Originally posted on July 10, 2008.
A while back, I wrote about the hummingbirds that come to our feeder. A couple of days ago, I was sitting on the back porch and a hummingbird came to the feeder. It was interesting to watch because it spent all the time looking around to see if another bird was going to come chase it away. The poor thing never did get any nectar because it was afraid of the other hummingbird.
I got to thinking how often we are like that hummingbird. We are afraid to really follow Jesus because we are afraid of being attacked, by non-Christians and by Christians. Those of us who grew up in more conservative circles know what it's like to always worry about doing something that will "harm your testimony" or "offend another Christian". When I first began to realize that many of the things I was taught when I was younger were more in line with the culture that grew around the American Church in the past century than with what the Bible teaches, I still had times of looking over my shoulder in fear of what people might think or say.
That is not a Christ-honoring way of thinking. Jesus has set us free from the expectations and opinions of others. He has called us to follow him, not any system or philosophy concocted by human beings. A quick glance at the history of Christ followers shows the diversity in the ways we are called to follow. Beyond what we find in the New Testament, Jesus did not give us an exhaustive list of how to live our lives. Yes, there are certain principles that inform our lives, the most important being love God and love others. But there is a lot of life that is not as cut and dried as some would like to think.
Galations 5:1 Paul tells us that it is for freedom that Christ set us free. Galations 5:13 does tell us that we are not use our freedom as an excuse to sin, but much of the time that verse is misused as a weapon to get people to do what a particular group or person wants them to do.
We are free. Free to follow Christ in the way that he calls us, without worrying about what other people think. What can they do? Take our things? It all belongs to God anyway. Will they refuse fellowship? We have fellowship with the Father. Will they try to damage our reputation? What reputation? We're all broken people in need of God's grace and none of us is better than another. Will they take away our position? That frees us up to pursue another avenue of service. The worst they can do is kill us. If they do that, then we are with Christ. If we realize that all we are is because of God's grace and that Jesus loves us no matter what, we can then be free to live our lives as the Holy Spirit leads us and become more like Jesus according to his schedule, not ours or any body else's.
Don't be like the hummingbird. Spend time drinking the nectar of God's amazing grace instead of looking around to see who might attack you.
From my opportunity to teach in our gathering this morning:
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