Monday, March 28, 2011

See Them Like Jesus

Culture. So often Christians talk about it with disgust--it becomes almost a four letter word on our lips. We see culture as sinful, as corrupting our children, stealing our youth, enamoring our college kids to walk away from the faith, ripping apart our families, and pushing us off the path of righteousness. It's the abortion clinics, the gay rights campaigns, the wars, the lying politicians, the hunger, the poverty, the depravity. This is the definition of culture in our minds. If not for most Christians, it has been for me.

But I am discovering culture isn't all that. Culture is a field. It is a soil begging for seeds to be planted. It is the teenage girl who finds herself pregnant from a mistake she regrets with a man she thought loved her. It's a man who has no job and no matter how hard he looks he can't find one. It's the single mom selling her body to feed her son. It's the family who works as hard as they can for mere pennies to buy food. It's the withered face seeking shelter in a cardboard box and thinking it a palace compared to the bridge off the road. Culture is a field of people--who are image bearers just like you and I. They are made in the image of the Godhead. They have souls, whether they seem to act like it or not. This is culture. This is the field begging for the seeds to be sown.

Look at Matthew 25: 34-46

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
   37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
   40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
   41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
   44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
   45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
   46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Break it down...when we look at culture this way we must realize that in looking at people we are to look at them the same way we look at Jesus. We are to seek to help them while looking at them as we look at our Savior in love. 

Let me explain. I am a tither. AKA: I pay my tithe from the paychecks I receive. I always have and it's part of my "budget." I know it's right and I do it willingly. 

I don't give to the poor. I don't help the homeless. I don't seek to monetarily bless anyone. So am I really loving others the way I love Jesus? 

I will give my tithe because, well, God says to! But He also says to help and bless others and I don't do that. I'm chinchy with my money when it comes to sacrificing something I want to help someone else. I don't want to sacrifice my security in having that money in my account so I balk and say "I can't afford it." Maybe the truth is I CAN afford it, but choose not to. I'm not willing to sacrifice. 

That leads me to another thought. You can be saved. But unless you are willing to sacrifice what you want for what HE wants, you aren't surrendered. Surrender takes sacrifice. 

What does sacrificing mean? It means you are a champion. 

Champions are different. They don't eat the same as everyone else. They don't workout the same. They don't hangout with just everyone. They don't live a compromised life. They are focused and live towards a goal. They succeed. 

Spiritually, it's the same thing. Spiritual champs don't do the same as everyone else. They don't live the same, they don't talk the same, they don't call just anyone a close friend. They are cautious and open. They are DIFFERENT. They too are goal oriented. They are champions because they are willing to sacrifice. Because they are sacrificing for a goal, they are surrendered to it. They will always win in the end of the race. 


I wanna be one of those. 

I'm not right so many areas. 

To be different in the eyes of the world, I have to be different in my private life. I have to think differently, walk differently, read differently, decide differently, and ACT in a manner worthy of the title "champion." 

Culture is not the scourge of our time. It is a byproduct of sin and the neglect and lack of passion on the part of Christians. We can't judge our actions and our success based on how we look in comparison to the culture. The farmer doesn't compare himself to the field......we can't base our "good and bad" on culture--but on the Bible. WHen we do that I think we will find that it's not just "culture" that is failing. I think we will find that we are failing too. Culture isn't the problem--it's the result of the the problem. 

Be a champion and surrender to meet them and love them the same way you love Jesus. Only in doing that can they truly see past our "judgmental attitudes" and "hypocrisy" and into the love and acceptance of God. 

Seeking Him,

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