.
The way of the cross – Now, here’s something that is ignored or forgotten quickly when heard…”take up your cross and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23) To carry one’s cross – whatever that may be defined as – (and the scholars don’t always agree) is something that seems to be ignored and simply not accomplished. Crosses are difficult, annoying, heavy, even visible. We don’t like this because ‘visible’ means we often stand out and appear different and many want to simply blend in and not be noticed. Listen carefully: true believers are noticed and are annoying at the best of times. As they carry their cross they remind us of another world, another plan, another way of life. And that visual reminder goes right to the heart and brings conviction. That is what we are to do – carry the cross and be different so we can be salt and light in the world.
The way of the Kingdom – Now here is a big one. The Kingdom we walk in and that is in us (Romans 14:17) is not of this world as Jesus said. Yet, many live in the domaine of darkness (the world’s kingdom) and live the way the world lives – enjoying sin for a season. The way of the Kingdom is upside down to the ways of the world. Is your personal private world upside down to the world? Is the way you express your inside world – your lifestyle – represent and look like the way of the world or does it really represent the way of the Kingdom – the way Jesus calls us to live? Only you (and those who are not saved and know you) can answer that. Have a look at your Facebook account…look any different than that of your friends who are not believers? Anything up there on your wall that you should be ashamed of as a believer and Christ-follower?
The way of Jesus. The way of the cross. The way of the Kingdom. Which way are you walking? Which way are you heading? What are you embracing?