It is interesting to me that at one point the Church, and Christians in general were considered to be crazy.
The name “Christians” first appeared in Antioch and from what I understand was actually a slam. It was basically a rude term for the people that believed in Christ. In its literal translation the word is “Little-Christ”. It was making fun of these crazy or peculiar people who worshipped a Risen King, and because of that were willing to die horrible deaths rather than renouncing their faith in Jesus.
Throughout history the true Church has been known for its radical and crazy behavior. This was one of the very first things that Jesus taught about how to live in His Kingdom.
I find it very interesting when I hear people say that the Kingdom of God is an “Upside Down Kingdom”. I look at it in the opposite way. God’s Kingdom in the right way to live, it is the way things were originally designed to be. The world is the one that operates backwards or upside down.
In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, Jesus spent most of the time sharing about how different the world that Christians are here to create is, from the world that we live in on a daily basis. He addressed every area of life in some way, and shared how different it is all supposed to be from what we see today. He said love your enemies and pray for those that curse you. He said that if I look at a woman lustfully, I have already committed adultery in my heart. He talked about the meek inheriting the earth and that the poor, not the rich will be blessed.
All through Jesus time of teaching He was tearing apart what people were teaching, and instead explaining what God had been trying to say all along.
It is this simple. Love the Lord my God, and love my neighbor as myself. Very simple it seems but yet every part of me fights it.
For me, I have no trouble believing that a drug addict or alcoholic can be transformed, because I have experienced that myself. However, to believe that a religious person can have a change of heart… Now that I have a hard time believing.
See I don’t find drug addicts and alcoholics fighting me when I am doing what Jesus teaches. Who I have fighting me is people who claim to know Jesus.
This has put me in a place where I have realized that I have to learn how to love and pray for those that persecute me, say horrible things about me, speak evil of what God is trying to accomplish and in general hurt my feelings.
For me to live the crazy life style that the Church is called to live I HAVE to allow Jesus to transform my heart in this area, so it looks like His.
I have to pray for those that hurt me as if God can change their heart too. I actually have to get to the place where I believe that God would even want to change their heart. Just as much as He does the person who is obviously far from Him.
At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that I am living my life FOR and IN Jesus Christ. If I am not, then it doesn’t matter what I believe, the fruit of my life stinks and I am often doing more damage than I am good for the Kingdom.
Ultimately, the kingdom that Jesus talked about is a kingdom that is Crazy by this world’s standards. It is not about stuff or about power. It is not about prestige or numbers in my programs or readership. It is about doing something with my life that is so radically different than what the world is doing that people… See my good works and glorify my Father in Heaven.
It is about being counter-cultural. It is not about being un-loving, but instead about loving the unlovable. It is about being so transformed in faith that I recognize, that when Jesus said He wants all people to come to Him, He meant it.
There is no one to far from God’s transforming, loving hands. There is no one that Christ did not hang on the Cross for. There is no one that God does not welcome with open and loving arms.
Because the Kingdom message is this; God loves His neighbors.