Warning: This post might step on some toes!
Our society has pretty much embraced the American cultural icon of the cowboy. We revere those who ride alone and hard. We are rugged individualists and hardened men making our own way. Our society reflects this in subdued ways. No matter what happens, we are fiercely free and independent. We are ‘desperadoes’–we do whatever we think is best.
This is distinctive to the American sense of being. We are instilled with a pride and a freedom as our birthright. John Wayne, the ‘Alamo,’ and the biker with his Harley-Davidson on Route 66 have been our inspiration. Each are distinctly heroic and carry our hopes and dreams.
But the Bible is not an American book. A cowboy did not die for our sins (which are many). The way of discipleship does not take us through Dallas, Texas. Rather, His Words to us are bold and entirely challenging in an amazingly fresh and different direction. We are told to wash feet, to repeatedly turn the other cheek, to surrender all our rights, and then take the lowest place there is in every situation.
Jesus is positioned as the Lord over us. Humility is to become the way we think and how we act. We have become slaves to righteousness. Our vaunted independence has been toppled. The crown has slipped. My wilfulness still wants to stand instead of kneeling. We discover this has been the truth all along. We have never ever been in control. He has been the King since before time, and will always be, for an eternity.
“Many Christians have what we might call a “cultural holiness”. They adapt to the character and behavior pattern of Christians around them. As the Christian culture around them is more or less holy, so these Christians are more or less holy. But God has not called us to be like those around us. He has called us to be like himself. Holiness is nothing less than conformity to the character of God”.
I want to pose the following questions. Are we honestly in a condition of being weak? Can you serve with a basin and towel? Is your heart that of a child? Do we see the world through the ‘lens’ of a soft and broken spirit?
Our churches often struggle often over issues of pride and stubbornness. There is often little gentleness and brokenness to be seen. We still see ourselves as independent, and we call our own shots. I wonder if the lordship of Christ is even considered. We may consider it noble to be a Christian, but our lives are not discipled. (And they are not likely to be until God breaks us of our independence.) It’s called, ‘the spirit of the age.’
“Holiness has never been the driving force of the majority. It is, however, mandatory for anyone who wants to enter the kingdom.”
I write these things surveying my own life. Self will and my hard heart fit ‘hand-and-glove’ with being that desperado. I ride alone, making my own way, and I don’t make any disciples. I jettison my cross— my cross of discipleship. I serve no one, unless it suits me. Am I His disciple, or am I a man of my own? Is He my lord, or have I decided to claim that right for myself? We must decide these things.
I only hope I have spoken the truth today. Forgive me if I offended.
“Lord, I am willing to receive what You give, to lack what You withhold, to relinquish what You take, to suffer what You inflict, to be what You require.” Amen.