Thursday, May 17, 2012

Living for Jesus

Although reading has always been my favorite pastime, I don't have much time for that during the school year (except reading, of course.) However, I made time to read Blue Like Jazz at the beginning of this year, and I was very glad I did. While I definitely disagree with or don't approve of some things in the book, the author is describing his moral journey and how he found God. It has some powerful, thought-provoking questions. There's one thing he discusses that I want to encourage you to think about today.

I think many of us, when asked, would say that the ultimate test of devotion is whether or not you would die for someone. And in many ways that's true. Clearly, Christ died for us when we were at our darkest (Rom. 5) and that's the most valuable gift ever given and strongest devotion ever shown. But I'd challenge you today to think about living. I honestly can say that I think if someone asked me to deny Jesus or die, I'd choose death. Although, to be completely honest, it might depend on what kind of dying we were talking about. But I think that a lot of us could really say that we would die for our cause. Dying would be a good way to show our love for Jesus and our devotion, and it would be relatively painless. Death and then comfort, death and then reward, death and then glory.

I think living is the hard part for me. It's easier for me to proclaim my belief in Christ and get shot than it is for me to do what I'm supposed to do and talk to random people about Christ. Because if I die, I'm not having to suffer the embarrassment of putting myself out there. I've done it and I'm outta here. I'm so insecure and concerned about how people view me, that it's the day-to-day living that's hard. But that's such a silly, shallow attitude. As Francis Chan puts it in Crazy Love, “When we face the holy God, “nice” isn’t what we will be concerned with, and it definitely isn’t what He will be thinking about. Any compliments you received on earth will be gone; all that will be left for you is truth.” What people think of us is going to seem pretty ridiculous when we get to Heaven. Even the people who respect us and think we're model, spiritual people aren't the ones who will be judging us, and of course the people who laugh at our beliefs won't be. God will be.

So my question for today is: are you willing to live for our cause? Are we devoted enough to die and experience brief pain to show our loyalty, but not willing to show our loyalty by proclaiming Jesus daily in our lives? I'm convinced that for me, living for Jesus is the hard part.

Here's a quote from Blue Like Jazz that was pretty poignant for me, and definitely humbling.

“Andrew would say that dying for something is easy because it is associated with glory. Living for something, Andrew would say, is the hard thing. Living for something extends beyond fashion, glory, or recognition. We live for what we believe....if I live what I believe, then I don’t believe very many noble things. My life testifies that the first thing I believe is that I am the most important person in the world. My life testifies to this because I care more about my food and shelter and happiness than about anybody else. I am learning to believe better things. I am learning to believe that other people exist, that fashion is not truth; rather, Jesus is the most important figure in history, and the gospel is the most powerful force in the universe. I am learning not to be passionate about empty things, but to cultivate passion for justice, grace, truth, and communicate the idea that Jesus likes people and even loves them.”

What are you living for? What are you showing that you believe in? 

Today, pray that we'll believe (really believe) in the important things, and that we'll believe them enough to live for them. Today. Let's make our lives testify that we're passionate about deeper, higher things.

And because I just love quoting Crazy Love: 

“In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him.” 

Heaven is a place of rest, let's be tired when we get there.

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