25 August 2012

The Courage to Live

In January of 2000 Li de xian was ready when the police officers of the Chinese Republic came for him. This was the 8th time he had been detained in the last three months. He went quietly without a fuss and no resistance. He said good-bye to his wife and walked calmly out the door with the officers.

As Li walked, he began thinking about his last arrests by the Chinese Government…the time police beat him until he vomited blood because of the broken ribs he suffered at the guards’ hands. 

China believed that Li was a notorious criminal, a desperate outlaw. So what was Li’s crime? He was the pastor of a church in Yongming village in Canton China. He led Bible studies on Tuesday for about 600 people. This made him one of China’s most wanted criminals. Despite the brutal treatment at the hands of the government Li refused to give up or quit! He said, “I will preach the Gospel until I die!”

Can you imagine what would happen if Christians displayed that same kind of courageous passion in the way we approach life? What if, after studying the life of Jesus in church, we would go out and live with His passion the rest of the week? What if we made it our life-goal to really be like Him, our never-ending passion, our one target. Can you envision the amazing transformation that would occur in our homes, our communities, our churches?
True Christianity is NOT for wimps! We should put a sign up over our church door that says, “No Wimps Allowed!” Being a follower of Jesus is not for the faint-hearted, the lukewarm, the halfhearted, non-committal, occasional church-goer! Fulfilling Christianity is for the passionate.  The man who is not afraid to say, “Yes…I believe in Jesus and I will dedicate my every waking hour to His purpose—no matter what the cost!”

I am challenging you to step up, to grab life by the horns and hold on for dear life because this ride is going be wild!

I promise you that the Christianity I’m describing is, not nor will it ever, be safe! I want you to grow into the barbarian warrior Christ saved you to be. Why in the world would you want to play it safe when a world of your friends and family are dying and splitting hell wide open?  Christianity, as God planned it, is NOT safe.

Yes, in America we have more freedom than those Christians in China or Iraq, but we are blind if we don’t recognize that in our country people are becoming more and more hostile toward Christianity! In America, we are guaranteed freedom of expression by our Constitution, but Christian expression is looked down upon by most. (by even some Christians).

Am I trying to stir up a mighty army of militants to strike back at the injustices? NO! But we must all be aware that in our  lifetimes, the oppression will increase.

What is more difficult—to die for Christ or to live for Christ?

I hope that if I were faced with the option of dying for Jesus or denying Jesus that I would choose death, but the truth of the matter is this, we are faced with an even more vital decision every single day.  Every time we roll out of bed in the morning are we willing to LIVE for Jesus today? Or will I deny Him by my actions, attitudes, words?

I understand that living a life of passion is easier said than done.  I certainly have NOT arrived. It costs a lot more than we like to admit. Everything we are, everything we have, minute by minute, hour after hour, day by day. Choosing this life daily is DANGEROUS and DIFFICULT!

Mark 10: 21-22 “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

The same demand Jesus made of the rich young ruler is the same demand He makes of you and I today! Do we have the courage to live for Him?

That means we give up ALL rights to anything we are or own and place it in His hands. We have the guts to live out our day to bring Him pleasure and say No to the world.  We give up our dreams to trust in His dreams for us. One of my favorite Christian artists, Jeff Johnson penned a song which epitomizes this point entitled, “Ruin My Life.” 

We need to take a long hard look at everything we call our own—whether it be something you can touch or our hopes and dreams. Then we must ask ourselves: “Are we willing to give these to God, regardless of the cost? Will we trust God’s plans for these things—even if it leads to dangerous territory?

Passionate Christianity is not for Wimps! It could cause your death—it definitely costs you your life.

Do you have what it takes? Do you have the guts to give your all to Jesus?

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