A Call for Brave Christians
By: Rev. Brandon Dirks
Then Peter spoke up, ‘We have left everything to follow you!’ Mark 10:28
My faith story flows like a trip to the swimming hole in the spring.
One day, a long time ago, I am standing on the shore wondering if I really want to get in the water. But I’m here. I might as well see what the water feels like. So, I tentatively step in up to my toes, and immediately I feel the shock of the cold water everywhere in my body. I am tempted to sprint out of the water. But, I stand still hoping to get acclimated. As the initial cold shock fades away, the water actually feels refreshing–enjoyable. So, I take another small, tentative step this time to my ankles. Again…cold shock. Temptation to run. Wait. Refresh. Joy. Then, I take another small step.
Little by little, over a long period of time, I slowly get deeper and deeper into the water. Sometimes it is too much, and I retreat a little back to somewhere more comfortable. But I keep going, because I sense that there is something more ahead. Once I am waist deep, I’m able to move around in new and fun ways. And I start to look forward to getting totally in– to immerse myself completely – not just my extremities, but also my heart, and my head. I start imagining what it would be like to be completely free to explore the immensity of the pond, to splash around, to let myself go and experience the water fully. I begin to wonder what it would be like to be free of my constraints so that I can do amazing things like float, or dive, or do handstands that I see others doing.
But I’m not there yet. I still have to go one step at a time.
I’ve always admired those swimmers who can just run and jump completely in the water. They say it’s easier and allows more time for fun. But I could never do that. I have to put my toes in, and gradually, painstakingly, slowly move deeper…fearful of what the cold water will feel like if I take another step. It’s like, I need to be in control. How do I let go of control?
Oswald Chambers once wrote, “Beware of stopping anywhere short of total surrender to God. Most of us have only a vision of what this really means, but have never truly experienced it.” OK Oswald, I get it. Show me how.
I’ve been enamored by the book, “A Life That Really Matters,” that has been rewritten and renamed “Ten Brave Christians: The John Wesley Great Experiment.” It is a practical book that tells the true and amazing story of what happened when a few Christians decided to take seriously an “all-in” lifestyle for 30 days. Then, it challenges readers to completely surrender themselves of their most precious assets of time, talents, resources, and relationships to the Lord in five practical ways:
- 30 minutes of prayer from 530am-6:00am everyday. Yep. Everyday.
- Meet with a small group once a week to learn how to pray better. Yep, no absences.
- Do two hours of service each week and a daily good deed. That sounds like a lot about others.
- Tithe a full 10% of earnings. Yikes!
- Witness for God your experience to others.
As Lent approaches, many of us are considering ways we can deny ourselves so that we can grow closer to God, trust in God, or live more like Jesus.We may give up chocolate, caffeine, sugar, or time on social media. But, what would happen if someone would give up their lives totally to God? I wonder if there are 10 brave Christians somewhere out there who trust God that much? I wonder what would happen if I took God up on all his promises, all at once…plugged my nose…and once-and-for-all…went “all in?”
For details on resources for taking your own Lenten Challenge, visit www.ccum.net/LentenChallenge.