I’m worried about a phrase that is popping up in our Christian circles.
I’m worried because on the surface it sounds so good and so right. Yet as I hear it more and more I am becoming unsettled because something doesn’t seem to fit.
Here is the phrase:
“We are going to win this city for Jesus”
Sounds good doesn’t it? Yes, it sounds brilliant. It seems to fit with the great commission to go make disciples of all nations. It seems to fit with the call to shine brightly in a dark world. It seems to fit in a lot of ways.
But my question is this: Does it give us false expectations?
Let me explain:
When I hear large groups of people being urged to win the entire city of Sydney for Jesus it gives the impression that perhaps, we may be able to convert our city into a Christian city. A city where most if not all go to church and where the norm is to follow Jesus. A city where following Jesus is the ‘thing to do’. Dare I say it, the popular thing to do.
But consider the following verses;
“God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things and the despised things – the things that are not – to nullify the things that are” 1 Cor 1:27-28
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” John 15:18
“…join with me in suffering for the Gospel, by the power of God” 2 timothy 1:8
“All those who want to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” 2 Timothy 3:12
There is an expectation that is given to us in the pages of the New Testament about being a follower of Jesus. You will be considered foolish and weak and you will suffer. You will be misunderstood, misheard and it will be as if you are ‘aliens and strangers’ in this world.
I love the idea that we get out and tell people the Gospel. That we love the people in our city and that we shine as a light of Christ-like love.
But if we have the impression that if we do it well enough Christianity will become the norm, the thing to be a part of, then we are very misguided in our thinking and we have not yet grasped what it is to ‘be like Christ’ in a world that denies the Father.
I think this is particularly relevant for the youth of our church, whom by their very age and life stage want to be part of the majority and for whom the promise that one day being a Christian will put them in the majority – in this creation – is not just a false promise, but a false impression of what it actually means to be a follower of a God who suffered and died at the hands of ‘the wise’.
Let us fire up our youth for declaring the Gospel.
But let us tell them that they will suffer. They will be in the minority and they will be considered fools, for which ‘the world is not worthy of them’.
Let us declare the Gospel boldly and be prepared to suffer boldly.