Thursday, April 7, 2016

Putting Up with Our Ridiculousness

Last night at church, we gathered in small groups to pray. One of the people in the group I was in prayed the most beautiful prayer I've heard in a while. The words have been on my mind ever since.

"Thank you for putting up with our ridiculousness."

Those words resonated in my heart, and they continue to do so this morning, for God certainly does put up with our ridiculousness. 

Just to be sure we're on the same page here, the dictionary definition of ridiculous is "absurd, preposterous, laughable." This is not a complimentary word. It doesn't bring laughter in a good way. 

My grandmama would have called it "foolishness".

During a recent discussion of things Jesus said for us to do, someone flatly announced, "I'm not doing that." Those words sent chills through me. Jesus said to do it and this person had not only chosen to refuse to obey but had opted to announce it to any who would listen, yet they expected to be blessed.

I hear that a lot about following Jesus. "I'm not doing that." 

Whether it be fasting or loving those who are different, or embracing the lost, the followers of Jesus need to do what He did.

Jesus fasted.

Jesus spent hours in quiet prayer and meditation with His Father.

Jesus loved sinners like me.

Jesus embraced the lost and the prodigals and called them to come home to their Heavenly Father.

Jesus loved and spent time with thieves and drunkards and people who had spent years in horrible sexual sin. He loved them and, after they'd gotten to know Him, He told them to stop their sin, and they did. 

Why did they change? Because they knew they could trust Him. They knew He loved them as they were but wanted more for them. He inspired them to be better than they were and He helped them to change. 

You know who didn't change? The Pharisees. 

It was the people who were a part of the church establishment who heard Jesus' words and said, "I'm not doing that." 

They didn't want to love the lost. They didn't want to embrace the unlovely, or spend time with the people trapped in a lifestyle of sin. 

It turned out the Pharisees were the ones hopelessly trapped in a lifestyle of prejudice and hate and unrepentance.

I do not want to be a Pharisee.

I want to be the follower who says, "I'll do whatever you say, Jesus." 

There was a time when I was the person trapped in a sinful lifestyle who couldn't figure out why I wasn't happy. People probably didn't want to spend much time with me, either, for fear my sin would rub off on them.

Praise God someone cared enough to point me to Jesus and He saved me. I shudder to think where I'd be if there hadn't been a follower of Jesus who loved sinners like me. 

So, today, let's remember what Jesus said, and let's do it.

"Love your neighbor as yourself." (Even if they do things you don't like.) Mark 12:31

"Take up your cross and follow Me." (Even if you don't like where I'm going.) Luke 9:23

Being a disciple is not about what we want. It's about Jesus and what He wants. So let's abandon our ridiculousness and embrace our Savior who loves us all.

Let's trade "I won't" for "I will" and follow Him.

Then He said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow Me." Luke 9:23 NLT
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Value of a Life: We Are Deeply Loved
 #disciple #Jesus #obedience #Pharisee #sin