Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Following in Your Footsteps: And the answer is...

I've been wanting to write this post for awhile, but for some reason, it seemed to continually be put on the backburner. You know what? I'm glad it did!

 Raise your hand if you know the answers for...
How do we gain world peace?
How do I love my sibling who annoys me?
How do I forgive?
How do I see eye to eye with someone who I disagree with?
I just started a new book and as I read the intro  I realized that it could be a huge tool in opening my eyes even wider to what the answer is in terms of being a better Christian.
 Each page turned in Red Letter Revolution, my eyes watered and my heart stretched.
It dawned on me that my attempt of being a Christian hasn't earned me a gold star or an A+. I have failed to really follow what Jesus has taught me. My eyes have skimmed over the red letters in the New Testament (the red letters being Jesus' words). Yes, I may have read His teachings but my reaction most likely resembled, "Wow, I wouldn't be able to do/say that" or "Aw, how nice...Jesus sure is an amazing guy!" Instead, I should have reacted in a way of, "That's the answer...that's how I reach my hurting sisters and brothers...thank you Jesus for showing me the way to their hearts...I can't wait to go out and serve them, just like You have served us."
The Gospel is all about love, service, and redemption. I believe that Jesus didn't serve those people just so we could read about it and adore Him. [Yes, we should definitely adore Him for who He is because He is amazing!] Instead, we should take one step farther and not only adore Him, but follow in His footsteps. He has shown us how to reach people. He wants to use us to represent the kingdom of God. Jeremiah 29:11 says that He has great plans for us and I believe that the number one plan He has is that we embody the kingdom of God.

You know those questions I asked in the beginning of the post?
Jesus has given us the answer.
Jesus is the answer.
When deciding what to do for the homeless & poor...Jesus is the answer.
When talking about war...Jesus is the answer.
When fighting with a friend...Jesus is the answer.
When in contact with someone different than us (whether it be color, orientation, religion)...Jesus is the answer.
Love, service & grace is who I see Jesus as. That's what He was and is about. So many times I have chosen the wrong answer. I have answered in a way that religion and legalism (not Gospel based) would have me answer or I have acted out of own self-interest, but guess what? Jesus would have never answered in that way. More times than not, I think we answer to situations based on our comfort level, pocket book, and traditions that have been passed down. We fail when we do that.
We aren't representing the kingdom of God when we find our answer apart from Jesus.
Now, the last thing I want to do is to make us feel like failures in our attempt to be Christ-like. I'm writing this as motivation, as a reminder of what our motives should be. We talk so much about what we should do and search for the answers, when all along the answer has been standing right in front of us...Jesus.
Thank God for His loving-kindness and forgiveness towards us. Now we can step forward and follow in Jesus' footsteps, rather than walking in the opposite direction.

1 John 4:7-12 says, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us."
 Friends, if we know that God is love and that when we love one another, God abides in us, that should give us the motivation and confidence to live our lives in the shadow of who Jesus is. He loved the down and out. He even loved the people who nailed Him to the cross.

Do we have enough faith to turn the other cheek?
Do we have enough faith to give the coat off our backs?
Do we have enough faith to love our enemies?
 Tony Campolo has asked himself and I think we can ask the same question...
"Do we have enough faith to live this radical lifestyle?"

I challenge you to read the red letters of the Bible (Jesus' words) not as a story, but as a lifestyle...as an answer to change the world.
 Will you join me in following in Jesus' footsteps?

Check out www.redletterchristians.org or read the book Red Letter Revolution by Shane Claiborne & Tony Campolo about the many controversial issues that the church faces today.
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I'm so glad you stopped by! I can't wait to hear your thoughts. Be blessed :)