Sunday, February 13, 2011

More love, more power, more of You in my life

I'm thinking of Bethany. At least, I think that was her name, she came with her brother to my school last fall, they held signs on the quad and tried to talk to people about Jesus. She accused me of following the ways of the world; she said I had bought into the lie that I needed to go to college, and that this was purely self-serving. My conversation with her challenged me to learn Scripture better, and reaffirmed for me my dedication to serving my campus in Jesus's name, but now I'm wondering again . . .

It's almost as though there is an invisible line. Either you are a radical or you are not. Either you are imbued with purpose or you are living after a lie. You are either sold out and on fire, or you're complacent and lukewarm. I'm picturing hundreds of thousands of legitimately God-fearing people who have been swindled by a picture of the gospel that is underachieving. There has been a call for the church to rise out of its anemia into a true and passionate rededication to

But I wonder if this fervor isn't itself a kind of lie. A false dichotomy. I watched this video by Eric Ludy, and I wondered if it was really God's plan for the Western church to invade Africa and give every orphan a family. Maybe I'm the one with the false dichotomy.

It's just that, I worry if I'm deluding myself with my weekend outreach and my handful of Bible studies and my tortured forays into spiritual understanding. I have heard over and over that the Gospel is revolutionary, it is unsafe, it is crazy. But I live in a world that is more ordered than that. I'm no John the Baptist. There's nothing counter-cultural about shouting the name of Jesus from a street-corner . . . it's just weird. My version of "living for Him", though challenging for me, seems too tame compared to the rhetoric of the greats. I'm thinking of what I read in Crazy Love this week: "I think sometimes we assume that if we are nice, people will know that we are Christians and want to know more about Jesus. But it really does work that way. I know a lot of people who don't know Christ and are really nice people. There has to be more to our faith than friendliness, politeness, and even kindness."

I'm almost desperate to become a missionary, to be neck-deep in ministry so that I never run the risk of losing sight of the Kingdom. Though, I mean, of course we always run that risk, no matter where we are. It's the human condition, inescapable. Which is why God fortifies us to be vigilant.

But still! If it's that difficult to keep my heart on God's work in some such missions scenario, how much more difficult is it to fight the temptation of "adequacy" when I am in my comfortable middle class existence.

I don't even know what it is I am confused about anymore.

It is not that I think my world is perfect, it is that I am content to face the problems of my world, and not the problems of THE world. Oh God, my God, what is it You want from me?


Jude said...

God wants us to have a life Imbued with meaning and purpose. He knew when creating you, what you would stand for and how you would be, but He gives you the chance to find out about, the chance to see the bud bloom. For some they are they Roses, bold, beautiful, and full of meaning. Often given, and often taken, and always with a purpose. But for some they are the mustard seed. Small, hardly noticed, but planted in the right soil and watered with the right amount of love, they flourish and grow. They create roots, and bond and provide that substance to our ever evolving lives. Just because "Bethany" is a Radical Believer doesn't make her the right way. Sometimes, for some people in our world they need that selfless friend, that quiet force, that laboring love to show them that God is in everybody and everything. And finally, be who you are. God wants nothing more from you than for you to love yourself because He is so completely in love with you. When you learn to love yourself, and set aside all misgivings, then and only then can God give you the push or show you the sign that will lead you down the path that He see's for your life.
Hope that helps?

L.E. Fiore said...

Eish, I relate, Hayley! And your comments about friendliness--- aaah! I have learned this lesson, too! Yes, as Christians we live to bless... but we delude ourselves if we think we are WITNESSING by being friendly. We are certainly helping our witness- maintaining it- but it is the Word of God which saves.

We need to talk.

But I'll talk here anyway. Mid last semester I was kinda overwhelmed by all the lost souls around me... I wrestled with the fact that instead of eating my lunch I could be handing out tracks... My Dad reminded me that we are never given the task of saving the world- we ARE called to live life- and God WILL give us opportunities when we desire and pray for them. I guess from all that I've taken that yes, be involved in ministry. Secondly- never, ever keep your mouth shut if you feel like something should be said. Silence isn't worth it. But thirdly- live! Christ went to weddings! He wasn't ALWAYS preaching- and we aren't even Him (if we were with Him- would we WANT him to be telling us about himself?)

I feel similarly about wanting to... like... bury myself in mission work just so I don't get lost in the world.

In the world. Love people. But don't fall in love with the world- don't fall in love with their IDEA of what a day looks like- what life looks like- what fun looks like- what NORMAL looks like.

We are a peculiar people.

:still thinking:


Hayley said...

Thank you, Jude, for your encouraging words! You are so right when you say that some people need a quiet self-less friend; I am reminded that God uses all ways to draw people to Himself, not just the radicals. And so, I am learning, how to be wholly His /where I am/.

Oh Linda! You understand! And so you respond with the truth that has alluded! There is that lingering doubt, that worry that living an "ordinary" life is not enough, that worry that radical pursuit is the only form of devotion, but I am comforted by this distinction between loving the world's definition of normal and loving the people in the world. Hm. We are called to live life. So we are.

What a great God we serve, that He would guide me out of confusion through these sisters who love Him. :) [Here's to being a peculiar people!]

Art said...

Mm. I feel grateful that I am starting to understand this!

And I am praying that we may know "what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe."

Jude said...

Glad I could encourage you!