My faith is not only for me, but it has been most of my life. I even set goals for 2014 for me. They are good goals but they are self-centered goals. I have a difficult time separating being a good steward and intentional about life and being overly American in my faith. We find it offensive to set goals for others.
In America we view our faith through a western world filter where independence is prized. We don’t think on a community level. And we certainly don’t want someone to tell us how we ought to do things. We work for our family, schedule our lives around our family members, family first is a common motto.
We take this motto to the nth degree. So much so that there is precious little room left for Jesus. We add him in for our own personal growth and walk with Christ. We take our kids to church so they’ll be taught about Jesus, and sometimes we take time at home to teach them to pray and maybe even do devotionals with them. For many of us, this is where Jesus ends.
Today at our house, we’re taking down the Christmas decorations and packing them up for another year. Christmas is over.
This is one reason I really don’t like Christmas decorations. They are brought out for a season – just like Jesus – and then boxed up right after we open our gifts. Where is Jesus in this tradition?
I believe that God is calling us to greater and better things. We must shake off this culture that clothes us. We must take off the old self, with its practices, and put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator. Col. 3:9-10
My faith is for Jesus – not for me or my family. We are called as Christians to be dependent on Jesus and to be interdependent on other believers – the body of Christ. I lay down myself – die to myself – die to my culture, and take up my cross and follow after Jesus. Fake faith is easy. Fake faith is selfish and self-centered. True faith is contrary to our nature. Contrary to our culture. Jesus didn’t call us to a college education, a 1500 sq ft house with two cars, a vacation, sports teams, TV, a busy schedule, a nice wardrobe of clothes, or a comfortable retirement; our culture did.
He calls us to FOLLOW HIM.
It is a choice. Out of my deep love for Jesus I choose to take up my cross. I choose to draw near to God. This is His desisre. It is why He gave us free will to being with, that we would choose Him over this world.
Jesus called us out. Out of our homes. Out of our churches. Out of our culture. He commands that we go out to make disciples of all the nations, teaching them to obey all of His commands. This command is directed to you and to me. We can start right where we are – we make disciples who then make disciples and so on. We should be listening to God for instructions daily. Where do you want me to go Lord? What do you want me to do today Lord?
Are you spending time with God? Are you reading and studying His word where He answers such questions? Are you ready to obey? What is holding you back? None of us is promised a tomorrow. We get one life to bring glory to our creator. How have you been spending this life? On yourself – pursuing selfish, worldly goals? Are you following your plan and agenda or God’s? Are you doing what is expected of you by others or by God?
Giving God complete control over your life is frightening when you don’t know who He is. When you know who He is, and who you are to Him, you realize there is nothing to be feared, only blessings to be gained.
I challenge you to live a radical life like Jesus did. I challenge you to obey what you believe God is asking you to do (even if others think you’ve lost it). I challenge you to go and make disciples – share what God is doing in your life this year with those around you so that they can see Him. They will want more of Him as a result. Let’s keep Jesus out of the box and in our daily lives. Let’s let be true Christians because Jesus died for us so the He could LIVE in us – His life not ours.
Lord Jesus, may you reign in my heart this year. May my words be Your words and my actions be Your actions. Help me to be like You and to do only that which God wills each and every day. I praise you for Your grace and mercy when I fall short. Help me be quick to offer that grace and mercy to others and to speak boldly of Your love and Your forgiveness. Let Your light shine in me. I want more of You in my life. Teach me and show me who You are and how I am to follow You. You promise that You will make my paths straight for me – easy to follow and easy to walk. You declare that Your yoke is easy for me and that I can rest in You. Help me to keep my eyes focused on You and not on my circumstances. Show me how to be a blessing to others and to make disciples for You. I love you sweet Savior. Amen.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! Celebrating our Savior.
Be encouraged. Step out in faith in 2014. Press on to bring glory to His great name.