July 6, 2014

Are Christians weird?

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:19–21)

The ways of God are contrary to human thoughts. For instance, we think salvation happens to those who somehow deserve it, but God gives it freely “while we are still sinners.” We think that trials and temptation is bad, and God says, “Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds . . .”

The Gospel is contrary to our reasoning. The fully-God and fully-man nature of Jesus Christ is contrary to our reasoning. The commands of God only make sense if they ‘feel’ good or we can see some sort of advantage in keeping them. Humans view the things of God through human lenses and shake their heads saying this does not make sense.

It happened over and over in the New Testament. After Jesus rose from the dead (an enigma), and ascended into heaven (another enigma), His followers were having a prayer meeting. It was the day of Pentecost and “they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1–4)

How would that be received? People from every country and culture were there, and when they heard these disciples, the response was what might be expected. “Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians (said), ‘We hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.’ And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others mocking said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’” (Acts 2:11–13)

Some wondered what was going on, but the mockers thought these Christians were drunk. They did not see or understand that the Holy Spirit was giving them new power to share the Gospel with people of other nations. Today, missionaries go to language school, but in those days God had a different plan, one that made sense in their time and situation.

At least it makes sense to Christians. Those who are not part of the family of God thought they were drunk. Does that still happen? Not often, or if it does, unfortunately not for the same reasons. Sadly, the things we get accused of today are seldom the result of our being filled with the Spirit of God and more often the result of disobedience to God. We get accused of parking our brains at the door, and worse, and sometimes we are guilty. :-(
We are aware of the mockers. No one likes to be mocked, yet God warns us and tells us what to expect . . .

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:1–5)

Personally, if I fail to be informed, say one thing and do another, stop relying on the Holy Spirit, neglect God’s commands, and worse, I deserve to be called names and accused of ignorance, hypocrisy and worse. My only ‘excuse’ is that I am part of the Body of Christ which is made up of people who are 100% saints, but also 100% sinners. We are made righteous in the sight of God because of Jesus Christ, but in ourselves, we are a motley crew. We cannot move forward relying on our own resources, and if we do, we wind up “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.”

Sad as it is, relying on the resources of God often seems as weird to the church as it did to those mockers on the day of Pentecost. For that, I first must deal with my own excuses and let the Holy Spirit rule my life, not those who might misunderstand and mock me.

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