In my free time I’ve been listening to two very inspiring people – Matt Chandler and Francis Chan. (Listening to messages is a favorite hobby of mine). A recent common theme between the two has been the things that we choose to leave out of Christianity. I will explain what this means shortly. This has also recently been a topic in our mission bible study our teams are doing. I love that God groups things together like this. In my life when He wants me to get something He seems to put it everywhere. For example, I’ll have a conversation with one person, then watch a movie with the same theme, then I’ll hear a song on the radio that addresses the same topic. It’s so neat and it’s fun for me to put things together. I feel like a detective searching for clues to this bigger mystery I’m trying to solve. It’s also cool that God teaches us in ways that we learn best.
Anyway back to the things we like to leave out of Christianity. This is a new chain of thoughts for me so feel free to discuss, add to or question. We as Christians seem to make God and His word what we want it to be. We want it to be comfortable so we use scriptures that support these ideas we have. We share the gospel as a happy message and people talk about God giving us riches and great lives. There are some truths to these things, but that’s not all. We leave out the other part about God’s wrath, how we are called to give up everything for the cause of Christ, and how we as followers of Christ are called to suffer. These aren’t popular subjects in many of today’s sermons and if someone isn’t reading the bible on their own they may miss a huge part of who God is and what Christianity is really about.
I’m starting a list of things that fall under this category of ‘unpopular truths’ I guess we could call it. I want to continue to add to it as I discover more. Here is what I’ve developed so far and none of this has been on my own. It’s all been with the help of listening to other people speak and discussing with my team.
Missions/Ministry – We think that people are ‘called’ to missions and ministry and only those who are called go and do missions/ministry can do it. The bible tells us over and over to go and share and preach. Not just those who are called, but those who are Christians. This isn’t a title that falls only on certain believers; it’s a responsibility of everyone who professes faith in Christ. I don’t understand why if we do believe in God and we truly believe what His word says about salvation that we wouldn’t want to go and share. If we really are experiencing His life and His blessings then why aren’t we telling others so they can experience it too? I feel like we are missing a piece somewhere. I don’t think there are separate callings…like a calling to accept Christ, then a calling to ministry. I think its one call. One call to follow the Lord no matter what it takes, no matter what we have to leave behind. Jesus’ disciples gave it all and I believe we are called to do the same. I understand that not everyone can do vocational ministry, but everyone should make their career no matter what field it is in their ministry because they are a Christian, but we categorize our life and don’t put God into all things. We leave God for Sundays or for those who are doing vocational ministry. What if we all lived like we were called to be ministers right where we are in the jobs and locations that we have been put?
Suffering – Why do any one of us earn the right to be exempt from suffering? We don’t. The bible tells us that when we follow Jesus we will suffer like He suffered. It tells us that the world will hate us like it hated Him. We might not suffer physically to our death but we might have to suffer letting go of material possessions, popularity, relationships, careers, all for the sake of Christ. I saw an example of this just this week when we spoke about sex. One girl asked why people made fun of her when she told them she was a virgin. I explained to her that the world doesn’t think it’s a good thing to wait to have sex. I also said that the world doesn’t view life like God does. People don’t understand or follow God’s ways and often times they will make fun of us when we do. But we have to be bold and stand up for what we believe in even if to our death just like Jesus did. And we do this because we know God loves us and His way for us is best. What He thinks about us matters much more than what people think about us and though we suffer here and now, in the future we will be rewarded for that suffering. Paul was a great disciple of Jesus who understood the idea of suffering very well. He was persecuted in many ways for what he stood for. If we do live a life sold out for Christ suffering and persecution will come. We can’t be afraid of it and we shouldn’t pretend like it doesn’t exist to make ourselves feel better. We should want to suffer. I want to come to the point where if I’m not suffering in some way, great or small, that I know I’m not living how I should be. It’s what we sign up for when we make that choice to follow Jesus and He warns us before hand. It’s not something that’s hidden in the small print. He tells us. Why then do we not talk about it?