Following Jesus, Leadership, Living On Purpose

What Will Unite Us?

So many thoughts roll through my head in response to the craziness that is our world right now. Lots of them aren’t worth sharing. They’re knee-jerk reactions that aren’t fully thought out. Stuff like, “Hey, you can’t say that and then do the exact opposite over here!” or “That doesn’t make any sense. How in the world does that spell the disaster of all mankind?”

Sometimes I come really close to saying them in a comment or a blog post and then I realize that I’m not arguing with my husband (who shares the same values as me) but with someone who sees the world through a totally different lens. I could talk until I’m blue in the face and it wouldn’t matter because the only time it works to convince someone of your way of thinking is if you start with a foundation of shared values….and if you’re both willing to listen to each other.

What concerns me about what is taking place isn’t that people are disagreeing about the way forward but that those who should have the same values are lining up against each other. The battles have been ugly and brutal with stones being thrown from more sides than we even knew existed.

I’m not writing this post to say let’s love each other more because that doesn’t seem to be working. What I think is worth saying is that each of us needs to revisit what our fundamental beliefs are and instead of attempting to argue everyone else into them, we need boots on the ground to actually live them out.

“Don’t tell me, show me,” has become my new motto. It is my reminder to do more than just talk. When words fail, the world needs a picture. Jesus is the ultimate example of this as the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

Everything you don’t believe will impact your life for good or bad but it’s only what you do believe that will transform it.

I believe God’s love is redemptive in nature. While it’s freely offered to anyone and everyone, it isn’t just to wrap us in a warm blanket and make us feel better about ourselves. His love seeps into the very crevices of our soul and transforms us from the inside out. Jesus came into my world of brokenness and disease so that He could lead me out of it. When I use the word love, it is through this lens.

I believe our role as Christ’s ambassadors is to lay down our lives. Jesus modeled a life of sacrifice for us and opened our eyes to see that death paves the way for life. At the end of the day, the man everyone was looking to lead a revolution quietly surrendered His life to the work of the cross. When the world woke up, He was hanging as a public spectacle of shame instead of gathering the troops to march. What they didn’t understand and what we often fail to, is that was the revolution.

I believe the church is worth fighting for. It’s becoming increasingly popular to adopt the idea of everyone who believes in Jesus and the gospel makes up a loose collection we call the Body of Christ while at the same time rejecting the need for a messier, much more granular reality of the local church. While I understand the frustrations and disappointments that lead to that place, I can no sooner give up the local church than I can my immediate family.

God gave us each other to fight with and for, to question our motivations and challenge our practical application, to come alongside and draw out of each other the divine love that was planted as a seed inside our spirits. The church is flawed because she is made up of broken people walking redemption’s road. We cannot lose sight of the beauty in that or the vision of what that is producing in us.

I believe we need boots on the ground. Our lineage is not made up of people who had it easy. Those who have gone before us have walked difficult and painful roads to further the Kingdom of God. They relied deeply on God’s spirit because the policies and procedures of the surrounding land weren’t advantageous for the work of the gospel.

Smuggling Bibles into closed countries, hiding refugees from their persecutors, opening up doors to the oppressed and rejected, bringing aid to the broken and hurting, we come from a people who did the work of Jesus in spite of obstacles in front of them and not because a government official paved the way for them. It’s one thing to talk about the change that needs to take place, it’s another thing to be the change.

I’m okay with living in a world that is divided. This isn’t supposed to be heaven. What grieves me is those who call themselves by the name of Christ throwing stones at each other. We are the hope of the world, the evidence of the Kingdom of God that He left on earth. With all my heart, I believe that if we remember what’s actually important then there’s a place to fight for what God is doing among us instead of fighting each other.

Holding onto hope for a people called by God’s own name,

Jamie

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