Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Life. Liberty. The Pursuit of Happiness?

Studying the book Radical with my church family and Pastor Brad preached an amazing message this past Sunday. (You can listen here) We are on chapter 8 - Living when Dying is Gain. 

Life and society is full of quotes and people who say "Do what makes YOU happy!" And at first thought, you think, YES! I want to be happy! Happy is good! I love being Happy!! and the truth is, we all do. Being happy feels great. However, In Matthew 5 Jesus sends His disciples out with instructions that are so opposing to "doing what makes you happy."  This is the Message version, emphasis mine;

5 Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:6 Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood.7 Tell them that the kingdom is here.8 Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously. 9 "Don't think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start.10 You don't need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light. 11 "When you enter a town or village, don't insist on staying in a luxury inn. Get a modest place with some modest people, and be content there until you leave. 12 "When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting.13 If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation.14 If they don't welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.15 You can be sure that on Judgment Day they'll be mighty sorry-but it's no concern of yours now.16 "Stay alert. This is hazardous work I'm assigning you. You're going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don't call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.17 "Don't be naive. Some people will impugn your motives, others will smear your reputation-just because you believe in me.18 Don't be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they've done you-and me-a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news!19 And don't worry about what you'll say or how you'll say it. The right words will be there;20 the Spirit of your Father will supply the words. 21 "When people realize it is the living God you are presenting and not some idol that makes them feel good, they are going to turn on you, even people in your own family.22 There is a great irony here: proclaiming so much love, experiencing so much hate! But don't quit. Don't cave in. It is all well worth it in the end.23 It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors! Before you've run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived. 24 "A student doesn't get a better desk than her teacher. A laborer doesn't make more money than his boss.25 Be content-pleased, even-when you, my students, my harvest hands, get the same treatment I get. If they call me, the Master, 'Dungface,' what can the workers expect? 26 "Don't be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are.27 So don't hesitate to go public now. 28 "Don't be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life-body and soul-in his hands.....

Ummmm.....Nothing about those instructions makes me think "happy".....Maybe "doing hazardous work" and having people "smear your reputation" = happiness for you?? Not me! If we believe this Word and claim to live it out, the mission of God has nothing to do with making ourselves happy...nothing to do with comfort. What a Radical thought? What if the places where we are at risk, are at the center of God's will?? The places where we don't feel all the sunshine and roses, the places where we are least comfortable, the places where we feel like we are "unsettled" or unwanted, the places where we feel like we have to work really hard .....

All of us want to be happy. We all love to smile and laugh and be comfortable. But what if He is calling us to so much more than that while we are here on Earth? Are the promises that He makes us when we do what He has called us to do worth it? He calls us to do HARD things! He calls us to be "wolves among sheep" when we'd rather be sheep among wolves! or even just sheep among sheep! He promises us things that are eternal. He asks us to trade these temporary things for His things that are eternal. It's hard for us to have an eternal mindset. We want to "FEEL" happy, comfortable and do what we think we should. What we think will give us the most joy....When in reality, it's not about us at all.... 

The author ends chapter 8 this way; 

"When we consider the promises of Christ, risking everything we have and everything we are for His sake is no longer a matter of sacrifice, it's just common sense. Following Christ is not so much sacrificial as it is smart. Jim Elliot once said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." -Radical, David Platt

Hard things. I know there are lots of changes that need to come into my life. It's like changing your whole thought pattern. Radical change, from the core of who you are. Reversing your thinking to think like Christ. Revolting against everything that society says about how we should think....I think He's worth it. I'm convinced enough to want to try.

What He says at the in the second half of Matthew 5 is enough for me to want to; 

37 If you prefer father or mother over me, you don't deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don't deserve me.38 "If you don't go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don't deserve me.39 If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me.

This book is doing amazing things in our lives! Seeking and seeing God like never before.


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