Tuesday, November 20, 2012

[SLAP!] Thanks, I Needed That

I recently began reading a book by Brennan Manning, The Signature of Jesus. I have really benefited from everything I've ever read by Manning (especially The Ragamuffin Gospel, from which I will surely be quoting in this space sometime in the future) and what I've read so far in this book has certainly not disappointed.

Especially moving is this note that was found in the office of a young pastor in Zimbabwe, Africa...following his death...a death caused because the young man believed in Jesus.

I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have the Holy Spirit's power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made - I'm a disciple of his. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean in his presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer, and I labor with power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions are few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the enemy, pander at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till he comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till he stops me. And, when he comes for his own, he will have no problem recognizing me...my banner will be clear!

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There have been times - not nearly recently enough - when I felt like this. And those are the times when I've been the most filled with joy. Perhaps that's why I've also highlighted another paragraph: Philosopher William James said, "In some people religion exists as a dull habit, in others as an acute fever." Jesus did not endure the shame of the cross to pass on a dull habit. (If you don't have the fever, dear reader, a passion for God and his Christ, drop this book, fall on your knees, and beg for it. Turn to the God you half-believe in and cry out for his baptism of fire.)

Truth is...I need a slap in the face like this every so often. Maybe I'm not the only one.

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