Radical Love: I Am Unto Death A Christian

A university auditorium classroom is filled to capacity. 150 or so eager students rush in to take a seat and the biology class begins.

Two professors take the stage, both with PhDs after their names. The usual introductions are over and a challenge is made.

“Both of us are firm believers in evolution. We wrote our dissertations on the subject of evolution. There may be students in our class who believe that God created the world and the universe, and we would like to challenge those students… Raise your hand if you believe God created the world.”

Sounds like a scene from a movie my husband and I watched recently: God’s Not Dead. The only difference between the movie’s character and me is that I did not raise my hand. I did not stand up for my beliefsI was a coward.

With my heart beating over 100 beats per minute, I looked around to see if anyone would be brave enough to take a stand. Perhaps I would too.

No one did. And I remained sitting in my chair, wishing I was somewhere else.

Was I the only one who believed in the God of the Bible, who created the universe and everything within it?

I would never know the answer. At least not while I’m here…

peters-denial-carl-heinrich-bloch

Is this how Peter felt?…

I wanted to justify myself. I kept repeating to myself that I’m not the first traitor nor the last.

The obvious fact before me was this: I denied believing in God.

Matthew 10:33 was all I could think about…

Although I’m a different woman today, I’m still haunted by a memory of that shameful day. I’m reminded of my failure on a daily basis, whether I watch a movie like God Is Not Dead or read a story of a faithful believer, martyred for no reason other than his or her faith.

And I have doubts…

If I could not stand up for my beliefs, even when my life was not at stake, what makes me think I would be faithful standing before a choice to deny God and live, or die?

There is no question in my mind that I would give up my life for my husband and my children.  I invest time getting to know my husband’s interests and his heart. We talk. We laugh. And we cry together. We share our struggles and triumphs… And my children? They are my flesh and blood. I carried them in my womb. They are a part of me. I love them

Do I nurture and build my relationship with God the same way I nurture and strengthen my earthly relationships?

God made me. He “knitted me together in my mother’s womb…” God humbled himself and became obedient to the point of a most humiliating and most gruesome death on a Roman cross (Philippians 2:5-8).

For my sin. Instead of ME.

What do I give him in return? Words that are not backed up by actions…

“I love you, Lord. But let me live my life in peace. Let me enjoy my job earnings. Let me live in a nicely decorated home. Let me travel around the world and spend thousands of dollars on top vacation spots.  I built my life. I deserve it.” It’s all about me…

me. Me. ME.

Radical love: GOD LAID HIS LIFE DOWN FOR ME. Fake love not backed up by actions: my love for my Savior.

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“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Ah, THIS is the crux of the issue… You see, I thought I knew God. I thought we were on good terms. Nothing to worry about. After all, I “looked like a perfect Christian girl” and tried to act according to what I have been taught.

Unfortunately, the church I attended at the time, focused on the external and not the internal. If you want to please God and go to heaven, then look like it. Young women are doomed if they wear pants, put makeup on, wear a little jewelry, etc. And young men? Well, you can think of your own examples…

What about the heart??? Does anyone care about the human heart???

You see, we have it all backwards. We say, one needs to look and act according to an image of a saint, citing Luke 6:45, in conjunction with a few other verses like 1 Peter 3:3-4.

In all this scuffle, we miss a simple and yet profound truth: JESUS is in the business of renewing human hearts, minds and appearances.

Modesty is important in its own right. However, can we just PLEASE allow the Maker of a human heart to change it? Let’s not take that job away from him!

We can make anyone look according to a definition of an “acceptable Christian.” In fact, Muslims do a better job of this than we do! Muslim women wear hijabs and burkas and Muslim men pray a whole five times a day! And they all fast the entire month of the Ramadan…

What’s in the heart?

Do we focus on the heart? Do we teach our children the foundations of our faith, so that when they do go to colleges and universities, they will have the courage to stand up for their beliefs and not be shaken? Do we teach the Gospel? Do we LOVE as Christ loved. And he loved the scum of the earth…

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13).

“When you try to cut out Christians with a religious cookie cutter, you not only tarnish diversity, but you trample on grace.” Read more at Relevant Magazine: Being a Christian Doesn’t Always Look Like You Think It Should.

I may have stepped on some toes today. That was honestly not my intent. I prayed long before writing this post and, in all sincerity, my heart aches for all the young people that are leaving our churches and denouncing God and their faith…

Should we rethink our approach in the way we teach the Gospel and our Christian faith to our children?

 

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6 thoughts on “Radical Love: I Am Unto Death A Christian

  1. I found your blog because of your comment on Becky Thompson’s Facebook page. My online reading is normally limited to more lighthearted topics because I tend to use that time to “get away” and relax, but when I pulled up your blog, I was drawn in. This post is thought provoking and such a good reminder. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the daily stress of a “first world” life. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I often have same thoughts cross my mind – would I be faithful to the end if the price is my life or lives of my loved ones… However, I agree with our pastor Aleksandr Shevchenko, who was preaching recently about praising God in life and in death. We had a whole service devoted to martyrs – the price of Christmas. He said that only those whose life was completely devoted to God (like the life of Apostle Paul or John Huss) can glorify Him in their death too. He also noted, that it is sometimes easier to do one heroic act or risk your life once for the Gospel than to stay faithful and overcome daily temptations and trials of this life. As for myself, I certainly, can do nothing good on my own. If there is anything honorable or good in me – it is Christ and the power of His sacrifice on the cross.

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