Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Perhaps You Should Get Out More

One of my favorite movie scenes is from The Count of Monte Crisco (2002). Edmond Dantes swims to safety after escaping an island prison only to encounter a band of pirates. He engages in a knife fight and releases his captive, rumbling, "Perhaps you should get out more."

The idea is appealing--especially at this time of year in the American Midwest. I'm tired of snow, ice and cold and would love (love!) to get out more. But as I thought about, there's more to it than just getting out there.

In our Christian life, we need to not only get out there, we need to "be" out there. Too many of us spend month after month, year after year in training, but fail to use it. We call ourselves Christians, we hang out with Christians, we go to church and look the part, but we struggle with intermixing who we are with what we do. Too often we give in to fear of what others would think/say, fear of being rejected, of failing, of  __________ (fill in the blank). We create unrealistic standards for others, live with unfulfilled expectations, and live in a world of constant disappointment and sabotage.

What we need is to simply "get out more." We need to practice what we read (Hebrews 5:14); to do what we know. We carry a lot of "but's" in our back pocket: excuses, experiences and reasons for disobedience. But the life of the Christian is a life "lived by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) It is a  life crucified. It is a life whose excuses, reasons, experience and but's have been nailed to the cross. They have no power. They are not reality. They are vaporous fumes that blind us to the good works God has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10, Hebrews 9:14).

We will not be filled with the Spirit, we will not walk by faith, we will not experience the abundant life Jesus came to give if we balk and waver in disobedience and rebellion. God's call is live out His love for us, His love for others, and our love for Him. We are to go. It is as we are "going" that we make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).

If only we would "be"out more--living and speaking His Word--we would see wonderful, amazing things. It is as we go, as we live by faith, that we see God heal the lost soul, fill the discouraged heart, buoy the drowning friend. In the end, we test and try the truth: perfect loves drives out fear.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.

For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:7-21

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