Heroes In a Half Shell
Warning: This one is coming in hot! Reality check below!
I want to revisit the verses in Romans 12 from my last post. This time I'll post them in the Message version:
Romans 12: "6-8 If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.
9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
If we are living a "centered" and empowered life of control, we are ready to lay the foundation on which the rest of our lives and identity are built. That foundation is love. There is only one thing standing in our way...
We cannot advance in The Kingdom when we are stuck in/on ourselves. If life revolves around us - how we are treated, what we want, have, expect, need, etc...we won't pass "Go". We won't collect anything more, than more garbage to keep us living a complacent and powerless life. If everything that was Christ's has been given to us, and we are more than conquerors in Him - if no weapon formed against us can prosper - and every knee will bow at the One living inside us...
If that is true, and we can't get past ourselves; we are nothing more than Heroes in a half shell. If Jesus died to give us the power to rend the Heavens, so Heaven would come down, and invade a world desperate for a touch of His life...that makes us His warriors! We were all called to heroism! The Church - the embodiment of Christ - was commissioned to be the very cure for the dark world we live in. That the sick would be healed, the oppressed and depressed would find hope and life. The tormented would find peace. And the premature dead would get a second shot at life.
How are we ever going to love others if we can't even get over ourselves? If the only time we can love someone is when it is convenient for us, that's not love at all! We have to stop being skeptical of everything and everyone around us, just because we have been hurt at some point in our life. Listen, you'll figure out really quick who is really out to "get you", if the intentions and motives of a person are to do so. What good is it to you, or the broken world you could be a light too, if you create a bomb shelter within yourself to hide in. And would it hurt to believe the good in people around you for a change? Instead of always assuming the worst in people, and wondering who is going to screw you over next. Why not believe the good? Give people a chance for crying out loud! There are two types of Christians; there are those who are doing all they can to represent Him in their life - giving their best for where they are at in their life (and walk). And then there are Pharisees. What do they do? They try to throw people off cliffs for doing good. They exchange acts of true love for convenience and self-indulgence. They rally to find anyone to accuse so the spotlight of accusation is removed from themselves. They betray, gossip, and backbite each other. They could care less about honor or injustice. They would take religion over real moves of God any day. They like to impose rules and could care less about relationship. They care more about self preservation than lifting up anyone else around them. They would just as much stone you for your sins, when their life is often worse than those they heap judgment upon.
We have got to get this. We have got to hang up this crap called religion. And while we are at it, step out of our narrow minded "self-shell", and toss it in garbage with the religious crap. We have got to learn to love each other AND ourselves. For instance, we could start speaking life over ourselves and others! We could stop waiting for the world to be perfect to have an excuse to do what is right! If things suck in your life right now, do what's right anyway. If you wait for the stars to align, and feel like you're on cloud nine to live the "real" Christian life - you may as well find another religion to statistically occupy. The Bible says that The Lord isn't even down with "lukewarm". Be hot or cold. Do or do not...there is no try! If you look for an excuse you will find one. I promise! Let's look at another verse:
Galatians 6: "1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived."
We have got to get over our poor self-image, low self-worth, victimized, pessimistic attitudes. This is why we have ZERO respect and influence in our communities. This is partly why we don't see the kind of revivals and outpouring's of God in our lives, families, and churches. We have shut out everything good, made or bed with everything rotten within us, and we're happy to share the stink with everyone around us. Ownership, stewardship, and the Power of One - working out of love and driven by the Spirit of Most High God - THAT is the foundation of a Christ centered life. That person doesn't flinch at picking up their cross daily. They don't flinch at the words "follow me". That person looks up into Heaven like Stephen as he/she is being stoned to death, and says "Lord forgive them, they know not what they do". Get so close to the heart of God you can feel it beating! That is the source of life and love! And we ALL need that.
Some of you might be disgusted or offended by this post. And if so, I apologize all of nothing. We are all imperfect and growing. God knows your heart, and so do you. The choice is yours. You only control you. So what's it going to be for you? A Hero, a Champion of Heaven bearing the name, image, and power of Christ. Or a "could be" Hero, stuck in their shell of excuses and self. A Pharisee at best. I pray that all who read this would reignite a devotion to being the best you yet! And shed off everything that hinders, and run the race knowing you ARE a Hero from Heaven! Sent into a world waiting for Supermen and women. Be desperate for Him!
2 Corinthians 1: "3-5 All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.
6-7 When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it."