It has been way too long since I have last written. But alas, responsibilities and obligations of being an adult seem to give me excuse after excuse. Of course, some such excuses are legitimate. I do work a full time for Cornerstone University, one part time job [at my father’s restaurant and catering companies], and I have been steadily building a film company [Oswald Productions] for two years now. Then of course there is my love for family, friends, church, and volunteer work.
Sometimes my humanity reminds me that “even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted” [Isaiah 40:30]. But I press on. Why? Because the Spirit fills me with the promise that “those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will talk and not faint” [Isaiah 40:31]. I have tested this promise often. I have found it to be unquestionably true. And it is within those still moments where the busyness of life seems to be forgotten that the Word of the Lord fills my soul. Lately it has been through the book of Acts.
Acts is an excellent image of the birth and growth of the early church of believers. And just like any other book in Scripture, Acts is filled with comforting promises. But if any heart is open to hearing Jehovah speak, there will be piercing conviction. And it has been through the study of the life of early believers, specifically their fellowship and lifestyle, that my spirit has been convicted recently.
Acts 2:44 that says, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” Of course this is not a biblical argument for communism [I’ll save the biblical argument against communism and socialism for another date]. Rather, it is about a radical lifestyle. Their belief and devotion to following Christ transcended all else, though specifically in this case, material wealth.
But the picture I have drawn from their lifestyle is that once their spiritual transformation occurred, they as a body of Christ, were of like mind and became utterly different than any surrounding community. And it was this radical lifestyle of truly loving one another that God blessed them with “the favor of all people.” Their healthy community, their odd way of living, attracted others to Christ [Acts 2:47].
Now, this has to beg the question: What would Christianity look like today if the body of Christ reflected that of the early believers who embraced the selfless teachings of Jesus in a radical way? I know it’s not a new question by any means, and in some cases it may seem like an exhausted topic. But until real radical change does take place among believers, we will remain stagnent in growth and outreach. We will continue to be viewed as unauthentic in our faith.
I tend to think specifically of our Christian liberties in this instance. Have we become a community that abuses what is permissible? Over the next few weeks I am hoping to take a deeper look at our freedom in Christ, specifically what we would consider gray areas. But instead of building an argument oriented toward something I may enjoy and currently support, it is my prayer that I look at each topic subjectively to see what the Word of God would wisely encourage.
In what ways have you been actively pursuing what is right to set yourself apart from the world in hopes to attract others to Jesus?