Word & Deed

Sitting on a couch at The Cottage {what is it with twenty-somethings naming their houses/apartments? I love it} the other day and I noticed a magazine with a retro looking cover, so I picked it up and began reading - its funny how God brings something new into your life and then it pops up everywhere! It was Relevant Magazine - a bunch of articles that hit our generation right where its at with God and culture - so naturally I was in love.

Coincidentally, I've also been working on a dissertation-turned-book for an old professor of mine (old professor and he's sort of old, very dear man) relating to the topic of millennials and missions in the twenty-first century - essentially discussing the same sort of things as in this magazine. AND as it turns out, my friend and co-worker, the worship pastor at the church also gets their social justice mag called Reject Apathy - again, right up my ally.  Oh and did I mention it came up in staff meeting too?  All of this in a week.  So there's this theme of missions, justice, millennials, relevant, sustainability, and Jesus {naturally}.  

But not so naturally actually.  See I've been thinking a lot {shocking and not so originally, I might add} and it seems sort of obvious that social justice, green living, and all around do-gooding is not a strictly a Jesus thing in our culture.  Well, duh.  In fact, its quite trendy to shop at Trader Joe's (which i love), buy Toms (which I also love), save starving children in Africa (which is what I'd like to do with my life), and all around be nice to the planet (still working on that one). Really awesome things, so glad our generation is for this stuff, don't want it to stop. Ever.

BUT here's the deal. None of them require a personal, honest relationship with Jesus.  They're not Jesus, they will never save you or the person next to you and in the end its a bunch of legalistic smoke.  Yes, I said it: legalistic, life-killing, rule enforcing, holier-than-thou-while-drinking-an-organic-latte-wearing-thrifted-clothes-and-making-bracelets-for-orphans-smoke. {gasp}. 

These are good, awesome, beautiful things, but they mean nothing without Jesus, without a soft heart - and if you find yourself thinking you're better than others because you ride your bicycle to work and spent two years with YWAM {big fan of p.s. - a mission organization that I love and have many friends who are among the ranks - so not knockin' 'em} than you've pretty much missed the point.

See its not about your image {...listen to your own advice, Shasta}. Its about Jesus and his image.  Its not about being trendy & green - if you happen to be that's awesome, but don't let it go to your head man. If someone else doesn't drink organic, fair-trade, slave-free coffee - remember, you're a humble teacher not a Pharisee.  Just sayin'

Cause you can drink all the golden beans you want but if you're not loving on people, if you're enforcing your lifestyle like a new set Commandments come down from Mount Sinai then you've missed the point.  Now, I'm a passionate young woman, I've definitely crossed this line a few hundred times, and my heart just yearns to be doing something useful and different with my life - but if my passion is not out of love but rather to serve my own image so I can say at the end of the day I'VE accomplished something, I'm that much better than you, more valid as a person than you - I'm not really jivin' with the Father - I'm not loving the lost, I'm not broken and poured out for Jesus. I'm just pretentious and rotten inside...with really trendy shoes.

So then there's Jesus. Man, he is beautiful.  He is where its at. Jesus, great lover of my soul, sustainer of my life, filler of my cup - he's the one who can keep this movement going - he is the Source. So its not just a trend - its holistic living not so we can claim it but because we are a generation returning to our roots and wakening up our souls in humility, grace, truth, and passion. Word and deed.  Truth and love.

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him."  So let's show them who he is! "Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." In humility, in step with Jesus.  "Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you."

Will we continue to fight for justice in love and humility, even when its no longer cool - will we get distracted again? Will our hearts be conformed to Christ or will we sink back in pride or comfort? Spiritual pride? Yuck, no thanks. Makes me want to vomit it up. What use is it if we DO the right things if our hearts are in bondage to jealousy, pride, anger, selfish ambition? Isn't that why we DO good things? To free people? What sort of hypocrites are we that seek to free the world when we ourselves are not free, are not free in Christ? Are not living in love and abandoned to Him.  What sort of a hypocrite am I, I wonder? Thank heavens, for grace.  The grace to get back up and return to him. It should not paralyze us but call us to repent and return and renew our passions and ambitions.

I guess what I'm really trying to say is that we need Him.  We need Jesus.  We can't save the world, He can.  We're his humble hands.  His humble feet. 

The end.

image sources: here & here