Guest Author: Lydia Mammen
There’s a question I keep having to ask myself: “When the world sees me, who exactly do they see? Do they see me as one who would follow what they say, or as one who stands against?”
I am a disciple of Christ. I pride myself in being His follower, but in these quiet moments I am met with a convicting question. A question I often want to run away from, but one I must ultimately answer: Am I really following Jesus? Am I preaching and living the message of Christ? Or am I following a watered-down and distorted view of Christianity? A view which is powerless. A view which is more about me than Him. A view which is more about what I’m doing than what He has already done. A view which isn’t radical.
The thing about Jesus is that HE IS RADICAL.
We often distort who Christ is. We usually only see Him as the all-loving Savior who beckons children and takes care of all the lame and sick. I’m not trying to downplay the love and mercy of Christ here – yes, He is our Savior, our gracious and ever-so-loving Savior. But Jesus wasn’t one to stick to the status-quo. And He wasn’t a people pleaser. He was a Man who was passionate about His bride and He came with a message. He challenged the society He lived in. He took the norm of His time and completely obliterated it. Jesus came and turned the world upside down.
Just look: Matthew 5:3-10.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
According to His message:
The weak are the strong. The poor are the rich. The lowly and humble are the honored. The persecuted are blessed. The sinner is holy once found in Him. And the religious? They’re further from the Truth than ever before.
How could this make sense? Well, believe it or not, Jesus didn’t come to agree with our skewed view of life. His was a message intended to shake this world and turn it upside down. He calls His followers to the same life and the same message.
Take a look at Matthew 5:38-42
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
In all these verses we see a Savior who isn’t concerned with the mere adherence to the Law. No, He is concerned with the heart. He knows the problem runs deeper than just our wanting to appear holy. It is a heart issue. And so He stands against the lies of the world.
If the One I claim to serve did this, if the One I follow stands in opposition to the world, wouldn’t it be reasonable to conclude that I should too? His message has not changed; what has changed is the messenger.
I am to be the bearer of this blessed message. This message of redemption for the broken and lost; this message of losing yourself completely and still somehow gaining life as the result. A message that stands in opposition to society and the world. Knowing this, I am left asking myself, “Whose message am I speaking and living?” The one presented by the world, or the one given to me by Jesus? If I am truly His follower and preaching His message, then it shouldn’t surprise me that this world thinks what I’m saying is ridiculous. It shouldn’t surprise me that the world is astonished by my actions. It shouldn’t surprise me that this world will hate and persecute me. Of course it’ll happen. It only makes sense.
These thoughts lead me to these words:
I thank You, Savior, for Your radical, controversial, and beautiful message. I thank You for calling us into this message – to be the bearers of Your Good News. Your Good News says we can stop trying. Your Good News says we can stop pretending we have it all together. Your Good News says that in humility and brokenness is true life, because it is there we find You. Your Good News says we can die to ourselves, and find life as a result. Jesus, You get us. You see through all the facades and masks and You meet us, imperfect beings, right where we are. That’s the Good News that I will forever preach. That You met a woman lost in sin and ruin, and You washed her of her past and gave her a message. A message that would turn this world upside down. You have given me this privilege. May I be ever so faithful to walk into it and to be conscious of whose message I am speaking, because it makes all the difference.
So whose message are you preaching? Jesus was radical – His message, controversial. And He asks His followers to preach and walk into the same. Will you?