Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Radical is Wrecking Us
We've been listening to David Platt's "Radical" series.
I couldn't write yesterday.
I don't really want to write today either. My head is still spinning. But I think it would be good to stop and share some stuff. I have to constantly remind myself that the process is where I see Jesus. It's where we admit we have a hard time with the teachings of Christ, with saying no to our flesh. I never want to be one of those people who only display the finished product or the parts that finally said "yes" to Jesus. I wish we could all wiggle our noses and be more Christ like. The truth is...this journey is a rocky one at times. It's difficult. Yet God is evident in all the places between "here" and "there."
Our lives feel like they are turning upside down right now. You know, like the Kamikaze ride at the carnival? Like that. But there's less screaming, more crying, just as much nausea.
We're ashamed that it has taken us this many years of studying God's Word to ask one simple question...
"What if...and I know this sounds crazy....but what if Jesus means what He says?"
I mean for real. What if He means exactly what He says?
"You can't be my disciple unless you give up everything to follow me."
"Give to the poor."
"It's really hard for rich people to go to heaven."
"This is what TRUE religion looks like...care for the orphan and the widow. Keep yourself from being polluted by the world."
And yet how long have I claimed to follow Jesus and ignored the things He says?
How many times have I said, "Well...that's what He says, but that can't be what He means?"
Too many times.
As if God, the author of communication lacks in His ability to communicate clearly?
Aaron and I have cried many tears over the last few days.
I don't think we're anywhere near done.
We're asking hard questions...make my stomach burn kind of questions...
Are we generous?
Do we need to sell our house?
Do we need to leave this country?
Do we care about the poor?
Do we love them?
Heck...do we even know anyone who is poor?
Does anyone poor even live in the US?
Do we care about the widow?
Do we serve them?
Do we care about the orphan?
Do we spend our lives defending them?
Lots of questions. We have so many questions.
When Jesus called the disciples He said..."Come, follow me." Immediately they left their boat (livelihood) and their father (family) and followed Him.
If Jesus asked me to do those things, would I?
We hate all the answers to those questions.
My "boat" is so full of crap that I love...I mean tons and tons of shiny, sparkly, soft stuff that I love. Could I turn away from it, leave it behind and follow Jesus?
What gets me most is this:
Until last week, I would have thought that living wholeheartedly for Jesus was what happens when you get older...grow deeper in your faith...walk with Jesus longer. I would have thought that living radically for Jesus is something that grew on you...like a fruit.
And yet, this is how Jesus introduces Himself to others in scripture...
"Hi. I'm Jesus. Give up everything you have...leave it all behind...even your family if need be...let go of all the things you're so attached to...and come follow me. Nice to meet you."
David Platt mentions that when Jesus says this crazy stuff in scripture (this isn't all the crazy stuff He says, just a few things) that He's not talking to seminary students, or elders, or people longing to go "a little deeper." He says those things during the introductory class to Christianity.
The saddest part of all...
Until last week, I thought I was pretty awesome.
I mean...I knew I had faults. I knew I "struggled." I knew I was a work in progress. I knew I was a big fat sinner in need of God's grace every day of my life.
But I could list you a whole ton of reasons why I thought I was following hard after Jesus even though none of those reasons would have been criteria for being a follower of Christ. Instead, we wanted a sticker for doing things like teaching our kids God's Word. We're doing Lent for heaven's sake. Someone put us on a poster. I'm laughing at myself!
I'm not saying those aren't good things. What I'm saying is those things are probably bottom shelf stuff for people who love Jesus. The things I've held onto as evidence that I'm following Jesus seem like dirty rags to me today.
At one point I could throw down all the "evidences of God's grace" in my life like nobody's business.
Today, the only evidence of grace I see in my life is this...
I'm still alive. He still calls me His own, even though I am living in absolute disobedience to just about everything clear and big scripture teaches about what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus. All the big things Jesus tells me to care about...I hardly care about those things. I don't spend my life caring for the poor, the widow or the orphan. The truth is, I have given up very little to follow Jesus, and my life on the outside looks very similar to the world around me. God has changed a lot of my insides, but the way we spend our money, the way we love ourselves and avoid the very people God says we're to spend our lives caring for is heartbreaking to me. Not only do I not serve them, I don't even think of them.
Works will never save us. I know that. God's gift of salvation is free. We're just admitting that maybe we've never really counted the cost to follow Jesus, like scripture commands.
I can't tell you how hard this series has been on us as a couple...but it is changing us, and for that I'm thankful. How terrible would it have been to live in this deception forever? How gracious is the Lord to teach us these things now? I've never been more aware of His grace, His mercy and how slow He is to anger.
We're not totally sure what sort of changes God is going to call us to make. But right now it's feeling like it might be something drastic.
Drastic scares me.
I highly recommend listening to the series below. (I'm laughing thinking about how crazy you'd have to be to listen to the series after I just said all this terrifying stuff...oh yes, Heather...sign me up to have my life all jacked up.) I recommend getting your friends to listen with you so you can work out all the things Jesus teaches in community.
I would be losing my mind right now if it wasn't for the people close to us who have listened to this series, are yearning to follow Jesus on His terms, admitting with us our weaknesses, our need for faith, our need for Jesus, crying with us, praying with us, talking about these things with one another, and seeking to live out the beauty of scripture.
Jesus, teach us to live. To truly live.
Posted by Hendrick Family