Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Crazy Living

Following Jesus isn’t the sane thing to do. I do admit that given the stakes and the evidence it is the logical thing to do, but to really follow Jesus is such a radical thing to do that it makes us look crazy to the rest of the world. It is crazy to give money when we are urged to spend to the point of being thousands of dollars in debt. It is crazy to love the grumpy old neighbor when everyone else on the block just complains about him. It is crazy to celebrate a funeral while the rest of the world mourns the lost of life. It is crazy to give up time to volunteer when there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish what we would like to get done. It is crazy not to have sex before you get married when the world tells you that is the right thing to do. To live a life that truly follows Jesus makes us crazy.

Erwin McManus wrote about this reality:
“When the Spirit of God envelops your soul, your spirit comes alive, and everything changes for you. You are no longer the same. And to those who cannot see the invisible, to those who refuse to believe it exists, the path you choose, the life you live, may lead them to conclude that you are not simply different but insane. People who are fully alive look out of their minds to those who simply exist.” (The Barbarian Way, p. 69)
I think the danger that we often face is to make following Jesus reasonable. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think being a Christian requires us to shut our eyes to evidence and allow ourselves to be blindly led by the hand. Faith in Jesus Christ begins our decision to accept and trust the evidence for His life, death, and resurrection. But if that faith doesn’t start to affect the way we live then that faith is dead. Living faith pushes us to make changes and to do things we wouldn’t have done before.

Consider what Peter wrote about the change that should take place in our lives because of faith.
1 So, since Christ suffered in the flesh, you also arm yourselves with the same attitude, because the one who has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin, 2 in that he spends the rest of his time on earth concerned about the will of God and not human desires. 3 For the time that has passed was sufficient for you to do what the non-Christians desire. You lived then in debauchery, evil desires, drunkenness, carousing, drinking bouts, and wanton idolatries. 4 So they are astonished when you do not rush with them into the same flood of wickedness, and they vilify you. 5 They will face a reckoning before Jesus Christ who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:1-5; NET)

People who are guided by the passions and desires of this world think it is strange, they are astonished, that Followers of Jesus live differently. It doesn’t make sense to them because they have come to believe that life is found in the things of this world. Even through their pursuit of pleasure and money have left them unsatisfied they keep telling themselves that happiness is just around the corner. It is crazy to them that life can be found in giving our lives away. It doesn’t make sense to them.

Here we are and I wonder if we have really allowed a crazy change to take place in our lives. I am not qualified to talk about anyone else but myself and I am disappointed to say that I have not. Yes change has come. I see the world in a totally different way than I did just three years ago. I have made important lifestyle changes. Yet it seems that judge life by the same standards as the world does. I think the happiness is just around the corner. If I could just do this or that or have this amount of money or marry this person then my life will be complete.

Following Jesus is crazy because it goes against everything we have been told about what brings happiness to our lives. Jesus tells us that life is found when we lose our life. Jesus tells us that we are great when we are the least. He says that being a servant is more rewarding that being a superstar. He tells us that we are blessed when we are persecuted. It is crazy to follow Jesus if that is what He is asking from us.

To follow Jesus isn’t about add Jesus to our lives it is about conforming our lives to the life of Jesus. It won’t always make sense to us and people around us will think we are crazy, but it is the path God has established for living true life. Are we crazy enough to follow it?

  • Point to Ponder: Following Jesus is crazy because it goes against everything we have been told about what brings happiness to our lives
  • Passage to Remember: 1 Peter 4:1-5
  • Question to Consider: Am I crazy enough to really follow Jesus?

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