Today’s Devotional Tidbit – May 8, 2006
Christianity is Offensive!
Christianity, to some, has come to be thought of as a religion of comfort. Christianity makes us feel good and should. The assurance of God’s love should overwhelm us with joy! However, Christianity is offensive. Becoming a Christian is making a change in one’s life. Being creatures of habit, change is naturally offensive. “How dare you tell me I need to change my lifestyle!” is an often heard lament from pre-Christian people. A quick study of the Apostles and you’ll notice they offended lots of people. Jesus even offended the traditionalists and legalists of his day, the religious leaders. We too have traditionalists and legalists in our own time. There are folks who declare today, “How dare you tell me we need to change how we do church and evangelism!”
Many folks overlook or misinterpret the calls for unity and evangelism found throughout God’s word. God has one desire. He wants all people to be made right with Him. It is around this rallying point that the church should be united. The color of carpet, the style of songs, the delivery method of sermons, small group gatherings, and the ways in which we engage culture among other things, should not matter. Winning people to Christ is what matters! The focus of any body of believers should be to win others to Christ. If we are not doing that, something is wrong! The Apostle Paul understood that desire to win others. In one passage, 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, he mentions six times his desire to “win some” to Christ. Surrounding those words is his principle of accommodation. He stated that he became all things to all people so to win some. He didn’t do that literally, but he did become “like” all people to win them to Christ. He understood their culture and entered it. He may not have been comfortable doing so. Rarely is a person comfortable at all with change. Sometimes, we find it downright offensive.
Jesus changed the world. He offended the traditionalists of his day. When told by his disciples that he had offended those leaders, Jesus didn’t cower and say, “Ooops! I don’t want to offend anybody.” Read his words and you’ll find Jesus simply added insult upon injury. Jesus didn’t go out of his way to offend people. In our verses today, Jesus offended those that could keep people from becoming his followers. God’s desire is that all will be saved. I wonder if I am personally holding on to some point of view or tradition that will keep others from following Christ? Are you? Have we made our opinions equal with those Holy Spirit breathed words of God we find in the Bible? Technically speaking, that is what many call legalism. We may just need to forsake our comfort for the sake of those pre-Christians or unchurched, among us. We have to put our love for those who don’t intimately know Jesus Christ ahead of our love of being comfortable. That may mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I encourage congregations everywhere to begin this discussion with their members and start winning more people to Christ!
Yours in Christ,