I have a friend who loved to race motorcycles before he was hit by a car. The resulting injury accelerated his kidney failure brought on by diabetes. He does dialysis every day and most often doesn’t feel very well. Yet he never complains. Instead, he works hard at developing a new career while mentoring entrepreneurs free of charge and helping people work through personal development issues. The other day he recruited me to help a young Christian man who he felt was hindered by some religious issues. This was the second time my friend, who happens to be a Jew, was advocating for a Christian.
The longer I know some of my friends who’ve not yet come into a personal relationship with Christ, the more amazed I become at how unselfish, uncritical and caring they are. Some are more transparent, honest and teachable than most Christians I know. I met a friend of Loren Rosser’s who represents a father image to Loren because of his loving, gentle nature, the peace he brought to the work place as a supervisor and his tender heart toward the less fortunate. He does not profess to know Christ personally either.
Both Loren and I admitted that we were convicted by the example of our “unbelieving” friends. Do our lives really contrast so vividly with theirs? So how will they “know we are Christians by our love” if they are just as loving (or more so in some cases) than we are? Maybe we thought that getting free of religion was enough, that receiving Father’s love would transform us so radically that Jesus would be lifted up everywhere we go.
I believe in the transforming power of love. I don’t believe trying harder or that focusing on personal holiness and discipline will do the trick. I don’t think that praying and fasting is the answer. Reading the Bible more won’t do it. I tried all that for years and was as successful as the Pharisees were.
Being patient, kind and caring for others is a good start, but how radically do we do live that way? Love moves one to self sacrifice for whatever advances the kingdom. It requires total abandonment of all that is not attached to Christ in our pursuit of God’s interests.
Jesus’ entire life demonstrated extreme love. He abandoned equality with God and every other privilege of being God in the flesh, broke every rule by becoming sin for us, and scorned every reasonable argument for self preservation or admonition on how to win friends and influence people.
No, love is the only answer. But I believe that we need to recklessly abandon ourselves to the love of God. Other former pastors that learn about my journey through conversation or by reading my book think that I’m a fearless pioneer. News flash: I couldn’t have lived with my conscience if I had continued to support and be supported by a system I no longer believed in.
The truth is, I have been too cautious and calculating. I’m afraid of being rash, moving too fast, losing my life. Losing my life? That’s what’s meant to happen, isn’t it? Writing this scares me spitless, so obviously I’ve got a lot more to learn about Father’s love. I think the only way to find out is to go all out and risk everything at the slightest hint that God is leading. Zeal without wisdom is a caution for young people. At my age, wisdom isn’t the problem. How about you?