Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Authenticity- Day 24: Try Harder

"It's time for us to rise up, get out of the rut and routine, and begin to take our Christian faith seriously." ~A.W. Tozer
It's not easy following Christ.  Let's face it, there are lots of examples we can give here.  It's easier to give into temptations rather than resist them.  It's easier to tell someone off rather than show them authentic love in a time of discord.  It's much easier to let influence of sex, violence, and drugs lull us into a media-induced coma than to make smart media choices.  It's much easier to spend our hard-earned money on the things we want rather than tithing.  It's a thousand times easier to be served than it is to serve.  Sometimes it's just hard to be a Christian, right? 
If we want macaroni for dinner, we have two choices.  We can round up our cream, butter, salt, pepper, and cheese to create a sauce while our pasta is boiling.  Then we can mix it all together and bake it for 30 minutes.  Our second option is to open the packet, add water, mix, and microwave it for four minutes.  We live in an easy, instant world and many believers drop out of the race because it takes more time than they want to sacrifice.  Some drop out because it just gets harder than they expected.  Maybe they haven't stayed in The Word, maybe they haven't been encouraged enough, maybe they haven't seen it modeled before, or maybe they just don't see any of it making a difference quickly enough.  Being a believer isn't easy in a just-add-water world.  We often don't want to finish the race simply because it's hard and it takes effort.  But we've got to keep going:

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
~1 Corinthians 9:24-27
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." ~Hebrews 12:1-3

"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 3:13-14

There are also those who know what is asked of them, but they just don't care enough to do it... even though they are "Christians."  Their Facebook profile sure says they're Christians, but you wouldn't really know it if you had never read their profile. Before the "death" of Myspace, my James dubbed this type of person a "Myspace Christian."  I've got to be honest, I don't really understand this.  I don't understand how you can know of God's love, His healing, His protection, His sacrifice, His provision, or His strength and just not care.  I don't understand it, yet I've been guilty of it too.  It's not so much that I didn't care; I cared and was genuinely humbled by it, but I didn't care enough to let it change me. I knew it all, and I was a "good person," but I didn't care enough to be any different from the world.  Am I alone here?  Has anyone else ever been guilty of being lukewarm?  That's just not good enough.   It's not where we want to be: 

"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth."  ~Revelation 3:15-16
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men." ~Matthew 5:13
“He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters." ~Matthew 12:30
"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins." ~James 4:17
The point here is that we've got to try harder. No one said it would be easy, but we've got to do better.  No one should have to ask us if we're Christians.  No one should assume we aren't believers because they have no reason to think otherwise.  We've got to be better than that.  We've got to be sold out and committed to our relationships with God.  We've got to care and we've got to show them why they should care.  We've got to show people how God and His everlasting love has changed us.  We've got to be followers who make a difference, who share God's love in all that we do.  Try harder.  Be radical.  Show the world how He has changed you. 
"Lukewarm people call 'radical' what Jesus expected of all His followers." ~Francis Chan

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