Christ Wants Us to Be Activists

Jesus Christ is such a revolutionary! What radical grace to die the way he did, to change the world through non-violence and his relentless love for mankind (John 17:20-25). How backwards to social hierarchy to embrace everyone with zero judgement (Matthew 7) and to give benefit and honor to the lowly as a vehicle to teach the strong and wise (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). What a slap in the face of the American dream to ask us to give away our possessions and money (Mark 10:21-31) and even sacrifice our own life (Luke 15:26) to pursue loving God with every fiber in our soul, heart, and mind (Matthew 22:37). What an absolutely crazy idea to love your neighbor completely as yourself (Matthew 22:39), that you share ALL things (Acts 2:42-47), and demonstrate love with endless patience, gentleness, honor, and truth (1 Corinthians 13). Do we even know anyone who lives like that?

What would our neighborhoods, streets, friendships, and personal life look like if we became the people Jesus calls us to be? What would happen, if we pushed aside our obsession with being comfortable and instead gave everything with selflessness and generosity? Could it end poverty? Could it change the world?

Revelation urges me--not because of the book itself, but because of how Jesus warns about it in Luke 21:34 (NIV) “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.” How easy it is for us to become distracted and apathetic. We need to push out of our comfort zones and do the things that make a difference. With politics the way it is and scarier more intense hurricane threats every year, something in the air feels charged like it could be on the brink of collapse.

But what’s most stirring is the truth that the choices we make, no matter how small or insignificant, have a huge impact on the bigger picture. I reflect on the story of Jonah. Jonah’s choice to push past his comfort zones to embody God’s call to action was so successful, God did not destroy Nineveh as He originally planned (Jonah 3:10). The story shows us that our obedience to God’s call can positively change the fate of millions. In another example, in the story of Moses where the Israelites refused to do as God asked, turned an 11-day walk into a 40-year journey (Joshua 5:6), completely showing how our disobedience can bring hardship to an entire generation of people. In Conclusion, we may think of ourselves as small, but the choices we embody manifest real consequence to how the big picture unfolds. Even if it seems predetermined how the end of this story goes (Revelation 12:7-9), when and how we get there is up to us.

As I read books like Shane Claiborne’s Irresistible Revolution (thanks Mike Kaiser for letting me borrow it) and meditate on the two great commandments that call for loving God and loving each other (Matthew 22:37-39), I’m beginning to see that embodying the love of God in our life really means being an activist. As Paul in Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” What Jesus asks us to do is against everything we take for granted, pushes our comfort zones, and asks us to press into love, into trust, and into action to surrender to God in our lives. If that’s not activism, I don’t know what is. The choice is critical, and the choice is ours. What are you going to do?

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