Thursday, January 6, 2011

Everybody's Future: Death

Tribulation. The word makes me "tribble" or, er, tremble. I have a friend who is familiar with the word. He faces it every day. By simply claiming association with Christ, his welfare may be in danger. I find this convicting and somewhat confusing.

After all, I live in the Bible Belt! Here to be a Christian is the norm. When I sit here in Starbucks I hear people talking about Jesus all the time, casually, with no shoulder-checking or hushed tones. Their talk is casual.

Just yesterday I heard two ladies talking about their tattoos interspersed with their relationship with Jesus. Needless to say I had to move. Their conversation made me feel to uncomfortable.
I have nothing against tattoos but, as I was writing my "Magnus Opus" yesterday, I needed to be able to focus (By the way, I have no idea what a Magnus Opus is and as usual I'm too lazy to google it.).

But perhaps you've heard about what's going on in Nigeria, where Christians are slaughtered. And maybe you don't want to admit it, but it has you uncomfortable and questioning if you have the sort of faith that could stand up in that sort of trial.

My default when there is potential bodily harm in my immanent future is to prepare by running to the basement and curl up in a ball. Or if I'm outside and threatened by one of nature's many menaces, a raccoon perhaps, to outrun whoever I'm with, trusting that the beast will enjoy my friend with less effort.

Would the faith I have and profess stand up under severe trial? I believe it would. But I certainly have my doubts. We live in a land of comfort and ease and our form of Christianity is not much different.

So am I just to embrace the status quo or is there something I could be doing now to prepare me for a robust faith. What sort of spiritual push-ups and pull-ups should I be doing?

I think I'm on to something when I ask God to help me die to myself and live for him. Little mini-deaths throughout my day not only draw me closer to God and real life, but they teach me of a faith that is bigger, a faith that could face the big D. I know I wouldn't be able to face death or persecution alone, just as I find it impossible to die to myself without God's empowerment.

But as I was reminded yesterday "with God all things are possible." And recently I've had this line from "Chariot's of Fire" bouncing around in my head: "what the world needs now is muscular Christians." Christians who in their weakness reveal God's great power and reality. Christians who hold onto their lives loosely because they are seeking another kingdom. Christians who aren't selfish and in fact are fed up with their selfishness and are leaning on God to live selflessly in every area of their lives.

This sort of faith requires an immanent God. A God who is truly with his people. A God who is with me. I pray that he would rescue me from my own habitual pursuit of self and help me be about things of real importance - like taking out the trash without grumbling. For it's these sort of mini-deaths that will prepare us for the Grim Reaper when he comes.

Grim Reaper, "HI PHILIP, IT'S TIME."

"Already? I'm only 75!"


"Oh. Well have you ever had a Big Mac? You have! You have to agree that it was worth it then."

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