Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Go Bold or Go Home (Christianity is not for wimps)

Have you ever eaten at Del Taco?  Good, yummy stuff.  My personal favorite is the Macho Combo burrito with steak.  By the way, why do they call it Del Taco when they only have three or four different tacos on their millions of options menu board?  Think about it. 
All that is beside the point.  The only reason that I brought up Del Taco is because every bag, cup, burrito wrapper and sauce packet has a very common (non-trademarked) phrase on it:  Go Bold or Go Home.

What does this mean to a non-believer who just happened to read the side of his cup of Mountain Dew? 
Besides meaning that Del Taco is the boldest choice for your lunch (the world is full of lies), it means that we should live our life to the extreme.  After this life, there’s nothing else.  Make the most of it.  Make money, spend it; have fun.  
If you do not know Jesus Christ, and the above paragraph sounds shallow and empty to you, keep reading.
What does this mean to the Christian?
It means that Christianity is not for wimps.  Just because it is a free gift does not make it easy to use effectively.  Someone may give you a hammer and nails and lumber for free, but it still takes muscle and brains to put them to good use.  It takes hard work to be a Christian.  As Christians, we want to be tough, fearsome warriors for God.  We want the enemy to tremble at the power of Christ in our lives.  When we think Chuck Norris, we think everything that is tough and manly and powerful.  If Jack Bauer or Jason Bourne (fictional, but nonetheless) were after you, you would fear for you life because these men are known to be fierce warriors who will do whatever it takes to complete the job.  In the book of Judges, the Bible speaks of a man named Samson.  Samson was the strongest man who ever lived.  He killed thousands of armed men with the jawbone of a donkey.  He was a warrior and his enemies knew it.  Samson was a household name because he had the reputation of being a man who could massacre his enemies without even breaking a sweat.  The ultimate example of a frightening reputation is Jesus Christ.  It has been over two thousand years since his physical death, and to this day entire governments are intimidated by the very use of His name.  That’s what I call power.
That’s the Christian I want to be.  I want it to be that demon spies rush in a screaming flurry to headquarters because Joshua Eddy is heading to the front lines.  The power of Christ is the same for all of us: it’s how you use it.  Two people can have the very same firearm, but it is the one who is highly trained in its use that will take out the center of the target.  Like so many Americans, we Christian just keep the gun (that is, Christ’s power) in the closet and expect it to protect us when we need it.  There’s nothing wrong with having a weapon for the protection of the family and home, but not being trained in its use is just asking to be disarmed by a skilled and deadly enemy.  
How do we become skillful warrior for Christ and his Kingdom?  That is an enormous question.  However, true to character, the Bible spells it very clearly and concisely in Proverbs chapter three:  “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and men.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.”
We must reject all concept of sin in our lives.  As one who has tried to be regular in prayer, I have learned that even one “little” sin that I was unwilling to give up has completely numbed my ability to talk to God with any sincerity.  I can’t look Him in the eye when I know that He knows that I’m hiding something from Him.  But why won’t we give it up?  Is it really that worth it?  I’ll give you a scenario:
A Marine was on the night watch when he heard a noise.  It might have been nothing.  He knew that he should go check it out, but he wanted to finish his cigarette first.  It was cold and he didn’t want to waste the last half inch on nothing.  Suddenly a shot rang out.  The next few moments were chaos as soldiers ran out of the barracks.  Word finally came around that the commanding officer, a man who was a strong and gifted leader, had been assassinated.  When an investigation followed, the soldier confessed to having heard a noise, but shrugging it off as nothing.  He was discharged for negligence in the line of duty.  His military career, his training, and his future all came crashing down and were forgotten all because he wanted to finish one cheap cigarette.  He could have been a hero.  But he valued a few puffs of smoke more.  
Are you passing up a whole life of effectiveness for Christ because you don’t want to give up your old patterns and habits of sin?  In C.S Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters, a demon tells his young protégé that if they must lose a soul to the lordship of Jesus Christ, they must do all that is in their power to hinder their productivity:  A sleeping Christian is just about as good as an unbeliever.  In fact, they consider the inactive Christian as a valuable asset.  A lazy Christian who does nothing for the sake of Christ, but rather lives for himself will lead others astray.  A Christian may be hesitant to follow the example of an unbeliever, but we tend to flock together.  In these days of laziness and complacency, we like to find the easiest rout; the most comfortable ride.  So in our weakness we find someone who is fun to be around, is a “Christian”, and most of all, will not challenge us in our walk.  
If you never exhort your friends to step up to the plate (while leading by example), you may be guilty of being a soft pliable Christian: unwilling to step on toes and go out on a limb for the sake of Jesus Christ and the soul of someone that you call your friend.
Dear friend, I fail to be strong on a regular basis.  Far too often do I care more about what others think of me, and not “making anybody uncomfortable” than I do about being a real man for God.  If I have been that way to you, I apologize and beg your forgiveness.  I pray that someday soon I will be given a second chance to speak into your life in a meaningful way. 
What are you holding on to besides the Lordship of Christ?  Why are you holding onto it?  Is it worth the cost?  Have you considered the cost?  Why not?
Christianity is not for wimps:  Go Bold or Go Home.  If you won’t live for God fully, then why live for him at all?  Are you just looking for a free ticket to heaven?  If that’s the case, how could you possibly say that you have a heart of true repentance?  
Telling someone that God has a great plan for their life has become one of many Christian clichés, but let’s look at it anyway:  No matter how worthless or mediocre you feel, I guarantee that you could not possibly imagine the possibilities that are granted to a willing and humble heart.  I know that I have not completed any large work for God yet, but even so, I could not have imagined even two years ago that I would ever amount to half of who I am today.  Not because I am someone worth bragging about in earthly terms, but because this battered soul has been through the valley of death (not the shadow of death) on its hands and knees, and because God brought it back to him.  My soul is what one song calls Broken and Beautiful.  Broken because of the places it has wandered, and beautiful because of the Love that brought it back to life.
I never want to hear another person say that God can’t use them.  How prideful!  Do you really have such pride in your heart to think that the God of all creation, who started with absolutely nothing, could not use you for a great work?  I pray that God would save us all from such a snare of thought. 
Think of God’s Word, the Bible, as a dumbbell:  you can use to work out every muscle in your spiritual body.  Think of prayer as running:  it will strengthen your heart and give you endurance for the hard race ahead of you (not to mention build powerful relationship between you and God).  Ask any professional athlete how hard they train to be the best.  You might be surprised.  In competition, a professional triathlete will cycle one hundred and twelve miles, get off his bike and swim for 2.2 miles, get out of the water and run a marathon (a little over 26miles).  These are some of the most powerful humans on earth.  How hard are you willing to train to be a powerful Christian?
Christianity is not for wimps:  Go Bold or Go Home.  If you won’t live for God fully, then why live for him at all?  

No comments:

Post a Comment