Settle in. Grab yourself a cup of tea (or coffee if you’re in my squad) and take a breath.
This post is an outpouring of my heart; thoughts and words, fragments of dreams and ideas, that have been steeping in my mind and heart for some time now. It’s as if scraps of my heart that have been broken apart by the emotional pain and burdens I’ve been carrying for so long, are now being woven back together with the same fingers that created my heart in the first place. Re-arranging, re-positioning, discarding parts that I’ve outgrown and presenting new parts for me to grow into.
New words are being written in my mind and brewing in my dreams.
Forgiveness – for both myself and others. Peace – for my future and from my past. Deliverance – from my enemies and my own mistakes. Acceptance – just as I am in God’s presence. Renewal – of my mind and heart. Remembrance – taking myself back to my “roots” and re-visiting things that I’d been taught at a young age but somehow disregarded as I got older.
These terms aren’t just flat words to me. They’re three-dimensional. They’re actions. To me, these words are a call to action; a call to change.
A banner over all of this, is a question that I’ve been sitting with for a while: “What if?”
The question “what if” sounds like an improv prompt. Like “yes, and”, it holds endless possibilities and avenues for creativity. “What if” seems to declare “Okay, everything you’ve seen before is about to be flipped.”
“What if” there’s more than what we’ve settled for this entire time?
What if Christians are supposed to be different than the mediocre label we’ve been handed?
Take a “what if” lens to your relationship with God for a minute:
What if we were real with God? What if we stopped looking at our relationship with Him as something we are “supposed” to do, and instead as something that we crave? What if our prayers stopped being routine? What if the reason we pray was ignited by a desire to be in fellowship with the One that created our deepest needs for fellowship? What if everything else we love, pales in comparison to how much we love and adore Jesus? What if we pursued God’s heart with the same tenacity we give our other goals? What if pursuing God’s heart was our greatest goal?
The mediocre label that we’ve adopted as Christians starts to fade away, and a new identity begins to emerge. Our Christianity becomes less of an obligation to make our older relatives happy, and more of a desire to fill our souls. Hearts lit by authenticity and passion for God replace the barely-beating shadows that have been weighing our bodies down. We give up the strong-will of our lives and exchange it for complete joy in our lives being representative of Christ. When we turn over our lives to God, we embody Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
What if that same lens was turned on our motivations for our livelihood?
What if we began every morning with the invitation, “God, will You use me as Your hands and feet today?” What if we evaluated our lives with the question “Am I who God created me to be? Am I becoming who God created me to be?” What if we stopped looking at our days as slots to be filled with business and instead, gifts from God to pursue His will? What if we stopped thinking we were “good enough Christians” and took a radical look at what God expects of us? What if our greatest concern was with never going a day without seeking God’s face? What if the one we’re most concerned about pleasing is God?
Maybe, we would stop being burdened by expectations we place on ourselves. Maybe then our priorities would change from focusing on ourselves and our needs first. Maybe then we would find peace in Him – never to be shaken, but instead, standing firm like one on a solid rock in a storm. Like in Psalm 29:11 “The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” Maybe we’d be less like the people in Revelations 3:16, who have grown lukewarm in their walk with God.
What if we used the same lens to look at others around us? What if we changed the way we look at both Christians and non-Christians alike?
What if the Body of Christ was more than a congregation of people that want to live a “good life” and instead was a tribe of brethren that would lay down their lives for one another like Jesus did for each of them? What if we stopped looking at the Christians around us as people that we stand next to on a Sunday morning in our best clothes, and instead as brothers–in–arms that we stand with, shoulder-to-shoulder in battle? What if we went to church because we don’t want to fight our battles alone? What if our motivation to go to church was about no one else but God?
What if we looked at every person we come in contact with as someone that Jesus loves so desperately, He willfully died for them?
What would that look like? What would happen?
Would our hearts stop endlessly pouring worship to idols of lesser things?
Would we see a remarkable difference in how we regard others?
Would we see a remarkable difference in how God uses us?
Would our “best intentions” turn to useful action?
Would people see Jesus in us?
What if our hearts became so saturated with loving God that this love couldn’t help but pour out of our hands and mouths as we go through our days with others?
What if our generation’s deep “fear of missing out” didn’t have anything to do with missing out on social experiences, and instead was a fear of missing out on what God has in store for us?
Would our lives inspire others to pursue God?
Would our hearts love in a new way?
Would an entire generation of Christians start to prove the world wrong?
This is not a list of suggestions. This is not a collection of fragments that can be easily discarded. This is a call to action – an alarm that has been set off, demanding a reaction. Don’t hear the “wake up call” and then hit “snooze”. We must awaken from our slumber in mediocrity and begin to move our hands and feet. Like Lazarus being called from the grave, we must burst forth from the death we have succumbed to and pursue the Light. Like the blind man whom Jesus healed, we must take off – charging headfirst into the world, desperate to declare Jesus to anyone that will ask. Like the paralyzed man whom Jesus gave the ability to walk, our hearts must be leaping with joy in His presence. We cannot come face-to-face with God and remain the same. We should not read the Bible and still remain unchanged. We should not sit in prayer and perform a routine. We must not treat our days like a repetitive series of sun-up-sun-down for us to dispose of however we want.
Saints, we must no longer sit dormant in our complacency.