*WARNING* This blog post is bound to make you prickle and squirm and feel a mite uncomfortable. But that's okay, because that's the point! So click your seatbelts together and get ready for a ride!
We Americans are spiritually lukewarm...like that tepid bathwater or tea that no one wants and ends up throwing away. We used to by hot and fire-y, but we sat out in the world, in room temperature, for too long. If we stay out any longer we'll be as cold as ice.
I'd never really realized this before I went to Uganda. On the way to Uganda, we had a 20 hour layover in Dubai. Now, Dubai is a closed country...they don't allow Jesus into their culture. It's one hundred and six degrees there and humid. It's downright nasty! But spiritually, it's cold...cold as ice. Frigid. The people there are so unfriendly and don't smile at you, if you can even see their mouth, unless you're buying something!
And then you get to Uganda, and you're immediately at ease! There, the people are so friendly you get mobbed by them clamoring for hugs and keepsakes. There, Jesus is the King of kings. There, God reigns. Those people are ON FIRE for God! They are so bold for Jesus and are unafraid to ask you questions about yourself and how you feel about God. There, they are hot!
And then there's America. We are just lukewarm. Some are hot, some are ice cold, and some are warmed over leftovers. Am I making you shiver with a little aggression and defense? Good! This isn't a feel-good conversation. This is a slap across the face to all of us Christians, myself included, who don't live a life that positively reflects Jesus or be active ministers whenever we have the chance. There are thousands of opportunities to share Christ with our neighbors, classmates, coworkers, the people in our line at the grocery store...the waiter at the restaurant. And you know what? We actually HAVE the FREEDOM to DO ALL OF THIS! In Dubai, they don't! In China, not really! But in America, have have the freedom of speech, religion, and assembly. How about we USE these freedoms for a change??
Being an on-fire Christian takes being uncomfortable. That's just the way it is. The hard truth. Deal with it. (Remember, I'm giving this pep talk to myself too.) Being a Christian isn't about being comfortable...do you think Paul was comfortable being chained to a wall? Do you think Jesus was comfortable as he was being whipped and beaten and spit upon and nailed to a cross for you? For love? Following God isn't a walk in the park or a pleasant outing with your friends. It's a war, a challenge, and sometimes painful. So what? Ultimately, it's not gonna matter. As long as we believe in Jesus Christ, we're going to end up in Heaven no matter what happens here. So let's do the work that we were called to do. We were commanded in Matthew 28:18-20 to go and make disciples of all the nations. Yes, that can include being here at home. But, if that's what makes you comfortable, then maybe you need a change of scenery? Or God may pull a trick card on you, and keep you in the world you're comfortable in, but push you to do things that are WAAAAAY outside of your "okay" zone. Don't let that turn you off. Being a Christian is a challenge, an adventure, a thrill. Embrace it.