Most of the time I am blissfully unaware of how weird I am. I love Jesus and I'm trying to live a life that glorifies him and it is completely counter-cultural. This, apparently, is really weird. In college, before the grace of God got a hold of me, I remember thinking that I did NOT want to be weird and how I never wanted to be one of those "extreme" Christians, where everything is about Jesus all the time.
I remember the day that I clearly made this decision. I had been living on the fence and I had two ways to go. I am pretty passionate about whatever it is that I'm doing so I knew that I was going to "go big" in whatever direction I chose. One option was to go back to my old life. The one filled with selfishness, hopelessness, loneliness, and borderline depression. OR I could go the other way and be sold out for this whole "Christian thing." I couldn't take being half-hearted in either direction anymore...it was tearing me apart. So I decided that if I choose this I will be weird...I will be different. 'Ok, Kelsey...are you prepared to stop caring about what these people think of you for the rest of your life? Is this worth it?' At that moment, finally, my answer was "yes." 'Ok, Jesus, I'm ready for this. Well, actually, I'm not ready but I'm too afraid to go back to that old life and I'm trusting that, with you, life has meaning and that I will finally be alive.'
These days, I am occasionally reminded of my weirdness. Not often, however, because I have been blessed with other weirdos around me who are living passionate lives to glorify Jesus. My reminder usually comes when talking to a student on campus who has no filter from their brain to their mouth. The comment passes through my ears and I'm only bothered by it for a few minutes, during which a mild paranoia overtakes me. But then I realize I'm talking to a confused college athlete, and I am reminded of how thankful I am that Jesus saved me from my own selfish confusion.
However, I have been acutely aware of my weirdness. This truth has become more real to me than ever: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18). The way that I live is literal foolishness to those who don't know. It is power but at the same time is absurdity.
Unfortunately my reminders have not been coming from atheists or Buddhists or any other non-believers...but from Christians. A lot of "Christians" are trying to be the "fencers." They don't want to go too far in either direction..."everything in moderation"...not too spiritual but not too disobedient. My question is, does that type of Christian even exist? If you really know Jesus can you possibly only want him in small doses?
I was listening to a Counting Crows song a few weeks ago and one of the lines is: "I don't want know damn religion because I'm not prepared to die." At least he's being honest, right? He isn't trying to live on the fence. He is straight-up admitting that he wants to be his own god. Jesus tells that we must deny ourselves and that we must literally lose our lives in order to save our lives (Mark 8: 34-37). This is not a some side comment that Jesus made in passing. It is a command and a requirement that he tells his disciples (and us) just before he is hung on a freaking cross to take your sin and my sin upon himself so that we can experience the overwhelming love of a Savior.
But this attitude is all too common among "Christians." This is not ok. Complacency makes me sick. It's too easy to blend in and not rock the boat. Jesus flipped the boat and, as his hands and feet we are called to do the same. "Living in moderation" is not only killing us but it's also crucifying Jesus all over again. What if only part of him would have died on the cross? Or only part of him resurrected from the dead? Well...none of us would be saved. Yikes.
Being foolish to the world is scary because of how much we crave the approval of others. We carry inside of us the power of the living God. We have what every single other person around us wants, even if they won't admit it. Being foolish doesn't mean people don't like you (well, maybe it does sometimes). If anything, it means they love and respect you for being who you really are, and it demands more realness from the people around you. More importantly, it will draw more people to The Life.
Though I get discouraged at times, never ever ever have I regretted making that decision to be a reckless follower. I have more passion for life now than I could have ever created out of my own will. Whether I'm in Winston-Salem or in South Africa, people are empty. I am NOT. I am FULL and I have within me the grace and truth that CHANGES LIVES. I don't ever want to hinder that. And if that means that I am going to be weird, then I'm ok with that.
Living foolishly for Jesus is more LIFE-GIVING than any wisdom from this world.
I want Jesus to set me on fire. A fire that will never die.
"You've become my song of passion that comes from a heart that starves for You..."
Best of the Week – 2017/08/18
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