Look around at culture today and you see people desperately trying to fill a “void” in their lives. They do it in a variety of ways:
· Excessive Drinking
· Reality TV shows
· 24 hours/day sports
· The latest fad diet
Deep down people know something is missing so they run wildly after anything that will fill the emptiness, only to have to refill again and again and again.
I’ve been suggesting that what the world needs to see, to fill that void, are spiritual giants—people of deep, authentic, world-changing faith. A faith so compelling in its power that people will see it and immediately recognize that that’s what they have been looking for all along.
But too often the world sees a shallow faith—people who claim to be followers of Jesus but who live in the shallows rather than in the ocean of God’s grace.
So I’m doing some “outloud” writing about what it looks like to be Spiritual Redwoods—people of real faith.
The third characteristic of Spiritual Giants is Non-Negotiated Faith. I got this term from Joseph M. Stowell’s 1996 book, Following Christ. I’m only a fourth of the way through it but the first few chapters were body blows of grace to the soul. Here are a few quotes:
· Ghandi was asked by a close friend, “If you admire Christ so much, why don’t you become a Christian?” Ghandi replied, “When I meet a Christian who is a follower of Christ, I may consider it.” (p. 9)
· Something significant has happened since Christ issued that call (Follow Me!) nearly two thousand years ago. We have become quite happy to call ourselves Christians with little to no thought of following. As a result, we are paying dearly through a loss of fulfillment, personal satisfaction, and our impact on the world. (p. 9)
· Although we may hear a multiplicity of voices from both within and outside the church, we listen to only one. It is the voice of Christ who simply said, “Follow Me.” No conditions. No negotiations. No particulars. No contractual exceptions. Just follow. It was the first and last thing Jesus said to Peter (Mark 1:7; John 21:19, 22). It is the beginning and the end of what it means to be a Christian. Everything in between is measured by it. (p. 12)
· Yet, in a strange, twisted sort of way, many of us live out our faith in Christ as though He exists to follow us. We come to believe that Christ exists to satisfy our demands. Distorted perceptions of Christianity pose the power of faith and prayer as instruments designed to get Christ to serve our impulses for peace and prosperity. This disguised form of self-serving religion sets Christ up as just one more commodity in life that will enhance and empower our dreams and destinations. (p. 13)
· …Christ calls us to come after him. He calls us to count ourselves singularly, wholly, and without compromise fully devoted followers of Him—not as a part time expression of, or add-on to, our Christianity, but as the all-consuming center point of our existence. (p. 15)
Hard-hitting stuff. Transformative stuff. The kind of stuff that builds Spiritual Redwoods. The kind of stuff that compels people with a vision of life.
More to come…