The world loves a good scandal. Crazy people at WalMart are beating each other up over $2 waffle irons. Evangelistic Atheist, Christopher Hitchens, and wildcard Korean leader, Kim Jong Il passed away, both finally experiencing with definitive certainty the eternal answer to questions they so cleverly denied. Perhaps Kim Jong Sun will lead with greater wisdom. Either way –
Scandalous new travels fast!
There’s a comfortable scandal that takes place everyday in the hearts of Believers. There’s a subtle line of obedience we simply aren’t willing to cross. We hear what Jesus has to say. We agree in spirit and nod our heads in affirmation until we realize He’s talking about us. That’s where the scandal lies. We follow Jesus until He asks us to do something seemingly difficult, counter-cultural, or just plain inconvenient. This isn’t new. John 6:66 tells us it happened during Jesus time as well. “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with him no more.” They came to the line they simply weren’t willing to cross. Scandalous…
There are 4 reasons why we walk away. And 4 ways to take the leap of faith Jesus asks us to make when He challenges us to do the difficult, impractical or inconvenient. Most everyone has drawn a line that says, “Jesus, I’m willing to follow you this far, but no farther.” I wonder, as you consider these 4 things how you might redraw your line.
4 Scandalous Distractions that Set the Limits of Our Faith
Today – let’s focus on Teaching.
TEACHING – Most people don’t say it out loud, but it’s true. Some of the things the Bible teaches come across as difficult, strange or down-right impossible to do. Jesus tells the crowd to ‘eat his flesh and drink his blood’. We’re commanded to ‘love our enemies’. We’re told to forgive and help those who spitefully use us. We may like the sound of what we hear, but the practicality of actually living these words sometimes gets complicated. We draw the line and walk away, just like the disciples of John 6:66. OBEDIENCE is really the only real way to handle the more difficult teachings of Scripture. We may not always like it or understand it, but God knows best. His ways are pure and right. As everyone left Jesus he turned to those closest to Him, His 12 Disciples, and said, “Are you going to leave me too?” Peter gives a remarkable response. He says, “Where would we go? You have the words of life. We have come to know and believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” In those moment when our faith is tested because of difficult teaching we need to obey; not out of obligation, logic or reason; not because some preacher said you had too; not because obedience will make God love us more – it doesn’t – but because Jesus has the words of life.
There’s more to this story – especially when considering the arguments of brilliant men like Christopher Hitchens or the agressive dismissiveness of someone like Kim Jong Il. My mom used to say, “Whether or not you believe in the spiritual reality behind the principles taught in Scripture your life and relationships will be measurably better if you live by what it says.” I’ve found this to be true. I may not always like what I read. There may be parts I find difficult to understand or accomplish. But one way or the other, in the simple, yet profound words of Scripture, I find life.