Some think the Christian life is boring. Misconceptions of Christianity are certainly boring…if you picture someone rotely reading Scripture, folding hands in prayer, or attending church every Sunday. But the call to follow Jesus?? It is anything but.
This past Sunday, Pastor Lauren pointed out that after Jesus’ death, he gave us a “new” command…one he had given before, but with new connotations. By His example, our new standard of love is that of self-sacrifice. This idea butts up against modern ideas of self-care and advocation. Is the modern world correct or is Jesus? It’s possible that both are true.
What we see today in the realm of self-care is not the simple idea of rest, something encouraged throughout Scripture, but hard lines and unwillingness to be inconvenienced. In following Jesus, we will have times of rest and “self-care”, if you want to use that term, but there is also a willingness to sacrifice time and other resources.
How do we know when it is time to sacrifice or time to rest? We have to accept that we will not always know perfectly, but the more we learn to follow the voice of Jesus, as we seek Him in prayer, He will show us.
And this is where the adventure comes in…any undertaking that is different from usual. There are too many who say that the Bible is “perfectly clear” on this, that, or the other thing. In some ways, that is certainly true! The Bible is perfectly clear that Jesus is the Son of God. For day-to-day interactions and planning, it is not cut and dry. Who do we engage with today? What activities should take priority over others? This can only come about through prayer.
We should go further than actions, though. If God was not able to get through to us through the Old Testament, He certainly made it plain through Jesus that He is concerned about the attitudes of our hearts. What does it mean to sacrifice in the realm of attitude? I love the way Søren Kierkegaard puts it in Works of Love. He says that in order to build others up (1 Corinthians 8:1), we must first presuppose love in others. This involves sacrificing our thoughts and feelings about others. We must set aside our own ideas and misconceptions about others in order to follow His example in how we THINK about each other.
We can see that we do not have to go somewhere fantastical to have an adventure. There is enough in the realm of our hearts and actions to keep us busy until eternity!