Monday, February 20, 2017
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2(NLT)
Occasionally I cross paths with someone who is pushing hard on the idea that God, if he really exists, only wants copycats, endless reproductions of well-behaved nerds who are so nice they make Mr. Rogers and Big Bird look like gangsters. People who have that kind of picture of what it’s like to be Christian have misunderstood Scripture bigtime! That is, they misunderstood it if they actually read it, and aren’t just parroting-back something they heard; kind of like a copycat agnostic wannabe.
Actually that kind of thinking is a brand of fear that if you give into the notion God is a real person, and you bow your knee at His throne, you will somehow be swallowed up, have your personality ground-up like sausage and spit-out; you’ll be totally-unrecognizable, lost in a kingdom of rubber-stamp do-gooders who have to give up whatever’s fun, interesting or original.
The real truth about what God wants for every person is not duplication of someone else’s life, but transformation to the life of Christ, the most exciting, original, and, yes, fun life ever lived.
A case in point is Mother (now Saint) Teresa. This was no copycat do-gooder! She was a most gifted communicator of what real Christianity looks like:
In 1950 Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation which had over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries in 2012. The congregation manages homes for people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis; soup kitchens; dispensaries and mobile clinics; children's- and family-counselling programmes; orphanages, and schools.[ii]
That resume is well-documented, and the mental image of a shriveled old woman who, by God’s design, became a driving force for life in this world, the very symbol of what God is about, is astounding. She looked like the least powerful and least influential person you’d ever meet, yet she became God’s poster child for vitality.
And that voice for life spoke with authority.
How did all that happen? She decided as a pre-teen her life belonged to God. The rest of the story is a matter of daily serving and allowing God to transform her by everything she saw, heard and did. God spoke into Teresa’s heart a life’s-passion for children and the plight of those in poverty. Her life’s original and meaningful work flowed out of that heart’s response.
She listened; God led!
Have you ever stood still long enough to listen – to really put away that fear of being swallowed-up – to hear the voice that will transform your life and speak the passion of a calling into your heart?