Daily Devotion - Friday, April 15, 2016
What if Christians actually started living as if Jesus really was raised from the dead?
"Leon," you might be thinking, "I thought that's what Christians believed--that Jesus was raised from the dead." To which I would reply, "You're right. Or maybe half-right. Because there's a big difference between saying you believe something, and actually believing it.
Think about sitting down for breakfast and staring at your bacon and eggs. The chicken participated in your breakfast offering. The pig was committed to it.
How many of us live our lives with the kind of commitment that we ought to have if we truly believed that Jesus walked out of the tomb? But instead we tend to participate in this notion rather than being committed to it.
We make polite overtures to the Resurrection, but we don't go all-in with the kind of transformational, all-encompassing kind of belief in the risen Jesus that changes us... our lives... our world.
The Apostle Paul wrote about this, when he said: "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." (I Cor 15:14)
Seriously, how many of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus are committed to the proposition that because Jesus was raised from the dead, anything is possible?
Because anything is possible... because Jesus is risen.
So, if Christians say that we believe God raised Jesus from the dead then why do so few Christians live the kind of passionate, wildly abandoned, expansive, loving, grace-filled lives that they ought to be living?
Pastor and author Nadia Bolz-Webber writes:
"I want that kind of faith. The kind that believes God can raise the dead and convert my fear into love and make a brother of my enemy. Kind of. Because honestly I also want to keep all my own ideas, and biases and comforts.I read a poem by the 13th-century poet Rufi today. It's entitled "Bewilderment," and the last line hit me right in the solar plexus. "Forget safety," Rufi wrote, "Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on, I'll be mad."
I want that kind of faith but I also want to hold on to any justified anger I have brewing and my self-righteous judgments about people who think and live differently than I do.
We shouldn't strive to live the Christian life any longer--at least not the Christian life that has become the norm in our current culture. Our goal should be to live the Resurrection life--a life lived in the name of the risen Christ full of fearless expectation, insane joy, defiant hope... The kind of life that actually demonstrates real, dramatic, world-changing transformation.
May you live today not as a participant in the Way of the Risen Jesus, but as someone who is absolutely, completely, wholly committed to it. May you be filled with the kind of faith that changes your mind, your heart and your very soul.
And may the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.