the end of lukewarm-ness

I just finished reading “crazy love” by francis chan. I got the book yesterday morning and have hardly put it down since. It was amazing. It started off as a book challenging the american church to take a long hard look in the mirror. But the more I got into it I realized that it was convicting all of us christians that we are the ones who need to look into the mirror. The church is made up of us. We cannot blame anyone but ourselves for the reason the church is the way it is. We cannot blame anyone but ourselves for the overwhelming stench of lukewarm-ness in today’s church. Sure its easy to blame those who came before us or those in leadership or those who are supposed to be our teachers but ultimately they don’t control our lives.

The book discussed how the church/christians should be and how we are today. We are all lukewarm to an extent. Everyone, even the most active missionaries go through periods of being lukewarm and doubting or just otherwise not giving ourselves completely up to Him.

The book has challenged me to give more of myself. Whether this means give more of my money, my time, or whatever I don’t know, but I know I need to give more. I’m not sure how God wants me to do this and I’m not sure where. In my selfish being I’d like it to be somewhere not too far away from my life as it is but I’d also like to not stand in God’s way of what He wants me to do.

I guess I’ve never really fully given everything I have up to Him before. I like to be in control and I like to be comfortable to an extent. I need stability with uncertainty to be happy because I hate to have the exact same routine, but I like to know where I’m going. It’s just a thing I have and anyone who knows me even a little knows that I’m a mild control freak. But I’m sick of it. I hate it about myself. I hate my indecisiveness too and we all know I’m indecisive.

I want to live out the life that God has given me to the greatest extent that he desires for me to. I want to be exhausted at the end of every day and know I did what He designed me to do. I want to go where He wants me to go and see the people He wants me to see and speak the words they need to hear from Him. I want to do all these things and I know that we are each called to do this in our lives as Christians but I honestly have no idea what that means for me.

In the coming hours, days, months, and years I want to try and figure this out. I want to spend more time in the word. I want to follow headfirst where He wants me to go, I want to sit in silence so I can hear Him, I want to change the world in His name, and I want to live my life so that others might see Him through me more-so than I do now. I want to spend all of my time doing things that bring glory to Him and I want every single person I encounter to be better because of something He has done through me for them. I want this to be my life every single day. I pray that it is and I ask that you will pray this for me because I know I cannot do this alone.

Francis talked in the book a great bit about love. Love is the greatest command. Shane Claiborne (“irresistible revolution” check it out) calls himself a lover as his occupation because he believes this is God’s calling for all of us. Francis talked about how some days we all just don’t feel like loving anyone, including God. Somedays we don’t even feel like loving ourselves (although those days are rare because we are naturally selfish), and how God loves us so much that we can and often need to pray to him and ask him to help us love him. That’s a confusing sentence I realize as I reread it, but basically, as I will in the future, I encourage each of us to pray that God will help us love Him with the intensity that we can love those around us, or the things around us, and then some. Those of us in relationships know the deep love we have for the other person. The love that would compel us to drive hours to see them even for 5 minutes or other things that might seem ridiculous to anyone else, yet our love for God should be even stronger and deeper than that. Wow.

I want to be like that. I want to love like that. I want to live a radically spirit filled life for all of my days and I want to be free within christ. I never really grasped what that meant until I read crazy love. So many times we hear about all the rules of christianity and all the things you have to do to be a ‘good christian’ and how you have to dress up for church and not swear or drink or blah blah blah. We think we need to put on this front that everything is fine to be a good christian but that’s not what it is all about.

In christ we are free. We’ve all heard that in some context or another. But that means we are free from having to worry about our lives, free from having to worry about tomorrow, free from having to constantly live up to someone else’s standard, free from anything that bonds us. In christ we are commanded to give up our lives to him because after all it wasn’t ours in the first place and live sacrificially loving those around us (even our enemies) so that God can be glorified. Help those in need. Give to those in need. Hold those who need holding. Whatever it may be, we are called to do it. We are called to treat each person we encounter as if they are Christ himself. I’d been told this but never really got it. Francis talked about this meaning treat the person who cuts you off in traffic as if they are Christ, treat the person who hurts your child as if they are Christ. Basically love those the world hates and that you instinctually would hate yourself. He gave the example of the story about the amish families who, the day after their children had been shot, went and forgave the shooter and offered forgiveness to his family. What a story. I dont know if I’d be able to do that if someone shot my child at school.

But this is how God loves us. We reject him every single day. We think we have a better idea of how life should be. We think we know the better way. We think those people deserve the poverty they have or _______ deserves ____________, but that is NOT how we are called to live. And it’s a tough route to follow. Jesus calls it the narrow path and says few will take it. This reminds me of a robert frost poem about the road less traveled. Beautiful poetry that pretty accurately reflects the christian life we are called to live.

Yet through all this difficult stuff we are called to do, say, and live out, God is right there beside us to hold us up the entire way. He is right there when we want to quit. He is right there when we just need someone to comfort us on a lonely night. Right there to wipe away our tears and will place people in our lives to help us along the way. He will be there if we run away from him and later realize how much we needed him. Always. That’s amazing. There is not a single person on this earth who can honestly say they would do that. None. We may think we are that person or that we know someone who is, but not a single person can do it the way God can. Not a single person can give us the love that God can. We are called to love each other as he loves us and that’s a pretty high standard of love, but He’s there to help us. He won’t be too exhausted to help us at the end of the day, he won’t be too tired to help us when we’ve been working all day, his strength is never ending and never failing and he is ALWAYS just as full of love as the day he created the universe. I can’t even begin to understand that but it’s true.

Crazy love has challenged me to live out more fully the life that God has so graciously given me. After all, he did give me this life, I better seek him every second of every day to find out what he wants me to do with it. Our lives are but milliseconds of a scene in God’s story, so we better make them count.

Oh, and everyone needs to read Crazy Love by Francis Chan.


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