“The royal priesthood of God stands in utter opposition to the notion of our present culture that the good life is the safe life, the diluted life, the respectable and responsible and grown-up life of diminished vitality.” Michael Dwinell, Fire Bearer
You know this quote is true; will you listen to your heart crying out for you to hear these words?
As a disciple of Jesus Christ you are not called to a safe life. The Son of God, who required his earliest disciples to rely utterly on Him as they spread the Gospel, does not call us now to the path of least resistance. The God-man, who rode willingly into Jerusalem one Palm Sunday knowing his death was near, does not call us to shy away from danger. The tortured Christ who rushed to embrace death on a cross in order to fulfill Scripture reminds us that while life is precious it is also meaningless unless it is lived fulfilling the will of God…a will that never plays things safe.
As a follower of Jesus Christ you are called to a life unadulterated by the false idols of this world, a life not diluted with diversions. You are going to die someday. You know this is true, yet I suspect you are no different from nearly everyone else in trying to distract yourself from this fact through lust, religion, work, recreation, family, wealth, relationships, entertainment, food, drink, or drugs. From Adam through the Apostles this fact proves true again and again: The only life worth living is the one lived for God in the face of death. In time of war, David distracted himself with Bathsheba; as he aged, Solomon kept himself preoccupied with wealth and women. Countless biblical figures frittered away their lives deluding themselves with the distractions of this world…then Jesus showed up and reminded us that this life is precious and only worth living for God in the face of death. It was a lesson His Apostles learned and believed with the whole of their being.
As a member of The Way you are called to abandon the respectable, responsible, and grown-up expectations of this life. I believe many of my fellow Americans will struggle with this statement because they fail to realize how deeply our national culture and morality influences our interpretation of Scripture. Yet you will not fail to agree that Jesus Christ was one of the most disrespectful and irresponsible people of His time: He broke many of the religious customs of His day; He broke nearly every cultural norm in the book; He was homeless, unemployed, and owned nothing but the clothes on His back; He was probably not married and did not support a family. The Son of Man knew that a life well-lived is not one bent in subservience to respectability and responsibility as defined by culture (even, or especially, religious culture) but one devoted to serving YHWH.
I invite you now to look at your own life:
- Have you bought into the lie that the good life is the safe life? Are you afraid to listen to the Spirit of God because what He’s asking you to do is ‘too risky’?
- Are you distracting yourself from the fact of your inevitable death? Do your actions prove that you believe living a long, lukewarm life will be more rewarding and fulfilling that a life blazing with vitality, regardless of its length? If you died today would you be satisfied with the way you’ve spent the last year of your life? How about the last ten years? How about the last ten days?
- Are you ready to dismiss the religious and cultural norms which shackle you and stop you from living out the amazing life God has prepared for you? Are you ready to stop trying to be a ‘responsible’ father or a ‘respectable’ Christian?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, stop now and acknowledge your sin. Ask the Father to help you live the life He intends for you.