For Lent, I am walking us through a book called Apprenticeship With Jesus. You can follow along by reading my highlights and reflections. Extensive previews of the book, including excerpts, can be found through Google Booksand Amazon, as well as eBook purchasing options.
Day 4: Becoming Odd For God: Divine Cultural Exchange Program
– We are all aliens and strangers in the world (1 Peter 2:10)
– Jesus was trying to find followers who would be willing to exchange their ways (those of the world) for his (the culture of the kingdom)
– The American Church has let us off the hook – there is no need to be different, just blend in to the culture and give a few things to the church such as time, money, singing, etc.
– Mission of Jesus – introduce the kingdom, invite people in, learn how to approach life
– The world is about me, fear, pride, and willful determination while the Kingdom is about we, love, humility, the With-God life, and being willingly obedient.
There are less and less Americans who are claiming to be Christian. This is not such a bad thing. It is no longer common for the average American to list Christianity as their default religion. In other words, the nominal Christian who in the past would simply mark the Christian box on a survey don’t feel the need to do that anymore.
All of this to say that it is no longer culturally acceptable to be a Christian and those that truly follow Jesus and try to be obedient will stick out and be noticeable. We are becoming more and more like “aliens and strangers in the world” and this is a good thing.
Apprentice Activity: A Meditation On Being Odd
– Reflect on the two cultures – the world and the kingdom
– Slowly read A.W. Tozer’s meditation on becoming odd:
“A real Christian is an odd number anyway.
He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen,
talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see,
expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another,
empties himself in order to be full,
admits he is wrong so he can be declared right,
goes down in order to get up,
is strongest when he is weakest,
richest when he is poorest,
and happiest when he feels worst.
He dies so he can live,
forsakes in order to have,
gives away so he can keep,
sees the invisible,
hears the inaudible,
and knows that which passes knowledge.” – A. W. Tozer
– Thank God that you have been invited into the greatest adventure of your life, an apprenticeship for life in the kingdom
Any activity that reminds us that we are called to make Jesus ways our ways at the expense of the world’s ways is a much needed activity. I am tired of seeing Christians who do not see how their faith in Jesus changes everything. How they work, play, love, do chores, plan a meeting, and everything else.
What is Jesus teaching me? I am convicted to ask this question of my life. “Is the version of Christianity that I am living out true to Christ’s vision for my life?” Sometimes I think that I am trying to fit a certain identity rather than trying to truly live the way that Jesus would live if he were I. I don’t want to live my Christian life trying to imitate my favorite writer or trying to be “cool” in my faith. Lord, may my faith be free of falseness. Strip my life of everything except your will and mind.
Does your faith need to be free of falseness? Has even your Christian life been divided into areas that Christ has not dwelled?