In church last Sunday my pastor spoke on Ephesians 4. Even as he spoke, I couldn't get the words from the very first verse out of my head.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.--Ephesians 4:1
I had my 23rd birthday yesterday, and I asked myself a question. It may sound like a mid life crisis, but I hope that's not the case, otherwise I'm going to have a pretty short life. I asked myself what did I do in my twenty second year of life that has eternal significance in the Kingdom of God? Granted, the Lord doesn't always reveal to us what kind of impact we are making in his Kingdom, but shouldn't I at least be able to peg some significant moments of striving to make a difference? Didn't I like all other Christians receive a "Great Commission"?
Living in the US, I have many friends who have fought for our country in the Armed Forces. There are many Americans that would say they would be willing to die for our country. I wonder how many of us North American Christians would say that we are willing to die for the calling Christ has given us.
It saddens my heart when I see "Jesus is my Homeboy" t shirts, and "Jesus Saves" piggy banks, bobble head Jesus figurines, and Jesus Action Figures, because I think that it detracts from that calling. Our culture is good at seeing Jesus our friend, but falls short in seeing Jesus our Lord. Friends are people we walk alongside, and Jesus does walk with us, that is true. But our Lord, we must follow. I wonder how many of us are truly willing to follow Jesus in the difficult path he leads us on, cross weighing heavily on our back as we sweat, bleed, and follow.
I've been reading Shane Claiborne's first book, Irresistible Revolution. I am only on the second chapter, so I can't comment to much, but from what I've read, and have heard him say online; I can say that I have been greatly challenged and inspired by the hands and feet he puts to his faith. Shane writes about Christian consumerism, how there are christian books, movies, music and t shirts. There are Test-a-mints (so we don't covet our neighbor's fresh breath, perhaps?), and I have even seen in one Christian store, the "bread of life", that's right....Christian bread, coming in several different heavenly flavors. Not all of these things are necessarily bad (although, the idea of Christian bread makes me gag a little), but what Shane recognizes is that we can create this spiritual bulimia, in which we consume and consume and consume so that we have the the perfect words to say, but never truly digest it all, being left spiritually starving.
Christianity is not about the words I say. Its not about the books I read, or the music I listen too. It certainly isn't about the t-shirts I wear or whether or not the law is contained in the mints I suck on.
Its about putting the word of God into action in the things I do, in public and in private. Its about the people I serve, and the Lord I follow. Its about the love I show.
As we live out our faith, may we strive to be worthy of a holy calling from a holy Father.