I ended yesterday's post by saying something that strikes most persons a little hard - that one of the justifications we use for doing things we feel in our hearts God doesn't want us to do is because we "have" to. Because "that's the way the world works." We might even say things like, "I don't like it, but it's necessary."
And what I said yesterday is...no, it's not. It's not necessary.
That probably hits some folks too hard. I can hear you right now. "Yes, it is. That's how the world works, and I live here, and I have to make a way to live in this world." In fact, there have been persons in my life who have called me naive for holding to this idea - that we don't have to live the way the world works. Naive. "You just don't understand. Maybe when you're older." In fact, when I continue to hold to this idea, they look at me snidely, a little condescendingly. "How can you be so smart and so stupid at the same time?"
It's a gift.
But listen, I'm not immune to the way this world works. I don't have some kind of magical power that lets me live without the consequences of such a perspective. Actually, I sometimes pay a high price for holding to this conviction.
And that's really what folks are saying. When folks say that they "have" to do something they wouldn't otherwise do because it's "necessary," what they are really saying is that it is infinitely more convenient. It's easier. It lets them go with the flow instead of spending their life swimming upstream.
Remember when God said we would be fishers of men? Well, fishermen back in those days weren't using poles; they were using nets. And the only way to really catch a fish using a net is to move it in a different direction than it's trying to swim. In other words, the only way to really catch a fish using a net is to go against the flow.
And here we are.
The world doesn't know the glory of God when they think it looks just like them. They don't understand the love of Christ when it doesn't look any different than the love of the world. They don't get that there is a better way unless someone is out there actively living it. And that means that we are a people called to live against the flow - against the way that the world says that it works. Against the way that seems "necessary." Against the things we think we "have" to do.
Is it easy? No. Is it terrifying? A lot of the time. Do I have nights where I just weep with an overwhelming feeling of insecurity because I am trying to work within the world's structures without using them to actually structure my life and it feels like I don't have enough and won't ever have enough and am completely incapable of acquiring and/or securing the things that I think I "need" (though most are truly just strong "wants")? Yup. Quite a bit.
But has God ever let me down? Not once. Never.
Call me naive. Go ahead. But it's not because I don't understand.
It's because I do.