Aug 31, 2011

Extraordinary Measures

Normal...socially everybody else...Consider how safe these phrases sound.
But I am a Disciple of Christ, safety is not my priority. Neither is my reputation, my comfort, my pleasure, or other people's opinions of me. My priority is the will of God. First. Always. Only.
If I strive to be a socially acceptable Christian with a message that is easy on the ears of those around me, whose Gospel am I really preaching?

The words Jesus spoke challenged the mindset of every person. "Love your enemies" to a people daily oppressed and enslaved by their enemies. "Go and sin no more" to a woman whose lifestyle consisted of sin. "Sell all you have" to a wealthy man. "Come follow Me" or, in other words, "Leave your profession to come follow a stranger".

Jesus required that those who followed Him leave their pet peeves, their safety lines, their comfort zones, their back-door options, their default reactions, their family characteristics, their old habits, and their excuses behind to follow Him with great abandon.  I can't obey God and still fit in with the world. I can't become a Disciple and still be the person I was before.  The two are mutually exclusive.

The way of a Disciple has never been "socially acceptable", it is always a daring road that few can stomach.

Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego were not status quo when they refused to bow to the king's idol.
(Will you be willing to stand when everyone else knelt to a popular image?)
For that matter, Daniel wasn't normal when he refused to eat the king's food.
(Will you be willing to resist indulgence in a society driven by lust?)
Esther was not average when she stood before the king without being invited in order to plead for her people.
(If it was dangerous to be a child of God, would you stand for truth?....Alone?)
Mary was not socially acceptable when she became an unwed mother of the Son of God.
(Would you be willing to let God use you ANY way He wanted?)
Joshua & Caleb were not the norm when they proclaimed that the Promised Land could be conquered.
(Will you be willing to resist popular opinion if it denies the power of your God. Would you trust God if no one else did?)

Ezekiel was far from mediocre when he spoke an army into existence from a bunch of dead bones.
Elijah was alone when he called fire down from heaven. Noah was the only righteous man on earth (take a minute to think about that if you want to consider courage). Moses had his life threatened. David was forced into hiding. Paul was stoned. Joseph was thrown in jail.

All of these faced loss of reputation at best. Most faced loneliness, ridicule, persecution, and death.

But, Nehemiah raised a city, Josiah sparked a revival, Gideon and his army of 300 conquered a nation, Barnabas discipled the greatest Apostle in history, and 12 men turned the world upside down.

No, God doesn't ask for normalcy or neutrality. He calls us forward to dare mighty deeds.
"Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight..." (Heb. 12:1)
I dare you to find a hero that was fact, I dare you to find someone who God used that was average, comfortable, or like everyone else. When God reaches down grab a tool, His hand always grasps the one that's standing out.

To be an extraordinary Christian requires [unfailing] faith, [instant] obedience, [deep] humility, [great] boldness, [unswerving] courage, [unending] trust, and [unapologetic] holiness.



Jennifer Fox said...

"...Of whom the world was not worthy.... All these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us." (Heb. 11:38-40)

They're just waiting for us to do our part.....

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