Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God~2nd Corinthians 5:20
This past Sunday afternoon I encountered a situation I literally cannot remember facing at anytime in the recent past. I returned home from a trip and handed the book I had just finished reading over to my son. It did not take long to discover that I was completely out of books to read.
For the average person this discovery would barely be worth noting. I am not the average person when it comes to the written word. I am a book hoarder. I stockpile books with the same zeal a prepper planning for the apocalypse squirrels away ready-to-eat-meals and ammo.
However, my stockpiling tendencies were recently curtailed when my husband politely suggested that I might want to consider reading the books I already had before I purchased or borrowed any more. I dutifully agreed to his plan, which ultimately led to an online quest for some used books.
As I was perusing the available selections I ran across a nonfiction title so intriguing I was inclined to purchase it before I even read the description. It is not a Christian book, but You Are the Message by Roger Ailes could easily be a Christian title. The title is in fact such a Christian concept that I’m thinking it would be wise to write those words on my forearm every morning before I leave the house and plaster sticky notes with that message in conspicuous places. It’s that critical.
It is a message the early church understood and embraced. They understood that people are God’s most valuable method of communication to a fallen world. As a result they were willing to do things and embrace hardships modern day Christians are sometimes reluctant to even consider. They were also more tuned into key truths than we are today and their understanding made them much better messengers than we are. These truths are:
Christians are supposed to be just a little weird
The latest fad in Christianity was displayed in a Buzzfeed video that recently went viral. The video opens with several attractive, articulate young adults proudly declaring that they are Christians and then smugly rejecting Christian morality. The remainder of the video is spent passive-aggressively mocking all the bigoted chumps who are silly enough to assume that the Bible and two thousand years of traditional church teaching is something to be taken seriously. Sadly, these views have become a part of greater movement within the church world. It is easy to dismiss this effort as nothing more than the folly of a few well-intentioned but misguided souls. It’s more than that; at the root of this movement is an adolescent fear of being branded “different.” We want the benefits of saving faith and the adoration of people who don’t understand or like the teachings of Jesus. This feat cannot be accomplished without disconnecting Christianity from its historic moral teachings. Unfortunately, Christianity deprived of its virtue is just a feeble self-help program and a colossal waste of time. We might as well sleep-in and go to brunch on Sunday mornings.
God knows more than we do-
With all of the developments in science and technology in recent years, it’s easy to forget that if history is repeated, half the stuff we “know” to be true today will be proven wrong tomorrow. Our knowledge and understanding of the world is finite and has certainly not surpassed God’s. Because of His superior understanding God gets to be judgmental sometimes. When we find ourselves at odds with biblical teachings God is not the one who needs to adjust His thinking, we do. It’s time to embrace this truth rather look for a way to run from it.
The point of salvation is change-
God loves people just the way they are. He does not require anyone to become perfect in order to earn his mercy. God also knows that people are not okay just the way they are. God loves people so much that He forgives their sin (all they have to do is ask). He then graciously empowers them to change and become the people He calls them to be. This change is called repentance and it is not optional; faith without repentance is a cheap reproduction of the genuine article.
The message we are called to be to our broken world is deeper and richer than the one we have been sending. There is more to God than our one-dimensional, feelings-centered view of the faith. It’s time believers get back to the understanding that when God’s people are living out His standards, they are not being judgmental or mean; they are living the message.