Tag Archives: Beautiful Outlaw

Rebel Against The World…Not God

Rebellion.  That word takes on so many different meanings in our lives.  I always remember growing up and even now that the rebels of this world are those that didn’t hang with the crowd.  Maybe they were bikers, got tattoos or piercings, road with the rough crowds.  These are just some broad examples, but you get the point.  When we typically think of rebellion we think of people that are around wilder elements and don’t live like the way people think they should.

Another kind of rebellion that we are so good at doing as a fallen humanity is rebelling against God.  We have really perfected this art in this world as we find it so easy to choose our own pleasure and seek to figure things out on our own rather than trusting in God and following where He is leading us.  Read the book of Jonah.  This book shows Jonah’s rebellion from God and trying to flee to Tarshish rather than going to Nineveh as God tells Him.  As my pastor spelled out however, this book also shows God’s unending grace and radical love in His pursuit of Jonah and seeing the people of Nineveh repent and turn to God.  You here his teaching at this link https://vimeo.com/161467082

Yet, there is another rebellion I really want to talk about.  This is the kind of rebel that Jesus was in His time on earth.  Jesus grew up in a time that was filled with laws and rules for the people of Israel.  The religious leaders of the day had the people jumping to hoop after hoop to follow their impossible to follow rules.  Jesus, however was not bound by that.  He lived with what John Eldredge referred to as a scandalous freedom.  As Lecrae says, Jesus was a rebel, a renegade outlaw, and a sanctified trouble maker.  Yet, he never sinned, living life by a different set of rules.

The type of rebellion that Jesus lived is the type of rebellion that we are meant to live.  A rebellion against this world, not against God.  Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is.”  Do not be conformed to this world.  That’s real rebellion.  Following the Father’s will for our lives.  Living a life of spiritual discipline where you walk with God daily, seek Him out, and be sanctified daily through Christ.

This all sounds so simple in theory and many of us talk of our faith and trying to live it out, but that is the key isn’t it.  Trying to live it out.  There are so many pressures in this life to live for our own pleasure and desires.  We turn to so many things that end up controlling our lives and hold us in bondage instead of giving us freedom.  Freedom

C.S. Lewis stated, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing”  Real freedom is found through Christ alone and in seeking out the heart of God every day.  Be the kind of rebel that Jesus was.  Don’t let this world define who you are.  Your real identity is found in the person of Jesus Christ alone.

I love the ending of the Rebel Intro by Lecrae where it states:

You’re just a conformist, if you’re drunk and naked and driving around on a loud motorcycle smoking cigarettes and breaking commandments
And getting pregnant out of wedlock
Everyone’s done that, it’s so tiring
If you really want to be a rebel, read your Bible, because no one is doing that
That’s rebellion
That’s the only rebellion left

Read your Bible, because that’s the only rebellion left.  That’s so true.  This world has pulled us further and further from the heart of God and everyday there is a stronger pull. You don’t have to follow what everyone else is doing.  Don’t minimize the Word of God and who we are in Christ.  Rather get to know Him more and follow Him more.

Trust me it will be difficult.  Just yesterday, I had to stand strong and say no something related to my kids and sports that we have been a part of for years.  We have always been told that was the way to go, but realized that it was running our lives and we had to change our priorities.  That simple little no may not have seemed like much, but it was a powerful statement for my life and my family.

My challenge to you all is to look over your life.  Look at where your priorities and commitments are and then gauge if those are things that draw you closer to or further from the heart of God and His will for your life.  Sometimes, it requires tough decisions that others may not understand and that may seem wrong to you, but the freedom that will come from truly standing against conformity and following the will of God is so great.

The Fog of Religion

I’m going to talk about something today that will not be very popular with many people.  This has to do with the religious veil that is pulled over many of our faces still to this day.  A veil that Jesus himself brought down and that was torn in two, forever opening the door to the Father through Christ.  I guess it’s appropriate that this is on my mind today on Ash Wednesday.  This day is observed by many as the start of Lent, leading up to Easter.  Even before I fully came into my faith, something never sat right with me about it all.  Now that my eyes have been opened, I see it more clearly.

