"And be not conformed to this world..." (Romans 12:2a)

What it's like outside

Jesus came to this earth from outside, from Heaven. He entered this world in the usual way (albeit immaculately) and submitted Himself to everything from His parents' discipline (see Luke 2:51), to local customs and norms (see Matthew 2:23). He was so integrated into society that when God began using Him in a capacity greater than merely "the carpenter's son" (Matthew 13:55), people were incredulous. He had spent His whole life--thirty years--preparing for the three most momentous years in human history. In the history of the world. The reason He was able to stand up and declare in the temple that He was the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning the Messiah (see Luke 4:18-21) was because He had submitted to the training that God had for Him. "Though He were a son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered." (Hebrews 5:8) Okay, also because He is the Messiah--and the carpenter's son too.

A question I have for you is: when God decides to exalt you to begin proclaiming His name in public, what are people going to say? The truth is, you shouldn't care what they say. But! God is going to cause you to stand out. And those who only knew you as what you were, are going to wonder at your newfound confidence. Lines may be drawn. Are you willing to suffer the indignity of what it means to proclaim Jesus in our culture without shame? Don't worry about that. Do it at His leading and let the Holy Spirit pick up the pieces.

"I am as a wonder unto many; but Thou art my strong refuge." (Psalm 71:7)

Winter's about here. It's cold, foggy. I would prefer to stay inside, I mean if that's okay with you? What? Fine, fine. I shrug into my coat and step out the door. I'm greeted by a blast of icy air and burning-cold fog droplets that sting my eyeballs. Inside my warm, dry, well-lit house, I don't have to deal with this stuff. And I like it that way.

Do you ever stop and look at life from someone's point of view who doesn't have God? Afraid of everything. Their blindness a sort-of mercy. What would you do if you didn't feel that ubiquitous warmth of God wrapped around you like the amniotic fluid of a womb? How would you get through your day if you didn't have the assurance of Heaven? The ever present understanding that God is working all things together for your good? That the devil will get his ultimate comeuppance? We need to take a step outside of our warm, dry comfort zone and think about someone who has none of these things. If you've never experienced life as an unsaved person, be grateful...?

When God brings someone in because they believe on Jesus, the difference is like inside/outside on a Winter's day. And it's not quite Winter yet.

I'm not daring you to go out and make a fool of yourself with a scattershot preaching of the Gospel. I'm talking about being so submitted to God and the Holy Spirit that He can use you to turn heads. To burn so brightly and hotly that people can't help but feel the warmth and squint at the light. I believe that God will necessarily have to begin shining like this in order to bring people to Him.

He wants to use you. Here's how (one of the ways, anyway): "...but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2b)

"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32)

Go outside and play

Have We Met the Enemy?

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