The other day it was 18 degrees for the high, and I had to be outside working until 10 PM. I knew I had to dress for it, but what was I going to wear? So I picked out what I thought would help keep the cold away, and went to work. I’ve learned that the extreme can be hard to deal with if you aren’t prepared. So we have to be prepared to deal with the extremes of our society, in order to be effective in reaching our world for Jesus!
We may not like it, but America is not a Christian nation anymore; and because it’s not we have to learn how to deal with the extremes that this brings. For example, I work with people who believe that same sex marriage is OK. I also work very closely with Gay men, and Women. At the same time I also work side by side with people who live with their opposite sex partners, and foul language is the norm from both co-workers and customers. Today this is a fact of life in a secular job!
So just like the extreme cold, or the extreme heat we have to learn how to dress in order to face the extremes of our society successfully. The Truth is we can effectively reach America with the gospel if we are prepared to face the extremes. In order to face the cold I dress in layers, To face the heat I wear shorts and the lightest T-shirt I can find. We as Christians also need to put on the proper attire (spiritually speaking) in order to reach our country with the gospel.
So what is the proper attire? Well, I think it’s two things, Grief, and love. Why those two things? Because, I believe those two things reveal the heart of Jesus for the lost of this world. We know it was love that called Jesus to come and die for the world, however His grief over the sin of mankind is just as evident. “ But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. 42 “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace.” Lk 19:41-42
We need to grieve over the lost and dying of America who suffer the consequences of their unbelief, and show our love toward them in both word and deed! This is the nature and character of Jesus in us, and in action through us. Grief and Love! The garments that will face the extremes of the world we live in!
I don’t see this in the life of the church of the 21st century. We need…I need to put this on more and more each day! The other day I grieved as I learned of a young girl who found out she has contracted an std from her ex-boyfriend. I grieved at the words of a gay coworker who said she went to church and wasn’t welcomed. I heard a woman on the radio weep as she spoke of an abortion she had almost forty years ago, I was moved as she spoke of her shame, and fear of being rejected by her Church, because of their strong opposition to abortion. Views she now shared because of her decision forty years ago.
We claim to love the lost…..but do we? Do we really? I lost a dear friend almost two years ago. I still grieve over the loss because I loved him. I want to feel that toward my co-workers, friends, and family who have yet to know Jesus. If we would cry out to feel the grief and love that God feels for the lost and dying of this world, then obedience and self sacrifice would be the norm in the body of Christ instead of the exception. I’m afraid though we don’t dress for the extremes of this world because we refuse to go out and do the work we need to do in it.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (3rd ed.) (Lk 19:41–42). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers..