Who Am I: Tourist or Nomad?

I’m about to read the last chapter in this book that has been transforming my life over the past few months: “Radical” by David Platt. It begs the question, “Is our version of Christianity American or biblical?” It has challenged my faith and loyalties with every page I’ve read.

PhotoGrid_1350095626706I’ve had to ask myself, “Am I willing to live as though I have nothing? Am I willing to sell all I have and give to those who have need? Am I willing to truly count everything as loss for the sake of making His name famous?”

Those hard questions have propelled me closer to the heart of God, and in so doing, everything has become much clearer.

It burns in me more than anything: Are we willing to forsake our affluent society’s dream of success, and live for heaven? Are we willing to be nomads, remembering that this earth is not our home?

Today I went to visit a famous church, which was quite fun. But partway through, I felt like I’d grieved the heart of God with my attitude toward it. He said to me, “Don’t be a tourist.”

That’s when it hit me – as American Christians we are too often being church tourists, rather than being the church. Too often we want an experience and to be served and to have a spiritual massage, not to give our lives and risk everything for the sake of His kingdom. But we’re not called to be tourists; we’re called to be nomads. 

IMG_20130124_181334I can’t bear to hold anything back from Him any longer. I can’t bear to live in fear of man any longer. I can’t bear to live for an American dream, or for the right clothes, or for the right husband, any longer.

All I want to live for is Him.

No matter where that takes me.

I don’t want anything less.

What does this mean in everyday life? It means seizing every opportunity to share the gospel. It means taking the money I could spend on new clothes and dinners out, and sending it to fund missionaries going to unreached people groups. It means being willing to give anything, go anywhere, so long as I can make His name famous, not my name.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to buy new clothes, nothing of the sort. But have I loved my clothes more than I’ve loved Him? Because where my treasure is spent indicates where my heart is positioned. And I’ve given much more to my wardrobe than I’ve given to reaching the people Jesus called us to reach: The broken, poor, fatherless, lonely, and those who have never heard of His gospel. Why has that been so far from my heart, when it’s the one thing He called us to do?

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel…” (Mark 16:15) “Make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:19)

And have I done that?

Hardly. Because I’ve been spending my resources on me.

IMAG0403We look for healing, restoration, wholeness…freedom. We think it can be found alongside our prosperity gospel and expensive wardrobes. But I’ve come to realize that freedom doesn’t come when Jesus is part of our lives. It can’t. It doesn’t come just from church attendance or even from ministry.

Freedom comes when we live as though this world isn’t our home. When we live not as tourists, but as nomads.

Because when we live for a heavenly country, this world loses its hold on us. As that trap falls away, so does our fear of man and insecurities.

No it’s not a magical change; it’s a journey. But we find freedom when we seek Him with all our hearts. And when we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him (Jer. 29:13).

Father teach me how to do this.

If it means going to live unknown in the midst of a faraway people group, I will do it. It will pierce my pride, and part of me won’t want to do it because I hate being unknown and unseen, but all the better to let my pride die for the sake of your glory.

If it means speaking on a stage, then save me from myself because I am so easily led astray into pride and arrogance and self-righteousness.

If it’s working a full-time job, then give me patience and a mind that is not swayed or distracted by the affluent society in which I live.

Wherever you send me from here, help me to be all yours, totally and completely, whatever and wherever that means.

These are the things God’s been speaking to me as I’ve been reading “Radical.” I would so strongly encourage all of you to check it out as well. But be forewarned – it might just shake up your world too! 🙂

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