The excerpts below have really challenged me and I wonder if they might challenge you, too. I know we all might be "challenged" enough right now with everything that comes with this time of year, but I want to challenge you in a different way. A way that has the power to bring you life, love, freedom and purpose.
The sections below are from David Bryant's book, Christ is All! Some of this may sting. It stung me. But, you know what? I'm a big girl now and I need and long for the Truth. I welcome a sting if it will bring me closer to where God wants me to be. This is moving me in the right direction. Bryant writes (I bold-ed certain parts of the text)...
"In so many of our churches, I fear, Jesus is regularly deployed as our mascot, as if our life struggles were something like a football game. Once a week on Sunday, Jesus is presented as if He were something like a mascot, trotted out to the field to cheer us up, to give us new vigor and visions, to reassure us that we are "somebodies". We invite Him to reinforce us for the great things we want to do for God. He rebuilds our confidence. He gives us reasons to cheer. He confirms for us over and over that all must be well. We're so proud of Him! We're so happy to be identified with His name. Enthusiasm for Him energizes us- for awhile.
But then, for the rest of the week, He is pretty much relegated to the sidelines. For all practical purposes, we are the ones who call the shots. We implement the plays, scramble for first downs and improvise in a pinch. Even if we do it in His name, we do it with little reliance on His person. There's scant evidence that we think of ourselves as somehow utterly incapable of doing anything of eternal consequence apart from Him.
As contradictory as it may seem, many of us have redefined Jesus into someone we can both admire and ignore at the same time! To be our mascot, we're redesigned Him to be reasonably convenient - someone praiseworthy, to be sure, but overall kept in reserve, useful, "on call" as required. We've come to Him as far as we need Him, and no further. If we insist on Jesus coming along with us as a helper in our games and excellent adventures, we inevitably tame Him as our mascot."
Ouch. Please read on.
"Psalm 110 pinpoints the single greatest reality unfolding around us today: the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The drama of His increasing kingdom interprets both the front page of our newspapers as well as the front lines of our missions. From the viewpoint of Psalm 110, we can see that peoples and events everywhere are being woven into Christ's reign, whether they know it or not. No matter how far from the center of divine activity people appear to be, Christ engages every human domain.
Taking a cue from Psalm 110, World Christians rise to serve Him every day, willing and ready "from the womb of the dawn" to volunteer freely to be with Him wherever He is engaged. He does not commandeer, instead, they volunteer- to serve Him and to fulfill His global purpose.
We obey Christ Himself. We refuse to give our allegiance to programs or projects or personalities that may be related to Christ's global cause, but which are often, at best Christ-like, and at worst nearly Christ-less in their focus and impact.
We're not merely copying Christ or simply trying to do what He would do. Rather we are determined to join in with what Jesus is actually doing, pressing His Kingdom forward in this hour.
We've been summoned to be part of a narrative far greater than we could have imagined- a larger purpose, a longer story, a higher calling. We've stepped into something rooted in ancient history, contending with a more formidable enemy, and fulfilling a far more glorious purpose, one that invites all the earth into eternal transformations. Our story is about a Lion who reigns supreme, portrayed as a Lamb at the center of the throne of the universe (Rev. 5:5-14).
God loves His Son and has a wonderful plan for Him...and He loves you enough to give you a place in it."
Here's the challenge for me, as I see it: To invite Jesus out of His mascot costume and to stand with me every step of every day for the rest of my life. To seek to align my choices and purposes with His. To contribute to God's plan, not just pick and choose what I'd like from it as if I was at a buffet.
Lord, give us the strength to withstand the temptations to only look to You when it's convenient for us. Help us to learn to know You better, to love You more and to align our lives with You and Your amazing, unfolding plan. Amen.Pin It