On a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest I drove by an outlet mall that contained a store selling "Christian" products. The above caption was written in large red letters on a billboard towering above the mall.
I was caught off guard by the sign and it's message. First I laughed out loud and then called a friend to share in the moment. (Being the extrovert that I am, experiences must be shared with someone) I truly couldn't believe the wording chosen and then was struck by it's significance.
I was struck because I think that is how people often think about Christianity in general. Often others are sold an 80% off message; one that invites individuals to pray a prayer for salvation but leaves out following Jesus. He may comfortably and even traditionally be one's Savior, but the Lordship part is a little more difficult to swallow, and often the true idea that one needs salvation from anything is challenge as we are brought up in a culture that does not like to need.
God did not send His son into the world to give a sweet message to simply pump people up, make them feel encouraged and walk away with a feeling that does not lead towards any life change. God sent His son because He deeply cared for and mourned over the separation from men and Himself. He sent His son because, as He looked to earth and watched how men and women treated one another other as well as creation, His heart grieved. He sent His son to invite individuals into a new way, a new rhythm, a new set of priorities, a new life. (Matthew 5-7 give a pretty full picture of this new way).
I find that my heart grieves too. I feel the brokenness of relationship between God and man and so deeply desire to see things made right, to see men and women respond to the call of God on his/her life with abandon. To see men and women courageously respond to the Creator's invitation to come and be a part of a new Kingdom. I do believe that the Kingdom of God is at hand, and there is much to do and become and we each will be used as an agent of change as we ourselves are being changed. (Romans 12)
Those who chose the cheeky wording for the book store or rather, all things Christian store, sign I'm sure had no thought of the impact of their words or that anyone would respond as I did internally. I myself with caught off guard by my own grief and anger which had taken over me. All at once I began to beg at the feet of Jesus to increase my thirst for him, that I might hunger for Him and His way. For it is so easy to be a 20% follower of Jesus and it is so difficult to give more, and yet I know the reward is great. Following after Jesus is the most difficult, easy job I've ever had.
After I prayed over my own life I began to pray for wisdom as I meet with individuals who have questions about what it means to follow the way of Jesus. What does it mean to love the Lord and serve Him only? How do we as men and women who believe and follow after Jesus, do so with a 100% kind of faith and action? I am honored to walk with people in this way, and know I have much to learn in the journey.
My prayer is that God will continue to have favor over the conversations, invitations given, and opportunities I have to invite people to follow in the way of Jesus. Thanks for praying this prayer with me. Continue to pray it with me. Pray too, that Jesus will give you a hunger that is never satisfied for Him and for His way and that in whatever space you live, work, learn and play that Jesus will open doors for you to model, teach and walk in the way of Jesus, inviting others to join as you go.