You’re ugly. You’re stupid. You’ll never do anything right. You’re worthless. You’ll never make a difference, why even try? You’re a failure. You’re a loser. You’re trash, trash, trash. No one will ever love you for who you are.
Any of that sound familiar?
Lies. Every single last word is a lie. They are lies we tell ourselves over and over and over again. Lies that satan and people of this world tell us to attack our self-esteem and stop us from living up to our potential, stop us from making a difference.
We live in a world of sinners where sin is the norm, godliness is the exception. So if you are not fitting into this world you’re doing something right. You’re different than they are and they don’t like that you’re different. They don’t like that you’re different.
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” 2 Timothy 3:12
persecute – to pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment,
Ever been persecuted? Feels good, doesn’t it? God lays it all out right there in second Timothy, being a Christian is not easy. You’re going to be harassed and oppressed. (Sunday, Monday Happy Days! But seriously… yay oppression.) Wait a second, you mean if I’m not being harassed, I’m not living a Christian life? Kinda, yeah.
“You have enemies? Good. You’ve stood up for something in your life.” –Winston Churchill.
I am not at all advocating shoving your beliefs down someones throat, but if you’re truly sticking up for the underdog, protecting and supporting ALL of God’s children – you will feel backlash. Supporting anything is risky, let alone being a Christian. There are certain implications and expectations about Christians, after all. Every time I add a new friend on Facebook have a mini-anxiety attack. What if they think I’m a crazy conservative Christian extremist? But honestly, someone has to show this world what being a Christian is and what it isn’t.
This quote from Ghandi hangs in my classroom at school “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I want the world’s view of what a Christian is to change and I want to be that change.
I want people to look at me as a Christian and see nothing but love and compassion not one ounce of hate. I want people to see a Christian who never judges someone for who they are or what they have done in the past no matter how great or little the sin. I want people to see a Christian who forgives endlessly. I want people to see a Christian who excessively makes mistakes (like all humans) and owns up to them (like far too few do). I want people to see a Christian who stands up for the those in need and stands up to the “christians” who oppress them. I want people to see a Christian who never forces beliefs on anyone (knowing I am happy to tell them about my love for God at anytime.) I want people to see a Christian who believes church shouldn’t be boring or painful or destructive in any way. I want people to see a Christian who simply loves God, loves Jesus and tries with all his might to help anyone in need.
All that big talk is nice, but really people should know you’re a Christian before you even open your mouth. That’s certainly not true of me all of the time, but it’s what I strive for and what we should all strive for. People should know there’s something different about you. And that difference is that you’re following in Christ’s footsteps, you’re going after him.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
But what does taking up the cross even mean?! Does that mean wearing a cross around your neck? Putting a Jesus fish on your car? Getting wicked cross sleeve tattoos? Does it mean condemning people on the streets at the top of your lungs? Does it mean you go and protest against other people’s sin (while neglecting your own)?
That’s not what it means at all.
What picking up the cross means is living your life as close as you can to the only perfect human who ever walked, Jesus. Are you loving ever single person in the world regardless of what they’ve been through or how they are different from you or how they look? Are you helping people, are you helping the poor, people who can’t help themselves who are amazed you’re even helping them, who feel unworthy when you do help them? Do you turn the other cheek and reach out to people in your life, your friends, your family; even strangers who continue to wound you?
That’s what picking up the cross means. It’s scary in the sense that you WILL be prosecuted. If you decide to step up and live the life God called you to live, you’re going to be made fun of and put through hell.
The catch is when you finally do, and you finally let go of all of the crap of this world, it doesn’t matter anymore. It doesn’t matter what people think because their opinion is of this world and God’s opinion is the only thing that matters. It doesn’t matter what they believe or what they do. All you can do is be a continuous example of God’s love and God’s light to them.
I promise you, once you realize this you’ll breathe easier and you’ll learn to hold your head up knowing that God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9) and you can just lift your life song up to God and say here, I am your beacon on earth. That’s all it takes. you could start today. It’s never too late to change who you are. So if it’s in your heart, pray.Hey God, I’m ready to pick up the cross. I’m ready to be what you’ve always wanted me to be, what you created me to be, what you knew I could be before I was even conceived.
I’m ready. I know it won’t be easy. Here we go.
It’s a long walk through this world, but keep walking tall, you’re one day closer to being Home.
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