Followers of Jesus are called to be salt and light to the world. We carry hope in our words and our deeds. Let us be like the early church and get into good trouble rather than headlines filled with our battles and failures.
In Acts 17, Paul and Silas find themselves accused of causing chaos to the whole world. Day after day, they proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ. And sick people were healed, blind people could see, and the downtrodden of society found reason to hope again. They proclaimed a risen savior who loved and called on people to love as well. Jesus’ followers revealed the death in sin and the freedom offered by the Holy Spirit. Believers turned the world upside down because they broke the system.
Paul and Silas weren’t breaking the law, but they challenged the status quo everywhere they went. They challenged the established system and understanding of life. And they were effective because they were not accountable to the system. Paul stated to live was Christ, and to die was gain. The system (comprised of religion and government) could not sway him because, in the end, the worst they could do was kill him. But death held no fear or victory over Paul.
Go and Do Likewise
On the heels of discussing producing good fruit (see previous blogs), I think it is important to meditate on what God calls us to do as His followers. We must live lives that cause people to want to know more about Jesus. We should live in such a way that the worst soul considers it a blessing to know and interact with us. Our lives should disrupt the status quo. We should be seen as troublemakers in the eyes of the system because the world’s system does not have room for committed followers of Jesus. Like Paul and Silas, we proclaim our allegiance only to the one true king, and His name is Jesus.
As followers of Christ, we must find the maturity to dive deep into the issues in our community and world. Unfortunately, shallow platitudes and surface-level responses are where we find the church engaging in the culture. The world has no problem dismissing such responses because they create no curiosity or interruption. The more we hide behind our walls, patting ourselves on the back while sending out flaming arrows at those we perceive as enemies, the easier it is for those who have not found Jesus to ignore us. When was the last time someone asked you why you were different? Have you ever seen people drawn to your community because they saw the difference Jesus makes?
Hungry for Hope
People are hungry for hope. They are tired of the darkness, the hurting, and the senseless cycle of violence of the current world. The Gospel is good news for all. Jesus conquered death and sin and granted victory to those who would follow and believe. He calls us to produce fruit that will create curiosity, longing, and interruption in the lives of the people around us. Wherever you are, God wants to use you to be the salt and light for the world. One day, one hour, one moment at a time, you are being called to turn the world upside down.
In America, we have done our best to create government and laws that work for the best moral solution. But if we put our hope in the government or the people who comprise that government, we will be disappointed again and again. Besides, our allegiance is first to the Kingdom of God. We are aliens and ambassadors on this earth because our home and destination are to be where God is. Earthly government is a pale shadow of the reign of God. Our hope, and the hope we offer to those who have yet to believe, far surpasses anything an earthly government could offer.
So here is the challenge, how can you be good trouble that disrupts the system? People need hope and light and love that surpasses all earthly understanding. What is God calling you to do? What is He calling your church to do? I think that God is calling on His people to be a community that lives in such a way that people are loved and blessed so well that they cannot comprehend it. People would be so curious about why you live, serve, and give like you do that they would be drawn to ask questions. And not just ask but also want to know how they can be a part of such a community.
I pray you will have the courage to follow in Paul and Silas’ footsteps. That one day, the world will hear of people and communities turning the world upside down, proclaiming the good news of Jesus in word and deed.