February 18, 2008

Monday Morning Message - Collision Course

We live in a safety conscious society here in the USA. With more governmental acronyms dedicated to safety than gods in the Greek pantheon one could correctly conclude we are a society obsessed with safety. We are also brought up in an environment focused on being safe. What child has ever been able to run with scissors or play in the street? I even remember grandmotherly warnings not to cross my eyes for fear they might become stuck! All this safety has become a filter for every experience of our lives including our relationship to an anything-but-safe God resulting, all too often, in an emasculated and flavorless existence.

James makes the case for a faith that is on a collision course with the world in which the believer lives. Much more than a Sunday morning nicety or a pleasantry of piety, the faith James describes in chapter 2:14-26 moves beyond nice thoughts to difference making deeds. We are called to be changed and to change the world around us.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor who ultimately lost his life for his opposition to the "Christian" regime of Hitler's Nazi Germany, stated the following in his landmark book, The Cost of Discipleship.

"Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ...In such a religion there is trust in God, but no following of Christ."

This is an apt description of much that is called Christianity in America, trusting but not following. At some point the vast majority of Christians have gone into orbit in their relationship with Christ; not moving any closer and not moving farther away. Many are satisfied to be close but not too close. They enjoy the benefit of knowing Him without being disturbed by the call to follow Him. As Henry Blackaby famously stated, "You cannot continue life as usual or stay where you are, and go with God at the same time."

This is a collision in the making. God is on a collision course with our lives and it is time we move from belief to experience. To know God in Scripture always moves beyond information to intimacy. I warn you, it's not safe following Him! People like Abraham, David, Daniel, and Elijah found themselves in all kinds of 'messes' because of the collision of God's call with their lives. But what beautiful messes they were! They were moments of such intimacy with God and His purposes that we are still telling the stories thousands of years later! I don't know about you but that's a story worth living!

1 comment:

Eric said...

John,

Thanks, brother, for the comment on my post and for this post. I simply love The Cost of Discipleship. Your post reminded me of a story I posted recently on our ministry blog. Check it out.

Thanks for the link and I, too, look forward to the conversation...