I was recently challenged by a very thought-provoking question…”Can the church handle Christ unplugged? People are still tussling over his crucifixion”.
If you read my “Reflections: The Best is Yet to Come” post a couple of weeks ago, you remember that God had given me the Word “raw” for Worship at a New Year’s Eve service. God had told me to usher in His presence with no fancy bells or whistles…simply stripped-down.
The timely question had been submitted by my pastor whom I respect very much…he was onto something here. Notice he didn’t say can “people” handle it, he said “the church”, specifically….did you catch that?
We expect skepticism from non-believers, right? We know until they let Him in, it’s near impossible for them to be able to handle a very real God who will get into where we are most vulnerable, poke at the infection, and say “does that hurt?”. They are the same ones who sprinkle labels over us like “born again” and “fanatic” (and by the way, “fanatic” really? Let’s put this into perspective here…Have you heard yourself talk about your favorite reality T.V. shows?…It’s about a r-e-l-a-t-i-o-n-s-h-i-p, not religion. If you are married, that is a relationship…Would you call yourself a “fanatic” over the person you’re married to? Didn’t think so. For those of us who have made the choice to truly be the sold-out bride of Christ, no toe-dipping, it works the same way)…
…So, we expect those outside of the church not to have the capacity to handle Jesus “unplugged”. And when I say “church”, I’m not talking about a building.
…but from the church itself…can we truly handle Jesus unplugged?
My response?… Depends on the level of surrender, maybe. Level of relationship…those who “get it” and those who don’t.
And even when we get it, we still have those moments where it seems we can’t handle a real Jesus or it is difficult to face with what He is asking from us at that particular time…because if we know Jesus, we know what Jesus “unplugged” means:
living the easy and the difficult parts
full gospel, not half-gospel or prosperity gospel
purpose instead of convenience
operating in our gifting when others think us “crazy”
full surrender and not left over scraps
Trust over fear
Peace over anxiety
Love over hate
Gentleness over contention
…all of this…in every situation, no matter how difficult…in every situation…no matter how difficult.
And it gets difficult…when you “feel” left out, when injustice seems rewarded over integrity, when giving back to Him hurts, when he is asking you to face something that you don’t want to face.
This is hard stuff.
Can we handle Jesus “unplugged”?
If you are uncomfortable being authentic…authentic meaning the good, the bad, and the ugly…church or no church, your answer will be the same.
…it all goes back to relationship..if you know him…first-hand…know his heart, know his kindness, know his goodness, know his care, know his never-failing LOVE…know the man who stood in the gap for you and gave up his life so that he could give life to us….if we know him this way…in the most intimate way…the choices are easier. Because we realize there is no comparison.
I’ll take that any day over a false friend. I’ll take that every time over a person who can only tell me what they think I want to hear.
If it means my healing, no matter how painful, yeah, I’m still taking it. Because I know what it’s like to get the healing touch of His hand. Because I want to be better, I want to be the best I can be, the closest I can be to becoming the woman He has called me to be….I want to be free!
And when you know the truth…it sets you free…everytime. (“Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32)
… those of us who are called to ministry…this is not an easy road…will you still deliver Jesus “unplugged” when he calls you to…regardless of how it will be received…no matter what the cost…?