Saturday, March 15, 2008

God's Holy People: Part 6

The follower of Jesus Christ is to live counter culturally. In other words Christians are not supposed to imitate the behavior and values of the world, but to imitate Jesus. We are to live differently because we have been set apart by God for His purposes. This is what this series of posts have been about: God’s holy people live differently from the world.

Several years ago a young couple walked into Mosaic on Sunday morning. They stood out for a number of reasons, one of which was that they made their way to the front just to find the minister, Erwin McManus, and say hello. They both seemed bright, energetic, and extremely enthusiastic about being there that day. Colin Johnson and Shiho Inuoe were at the same time living together and searching for God. They were a contradiction of terms in that Colin grew up in a Christian home and had tremendous disdain for the church and Shiho grew up in a Japanese home without any teaching about God and had an unexplainable attraction to Jesus.

Colin’s earring, nose ring, and tongue ring somehow didn’t seem to match the culture of a child whose parents had master’s degrees from Regents University, a Christian University. At first glance you would conclude that Colin was a classically unchurched university student, yet the reality was quite the opposite. He had become quite comfortable with being identified with one camp while working for the other. Even while he was worshiping at Mosaic’s San Gabriel location, he was dealing drugs on the west side of Los Angeles. He was one of perhaps millions in our Western society who had learned to life within a religion without experiencing transformation. In some ways you could say Colin was a Christian who did not know Christ. Yet in the end their quest for God proved to be genuine. If there was a God to know, they wanted to meet Him.

Soon both Colin and Shiho became followers of Christ, yet Colin’s defining moment may have come in one particular conversation. Even after coming to faith Colin was an extremely bright guy who always looked for loopholes. A range of issues such as moving to a life of moral purity created a real crisis for Colin. Colin could take a clear teaching in the Bible and make it obscure for his own purpose. All the arguments in the world really did not have a significant impact until one day at the end of a conversation with his mentor, Mike Tafoya. As he was walking out the door, Mike stopped him with one last thought: “Colin, you’re radical about everything else. Why don’t you become radical for Jesus?” Colin said that was the moment when everything changed.

That one thought made everything clear. The compelling reason he was looking for to live his life differently was right in front of him. Religion just wasn’t enough to change Colin’s life. The fear of consequence or the opinions of others were not adequate motivations to change his priorities. The call to be a good person just wasn’t compelling. Colin was anti-institution, and if anything, he was resistant to conforming to the expectations of others. It was the movement that captured him—that something important was happening in the world, that God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, had started a revolution and was inviting him to join. No observers invited, no spectators necessary, only revolutionaries, only radicals need apply. (Seizing Your Divine Moment; pg. 237-239)

Erwin McManus concludes the story about Colin by writing:
“When someone has chosen to walk away from God or God’s people, polite religion will not be enough to draw him back. There are thousands upon thousands who may never again step through the doors of any religious institution, and openly explain, ‘I’ve already tried that.’ The individual who has rejected religion and is living like hell will not be won back except by those who are living like heaven.”

Only by being God’s holy people can we hope to make an impact on this world. We need to be people who are living like heaven in this dark world. We cannot hope to impact the world by using the worlds methods and standards, we have to stand apart from the world to be noticed. People need to see that there is a better way to live, before they will give their lives to it. Are we going to be God’s Holy People?

  • Point to Ponder: God’s holy people live differently from the world.
  • Passage to Remember: Ephesians 5:1-21
  • Question to Consider: Am I going to live differently from the world?
God's Holy People: Part 1
God's Holy People: Part 2
God's Holy People: Part 3
God's Holy People: Part 4
God's Holy People: Part 5

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