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Christian Hope Equals Outrageous Life



Theme: Freedom in Christ looks odd to the world.


As I thought about Pastor Dan’s message to us, I thought of how fun it was to do uncommon and outrageous things when we were children. Maybe I was raised with too few parameters, but my friends and I were constantly daring each other to test the limits, such as crossing the highest bridge in Akron, Ohio, not on top, but on the girders that held the bridge from underneath. Or when we dared each other to act a certain way in front of strangers, who looked at us with disbelief.


My point is that, as children, we have no problem being unique, bold, and being looked upon as odd. We had our group of friends who encouraged us and accepted our bold behavior, and the rest of the world didn’t matter. However, as we age, that behavior is replaced by a carefully crafted exterior that desires only acceptance and a blending in with the world. We find that our success and popularity depend on a behavior and an image that is accepted by the most of our peers.


Then we become Christ’s! Now what?


Suddenly we are babes again, full of love for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and longing to do what God wants for us, regardless of how it is perceived. I have the Triune God and all the saints in the Bible encouraging and accepting me, as my friends did as a child.


However, as time passes, we can often take for granted our spiritual growth, and we begin to cleverly disguise our new life and blend into the world, once again, realizing that our popularity within the world demands it. After all, Christian Hope makes us outrageous!

The entire path to Freedom in Christ is outrageous. Confessing, or agreeing, with God about who we really are is outrageous. Singing, in or out of key, to God is outrageous, and especially so with me, as I boldly combine a loud, bad voice with the wrong words. And a hope in God that strengthens in suffering, times of doubt, and all conditions that the world can throw at us, is outrageous.


I used a phrase with the athletes I coached, when getting them to begin to rethink who they were and wanted to be. The phrase was, “Fake it till ya make it”, meaning act like you want to be until it sticks.


The same is true spiritually. Trusting, hoping, and walking in Jesus doesn’t happen by chance. We must be immersed in His word in order to know Him and those who preceded us in the Faith. We must pray and listen for His voice in our lives. And then we must act out that faith, even before it is completely natural to us.


And finally, we must realize that in this life with Christ we will and should look completely outrageous to the world around us and embrace that role as salt and light in a dark, tasteless world. We have our Lord and Savior, our Father, and the Holy Spirit in us and guiding us. We have our brothers and sisters in Christ. What more do we need?

Serving one Master instead of hundreds. Planted on solid ground rather than being a leaf in a hurricane. Joy in being unique, versus the prison of keeping up a carefully crafted image. Having Hope in the one, true God who holds me in His arms, instead of trusting in a constantly moving target.


That is Freedom!


 


Scripture: John‬ ‭15‬:‭19‬ ‭(NIV‬‬); John‬ ‭17‬:‭16‬ ‭(NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬)


“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” - John‬ ‭15‬:‭19

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“They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” - John‬ ‭17‬:‭16


 

Prayer:


Father, thank you that your life brings us a freedom that can never be imagined outside of Jesus. Grant us the desire to know you more completely each day, and, as we grow in Christ, keep us childlike in our joy and boldness, only desiring to please you and not the world. In Christ’s name and in His freedom, we pray. Amen

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