Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sweetly Broken

Are we bold enough to speak up for what we believe to be true? What we believe to be right? What we believe to be holy? Do we have it in us to live unashamedly in all that we do, say, and think? Can we say "no" to the things that can so easily suck us into conforming like the world? What makes us set apart from unbelievers? I challenge you to ask yourself this: Are you prepared to embrace the cross and participate in Christ's sufferings? Are we?

In one of Peter's letter to the church he penned these words, "Dear Friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad-for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people's affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgement, and it must begin with God's household. And if judgement begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God's Good News?" 1 Peter 4:12-17

Recently, I was in a situation that I wish I could have reversed. I'm ashamed. My heart weeps. I watched a movie and I wasn't bold enough to speak up. I was worried what others would think of me. And, to be totally honest, the movie could have been worse. But, the question that rings through my mind is this, "If Jesus had been physically siting right next to me...could he have watched it?" My answer is "no."

Some may think I'm legalistic. But when I read the verse, "Be holy for I am holy," legalism doesn't come to mind. A picture that is painted on the canvas of my mind is a life sweetly broken overflowing from a heart that desires to die to flesh and cling to Christ. But how do I live my life without coming across as "holier than thou?" Where's the balance? Well, that's a question that you need to commit to prayer. Ask the Lord, "Father, does this please you? Could you listen to this? Could you watch this? Would you say this? Now, of course we will make mistakes. We do mess up at times. But, we have a choice.

I'm ready to suffer for the cause of becoming more and more like Christ. If I'm not being persecuted for being a follower of Him then something is seriously wrong. God is calling his people up to the next level, to experience Him at a deeper degree, to soar with Him to greater heights and to dive with Him into unfathomable depths. Are we ready to be sweetly broken? Are we willing to live a life of obedience tot he voice of the Lord? I'm touched as I am reminded of the scene in, The Passion of the Christ, when Jesus submissively embraces His cross.

John Bevere, in his sermon, "Trembling at His Word," he parallels obedience to a BROKEN horse preparing to go to battle. The horse will walk straight into a battlefield through all the gunfire with just the nudge of his master. The master doesn't have to talk his horse into going: "Horse, we have to go into battle it save your grass, to save your fields, and to save your food." No! The horse just goes! Let it be the same with us! May we allow ourselves to be sweetly broken before the Lord! Are you ready to count the cost? To take up your cross and follow Him? Are you ready?