THIS MONTH’S DARE!
The dare this month goes something like this: have fellowship with Christ by being reproached for his name’s sake; try to get the world to hate you, for Christ!
Of course, don’t do anything stupid, so they hate you for the wrong reason. On the other hand, realise the problem with Christians is that maybe we sometimes try and play it too safe.
But I don’t think Jesus played it safe by being nailed to a tree for the sins of the people he loved. Even so, if we love Christ, we should take up our own cross and follow him. So for his sake, risk getting mocked for Christ!
‘In this world you will have trouble’. That verse doesn’t stop there, but it gets better: ‘But take heart! I have overcome the world’.
Why should we fear about getting mocked? We’ve got to say, ‘To God alone be glory!’
Fellowship with Christ
C. H. Spurgeon said: ‘We have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. We are not nailed to the cross, nor do we die a cruel death, but when he is reproached, we are reproached; and a very sweet thing it is to be blamed for his sake, to be despised for following the Master, to have the world against us’.
OK, so how can we get unpopular for Christ? What is it that people hated Jesus for? Why did the religious grouping shout out, ‘Crucify him!’?
Was it because Christ brought the Word? Was it that Christ preached the moral demands of his law and exposed their sinfulness? Was it that he loved sinners and the sick, those who were ignored and shunned by others?
Well, it was all that, and even more. But I think we can follow Christ’s example in these ways. First, make known his holy standards. But, remember, it’s so easy to come across as holier-than-thou and to ram ‘religion’ down people’s throats. We’re not to be like that.
Jesus preached the law in such a way that people became aware of their sins. I’ve found that going through the Ten Commandments is really helpful (and always pointing out my sins as well). Then show them that Jesus is the answer to their sin problem.
Second, show them Christ’s love. Yes, this is the practical and maybe harder bit. But we have to learn to love sinners — those who are unloved, ignored or shunned. Here’s where you can love the homeless person, an old lady, an unpopular girl at school.
What do I mean by love? Think how Jesus would love them. Think of the woman at the well (John 4). Think of those he met — the blind man and leper(s), Mary Magdalene and multiple others. Jesus loved them.
For example, a few months ago, I was walking through town and walked through one of our subway tunnels. It seems you’ve often either got buskers or people begging there. Well, this time I spoke to one of the many beggars, and he asked if I had any money.
I didn’t give him any, but instead ran over to Greggs and got him a sausage roll. Not feeding his addictions with cash, I fed his physical need, and then told him about the Lord Jesus and even prayed with him.
Although he rejected it all in the end, I was glad to get an opportunity to share Christ with him, through a sausage roll. What ways can you follow Christ, whether at work, college, school, uni, home, or at church?
Edited with permission from
The next SALT conference is on 21 September 2013; venue to be confirmed; speakers Barry King, Ali McLachlan and Conrad Pomeroy.