as a Christ follower, have you been safely neutered and domesticated? do you long for more? do you dare ask God to make you dangerous to the devil and his demons?
Mark Batterson has an article on Catalyst about the difference between animals in the wild on the Galapagos Islands and animals in a zoo back at home. He then wonders if our churches here in America put Christians in a nice safe zoo cage.
At one point we were walking through the ape house and I had this thought as I looked through the protective Plexiglas window at a four-hundred-pound caged gorilla: I wonder if churches do to people what zoos do to animals.
I love the church. I bleed the church. And I’m not saying that the way the church cages people is intentional. In fact, it may be well intentioned. But too often we take people out of their natural habitat and try to tame them in the name of Christ. We try to remove the risk. We try to remove the danger. We try to remove the struggle. And what we end up with is a caged Christian.
Mark’s article reminded me of a book that I read last year by Erwin McManus called The Barbarian Way.
We christians have lost our wild untamed edge in this culture. We have settled for becoming another piece of glass in the American Mosaic. We have allowed ourselves to become a cultural backwater using channels 58-61 on the cable dial and stations 88.1-92.1 on the FM dial.
If anybody outside our little cultural cage happens by, we do our best to entice them to stay with all of the various comfortable delights of which we take advantage. “if you get cancer, we will bring you meals.” “if you get divorced, we have an awesome singles group and after care counseling.” “if need to know how to deal with stress and anxiety, we have a fantastic support group just for you.” and so on and so on.
Not that these things are bad, they aren’t. But we were meant to live for so much more (to coin a phrase) and unfortunately, we have indeed lost ourselves.
Does your preacher tell you from the pulpit that God kills people? (thanks Frank). Al Mohler gave a chapel message at Southeastern Seminary to which I listened yesterday evening. Go listen to it yourselves. It takes approximately 45 minutes to learn from Deuteronomy 6 how not to raise pagans.
In the process, Al Mohler also teaches the church how to be dangerous in this world by being relevant instead of settling for being a cultural milktoasty stagnant backwater. We must have doctrine, diligence, discipline and (I would add) determination in order to recover the beating wild untamed heart of God.
I love in the Chronicles of Narnia when the characters in hushed voices say about Aslan that he isn’t a tame lion.
In that same passage from the book, Lucy asks Mr Beaver if Aslan, the Lion representing Christ, is “safe”. To which he responds, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
So it is with the real Christ. He’s not safe, but He’s good! He’s the King! I pray God will give us new eyes to see Jesus for Who He really is – not a “tame lion” – but the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who is mighty to save!
That Jesus is one worth following no matter what the cost or where it leads. That Jesus is one worth being dangerous for in this world no matter what the risk is to us and our safe cocoons.
as Mark Batterson says later in his article:
Deep down inside, all of us long for more. Sure, the tamed part of us grows accustomed to the safety of the cage. But the untamed part longs for some danger, some challenge, some adventure. And at some point in our spiritual journey, the safety and predictability of the cage no longer satisfy. We have a primal longing to be uncaged. And the cage opens when we recognize that Jesus didn’t die on the cross to keep us safe. Jesus died to make us dangerous.
Break out of your cage. Rediscover the untamed, unsafe, but gloriously gracious and good God of the Bible.