When I was a kid, I grew up in a church where we didn’t dance, didn’t smoke, didn’t gamble, didn’t go to movies, didn’t listen to rock music, didn’t didn’t didn’t. There was a long list of things that we didn’t do. In fact, in the denomination we were in, I think it could be said that we were known far more for what we didn’t do than for what we did.
You know what else we didn’t do? We didn’t listen to Jesus instructions about what we ARE supposed to do. Things like free the captives, make disciples, feed the hungry, heal the sick, declare the perfect and glorious day of The Lord. You see, we were so busy running away from Hell that we weren’t being obedient to follow Christ, and to be an imitator of him.
No one wants to know what you don’t do. What people are looking at, whether you know it or not, is what you DO. In the book of James it says,
“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!”
No amount of running from hell will lead you to Christ. Seek Jesus and be an imitator of him, and hell will fall by the wayside. We are called to so much more.
Six and a half years ago, I left South Sudan and thought I might never return. This Spring I have the opportunity to go back. South Sudan can be very hard, and if I’m honest, it’s not something I particularly look forward to. But I also know what I’ve been created for, and it’s not for a list of things not to do. I was created to be the imitation of Christ, and if he would leave the 99 to go after the 1 lost, so will I.