Fools JAM Journal Part 2

jordan-river

I told you yesterday about how I was part of the Jesus Freak movement that began in the 1990’s inspired by the song by DC Talk. As part of that movement, my Christian friends and I decided that we would be foolish enough to go around school carrying our Bibles and having Bible studies in the cafeteria and on the patios. We wanted to put our faith on display so much that people would ask us about it and that we would have the chance to tell them about Jesus. It became a pretty big deal and other Christian teenagers connected with us and we were able to have some really great conversations about Jesus with our classmates. Everyone knew what we stood for because we were willing to look foolish by putting ourselves on display for the world to see.

One of my heroes from the Bible is a man named John (you may know him as John the Baptist because he baptized a ton of people). He was the cousin of Jesus and Jesus had a ton of great things to say about John and his ministry. John would preach a message of repentance (turning back to God) and would baptize those we were willing to rededicate their lives to God by dunking them in the Jordan River. Jesus himself was baptized by John and John was one of the first to publicly proclaim that Jesus was the Messiah.

John was also a pretty crazy dude; he wore camel-skin clothes, ate honey and locusts (think big grasshoppers) for his diet, and lived in the Judean Wilderness (aka the desert). John was the opposite of what the other religious leaders of his day were; he didn’t wear fine clothes, eat nice meals at big parties, wasn’t friends with the political leaders of the day, didn’t get invited to important people’s houses, didn’t base his relationship with God on how good of a life he lived, and didn’t seek to be praised by men rather than God. John was willing to be a fool for God and look crazy in the eyes of popular culture in order to proclaim the coming of God’s kingdom. Let’s look at what Jesus had to say about John:

Dig Deeper 

[24] After John’s disciples left, Jesus began talking about him to the crowds. “What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind? [25] Or were you expecting to see a man dressed in expensive clothes? No, people who wear beautiful clothes and live in luxury are found in palaces. [26] Were you looking for a prophet? Yes, and he is more than a prophet. [27] John is the man to whom the Scriptures refer when they say,

‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
and he will prepare your way before you.’

[28] I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!” (Luke 7:24 – 28 NLT)

Look at what Jesus had to say about John one more time. John was willing to stand against the flow of the culture of his day in order to follow God. The Bible tells us that John was eventually put in prison and executed because he defied the governor of his area by proclaiming God’s truth against Herod’s adulterous lifestyle. Following after God made John a fool in the eyes of the world and it cost him his freedom and eventually his life. Yet, Jesus would say that there was no person who ever lived that was greater than John the Baptist. This shows us that God’s values are very much different from that of the world.

Look in the mirror

Does this sound like something you’d do? Would you be willing to stand in the face of our culture and say that God’s ways are more important than what culture says we should do? Or, like so many others in this world, would you stand silent and allow all of the sinful and shameful practices of culture to go on without standing up for God? What you and I must realize is that our nation, like Israel thousands of years ago, is straying so very far from the one true God. If we fail to stand and face the thousands who are against God and present the truth in love to them then we can only expect things to get worse. We must stand for God and present him boldly even if we are considered fools for doing so.

Now, imagine what would happen if we overcame our fears and stood in front of the multitudes and allowed God to prove himself. What would that look like if you and I were empowered by God to faithfully and regularly share the Gospel to those who need to hear it and be willing to patiently answer questions and continually engage others with the truth of God’s grace? How many people could we impact if we stood boldly like John? Maybe, just maybe, we could bring our nation to God and experience a modern revival!

As you spend time over the rest of this weekend with other people I encourage you to take time to truly consider your walk with Christ. We live in a culture where God’s values are in opposition to what the world says we should do. The Bible teaches us to wait to have sex until we are married whereas the world says we should have sex when we want to because it is fun. The world says we should seek fame and wealth when the Bible teaches that love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Our culture tells us that we should live for today when Jesus said that it is all for nothing if we gain everything we want but give up our souls in the process.

Being a fool for Christ doesn’t mean being stupid; instead, it means that we value what God says more than what the world says even if it costs us. Think back to what all it cost the followers of Jesus along with the Christians in the early Church. They were killed and imprisoned by the hundreds of thousands during the first three centuries after Jesus’ resurrection. Following Jesus will come with a cost but the reward is worth it in the end.  It takes time, effort, and commitment to place Christ first in all things. Don’t let the strong emotions you feel this weekend fade away when you come home. Instead, begin to make a daily habit of following Christ knowing that every great journey is made up of thousands of individual steps. Take another today, and then another tomorrow, until you become so empowered by God that you can boldly stand before the entire world and present the truth about Jesus to them.

Write it down

What about John the Baptist stands out to you? What do you think was the most important quality he had? (Take time to reflect and maybe write these answers down)

How would you have reacted if you were in John’s place? Would you be willing to die to be obedient to Christ? (These too)

Final thought:

Take time now and throughout the day to pray over what God is calling you to do. What do you need to change in your life? What must you do to follow him completely? Look at this passage below to see what Jesus said to give you some ideas.

[37] “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. [38] If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. [39] If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. (Matthew 10: 37-39 NLT)

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