DayBreaks for 3/27/17 – A Bunch of Aliens

DayBreaks for 3/27/17: A Bunch of Aliens

John 17:14 (NIV) I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

Aliens.  Whether you’re talking about illegal aliens, or aliens from outer space, the main point is the same: they’re not from around here.  Usually, it also is used to mean that they are different somehow – not necessarily in either a good or bad sense, but just different, unusual, perhaps they don’t speak the same language and have trouble communicating.  I actually have a cousin who thinks that they were once abducted by an alien (and no, I’m not going to tell you who it is!)

What an incredible statement by Jesus about mere humans!  At the risk of sounding flippant, Christians are aliens!  We are “different”, or should be!  This is to be the characteristic of His followers. 

Here’s the really mind-stretching point of what Jesus is saying: we are not of this world any more than He himself was from or was of this world.  What does he mean?!?!  We’d have no trouble recognizing that Jesus isn’t from nor “of” this world, but when we look at one another, we see other humans, born of the dust of the earth, destined to return to it.  I think part of what Jesus is getting at here is that he calls us his brothers and sisters, a statement of fact that means we have the same home as He does…and the same Father.  As his own brothers and sisters, we come from the same place – and ultimately, we’ll return to that place once again.  One thing is very clear: Jesus never spoke of this world as being his home, he always talked about going “home” – back to heaven.  And that’s our home, too, if we are his disciples. 

That doesn’t mean that we get to get out of here right now.  In fact, in John, Jesus specifically doesn’t pray for his followers to be removed from the world, but rather that the Father, as a strong, silent Sentinel, will Himself take personal responsibility to protect us and watch over us so we aren’t crushed by the stratagems of Satan. 

Why does he ask essentially that we be left here for the time being? Because as God sent Jesus to the world, the text in John 17 says Jesus sends his followers out into the world.  God loved the world – he sent Jesus to share that love.  Jesus loves the world – he sends us, his followers, out to share that love in every and any corner of the world where there is pain and suffering, where people are enslaved by sin.  There is no corner of the world where we are not to go to share the love of Jesus.  The people of India are just as precious to Jesus as my grandchildren, my wife or my children – in fact, because God truly understands the preciousness of each soul, and the reality of ultimate eternal destinies, He loves each human more than I ever have or ever will love anyone. 

Jesus never would have approved of a religion where believers stay at home, surrounded by the comforts of this world while turning down our hearing aids to the cries of those in distress and darkness.  In fact, he commands his followers to go out into the world to preach the gospel, teaching, healing, loving.  Jesus wants none of a stay-at-home and mind your own business faith.  Yet as we go, we must remain and act as his brothers and sisters, always doing what Jesus did: bearing in mind the will of the Father, seeking only to bring glory to Him!

PRAYER: Lord, if we have come to look too much like residents of this world, forgive us.  Help us to regain our distinctiveness, our “different-ness”.  Let us be true to our real Father, our real family, and lead us safely home to our real home after we have completed all that you want us to do in this alien place.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

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DayBreaks for 08/19/13 – Being Different

DayBreaks for 08/19/13 – Being Different

June_odd-eyed-cat_croppedA sociology professor every year begins his course on “The Family” by reading to his class a letter, from a parent, written to a government official. In the letter the parent complains that his son, once obedient and well-motivated, has become involved with some weird new religious cult. The father complains that the cult has taken over the boy’s life, has forced him to forsake all of his old friends, and has turned him against his family.

After reading the letter, the professor asks the class to speculate what the father is talking about. Almost without exception, the class immediately assumes that the subject of the letter is a child mixed up with the “Moonies,” or some other controversial group. After the class puts out all of the possible conclusions they can think of, the professor surprises them by revealing that the letter, was written by a third century father in Rome, the governor of his province, complaining about this weird religious group called “The Christians.”

Paul made it clear in Titus 2:14 (KJV) – Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  A “peculiar” people?  What does that mean?  Webster’s says that peculiar means “different from the usual or normal”.  It offers some synonyms: special, particular, odd, curious.  Does that sound about right? 

We are to be peculiar, to be odd, objects of curiosity, different.  We like to grab on to the concept of being “special”, but odd and objects of curiosity?  Aren’t we much more prone to see to be accepted, fit in, like everyone else? 

It seems odd to me that we want to socially fit in with everyone around us.  God didn’t call us to do that.  In fact, he calls us to be something completely different than that which is around us.  Salt is different from that which it seasons; light is different from the dark that it chases away.  I believe God wants us to be precisely what Paul said: peculiar.  Peculiar, odd things attract attention – they don’t deflect it.  People who are odd often choose to be that way on purpose because it draws attention to something they are passionate about.  That’s how it should be with us as Christians.  The question is: what are we truly passionate about?   

PRAYER: We confess that we are too concerned about how we appear to others and not nearly enough about how we appear to you!  Take our fears and banish them in the light of your life and the promise of your presence that we may be the odd people, the curiosities that will draw others to you!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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