“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” (Eph. 1:4)
The Christian Life in the Danger Zone
Hebrews 12:2 reads: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” God the Father, Jesus the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit, together as a team, took the painfully difficult but necessary route of atoning salvation for our benefit. The incarnation, life, temptation in the wilderness, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ were the diametric opposite of worldly conventional normalcy, all for our eternal welfare.
The life of Jesus was not a life of self-indulgent ease. Mark 10:45 reads: “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Jesus refers to Himself as the “bread of God,” giving life unto the world (Jn. 6:32-35). Isaiah 53:5 reads: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
This giving over of our will and way to submit ourselves to a higher game-plan of God, which costs us something…our claim to worldly conventional normalcy…in sacrifice for the benefit of others, is the opposite of the universally stereotypical mindset of first looking after the interests of “me, myself, and I.” A God-composed journey of faith life-script takes us into the danger zone of liberated, self-sacrificing love where the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ resides.
Pastors of churches who pour out themselves in service and in prayer for their congregations every day (Col. 1:9) without any expectation of outside recognition or acclaim, people who willingly leave everything behind to go out into the foreign missionary field despite the confusion and lack of understanding from family and friends (1 Pet. 4:4), and people involved in all types of Christian ministries (1 Cor. 12:28), know first-hand about the self-sacrificing costs of taking up their cross for the sake of Jesus and the gospel. I have old friends who I would willingly give up my life for, if need be, if this would procure for them a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the everlasting life they could enjoy for all eternity.
Isn’t this the attitude that is integrally part of the complex storylines of the lives of the people of faith recorded in the Bible? Isn’t this what every Spirit-born Christian knows instinctively and intuitively, that if they fall upon this stone that is Jesus Christ, they will indeed be broken but in the most positive, fulfilling, and satisfying way beyond worldly conventional, human imagination (Lk. 20:17-18)?