If you thought something was wrong with your email because you didn’t receive this particular devotional for the last two weeks, and you have even checked my blog to see if you were somehow inadvertently removed from the mailing list, I’ve been on vacation. No, seriously I took some time off. If you know me, just hearing I actually took time off surprises you more than the weekly devotional not being in your inbox.
I went on a cruise for 5 days. This was my second cruise. After my experience with the first, I said I would never go again. But enough time passed for me to forget about some of the details of my first experience, and I booked a second cruise. This time, the cruise would not be just for me and my wife, but for the whole family. If you are asking yourself why I went on a second cruise after having a bad experience, I can’t explain it. If time really didn’t heal pain and hurt, your wife would never have sex with you again after giving birth to your first child.
Now that I’ve been on my second cruise, I don’t want to go on a third. It’s not the other people on the cruise, it’s really me. I don’t like everyone I meet. I knew that before I went on vacation; it really isn’t new to me. It seemed to me that everyone around me complained about some level of the cruise from the music to the crew.
Sometimes at church I feel like I’m stuck on a cruise ship. There are people who are there for the music and only want to be there if the music they like gets played. There are people who are there only because they like the captain and crew. There are people who want to be served and want to make sure their needs are met. As long as everything is pleasant and comfortable, they will sail with them again into calm waters.
Like being on that cruise ship last week, I don’t like being around these Christians either. I’ve been around Christians that I just wanted to slap up side their heads and tell them to stop acting like a fool. I’m sure there’s plenty of Christians that feel the same way about me, and that’s okay.
If you spend much time at all with me, I will make you angry, offend you, be rude, say something you find inappropriate, or just make you blush. I know I do all these things, not intentionally, but I just do. Why? Because I’m real; because I’ve learned to be comfortable without my mask on.
Because getting to know the real man I am now is important in understanding that my sanctification is both complete (2 Corinthians 5:17) and is being completed (Philippians 3:12-14).
I find lots of Christian men walking around with guilt because they’re not perfect yet. They’re afraid to MAKE, MATURE, and MOBILIZE, thinking that they’re not holy enough yet. I think too often we as Christ followers have this notion of what a “good Christian” looks and acts like, and we learn to play the role (insert gag reflex here). Then, we convince ourselves that we are the role we play until the crisis comes (and it always does) and we’re forced to get real—and quick.
So stop acting…Jack Nicholson, you’re not, and what you’re doing is robbing other men in your life from seeing what it looks like to be an authentic follower of Jesus Christ. You may have a hard time trying to stop this acting and mask wearing because your degree is in Pharisee. Remember, Jesus hated the way the Pharisees acted.
I hate what He hates. If the troubles in our lives, our families, our country, in our world are ever going to be resolved, it will start with men like us fighting on our knees through God’s power, not by how well we can quote Scripture, our attendance at church, or even how good we are. We can change the world for the better by imitating Jesus…and not everyone liked Him either.