We have a serious religious problem across the Christian faith.  I guess it’s bound to happen over a 2,000 year period as messages get skewed and people begin to prop themselves up through the creation of new religious practices.  While Lent and Ash Wednesday are not referenced anywhere in Scripture, I don’t have an issue with people that want to observe this time.  The problem lies in the motives of the heart.  There are many people and I know many, that use the time leading up to Lent to indulge however they want. To live like hell and just whatever.  Then Lent comes, they get the ashes on their forehead and then portray to be living a like a Christian for 40 days.  Easter comes and goes and right back to life as usual.  Living a life in Christ.  Seeking holiness and sanctification is not for only 40 day out of the 365 days we have each year.  This is meant to be a 24/7 365 life.  People think that this time can make up for the rest of their crazy living.   Doesn’t work that way.

a43673c9d067ac92903fa8250de42be5In his book, ‘Beautiful Outlaw,’ John Eldredge speaks to the religious fog and how Jesus himself was very much anti-religious.  That’s who he went after directly more times than not through the Gospels.  John says this, “The religious fog uses sanctified worlds and activities, things that look and sound very Sunday school to distort our perception of God and our experience of Him.  It is cunning as a snake and adaptive as the flu, infiltrating our practices to make them ever so false.”  Read the Gospels and as John stated, there is one thing that is unmistakably clear…religion is the enemy.  “Every hostile encounter Jesus has is with very “churchy” people.  This spirit is the great enemy of our life with God, and it is this spirit that Jesus warned his boys about when they were whispering in the boat about the bread” (See Matthew 16:6-12).

Religion is a major problem that we to contend with.  Religion is built by man on rules and regulation that continually build up larger walls between man and God.  Jesus tore those walls down.  Our salvation, our freedom, our restoration, our eternity lies with Him and Him alone.  Not in religious practices and rituals.  We are to be disciplined spiritually through prayer, studying and learning Scripture, and so on, but getting caught up in religious discipline and practices can be a real problem and can begin to pull you away from the heart of God.  Following Jesus does not require the burden of religion.  Matthew 11:29-30, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

9780060694425_p0_v2_s192x300Why do we forget this?  There is a cost to following Christ as it will pull you away from many around you, even if you are close them them, if they do not follow as well.  However, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  Jesus did not put up more religious walls to shield us from God.  No…He opened the door. The goal of living a life in Christ is to live as Christ lived.  Not to follow every little thing that He may did, specifically, but to follow His example.  In ‘The Spirit of the Disciplines,’ Dallas Willard explained it this way, “The secret of the easy yoke is simple, actually.  It is the intelligent, informed, unyielding resolve to live as Jesus lived in all aspects of life, not just in the moment of specific choice or action.” 

I have grown to become very much against religion.  Actually, I hate religion.  It is the enemies ploy to skew the message and the Good News to pull us away from the heart of God and truly living our lives in Christ.  Christ is the example, not the pompous religious pharisees of today that prance around with so much pomp and circumstance just as the pharisees and religious leaders in Jesus’ time did.  Christ challenged them directly and fiercely.  We should not let our lives fall into their trap again.  Clear the religious fog and live in the freedom and restoration found in Christ alone and is directly available to each and everyone of us.

No religious ritual can ever make one’s heart right with God.  That only comes through the grace and spiritual blessings of the Father through the works (life, death, resurrection, and ascension) of Christ Jesus.  Religion keeps you in chains and bondage behind a veil. Jesus tears down the veil, breaks those chains, and sets you free.

Wanna Be A Real Rebel?

We hear so much talk of people rebelling.  Going against the system or against the norm.  Non-conforming.  We see this a lot in our youth and even into adulthood.  Rebelling to us can take on many different forms and looks or it may involve different actions one takes.  One may look at going to college as conforming so they don’t go to college as one example.  Often what I have found is that many forms of rebelling come out of brokenness and/or lead to a life of posing and hiding.  The same can be said for those that don’t do the “rebel things” but put on a fake posing smile about their life to hide their brokenness.

What I have discovered though is that there was one and only one real rebel.  This is the person who is Jesus Christ.  You want to talk about a rebel?  Jesus was the ultimate rebel.  The ultimate outlaw.  Why do I say this?  Simply because he chose to directly challenge the norms of society and religion.  He chose to walk in Truth no matter what it took and didn’t bow or compromise any part of Himself that would take away from His calling from the Father.  Jesus was a rebel by the standards of this world and today would be a rebel by the standards of this world.

Jesus lived by a different set of rules that were not governed by this world and by society.  He was a sanctified trouble-maker in the fact that he lived by this set of rules and never once even with all of the temptation and suffering and ridicule He faced, did he compromise those rules or given in and capitulate.  He stood toe to toe with the Pharisees and religious self-righteous.  He stood toe to toe with Satan.  He broke the rules because of the authority and mission He was given from the Father.

Jesus also did something else that we find it so hard to do in this world.  Simply trust in the Father and surrender to His will.  He knew he was about to be tortured brutally and sent to die.  He knew it was coming.  With all that, He still wanted the Fathers will done.  Jesus was fully human and suffered more than we could possibly imagine in order to set us free.  Jesus loved the Father just as the Father loved Him.  If you just turn to the Gospels and study, you see time after time the rebellion of Jesus Christ on earth.  From challenging rules on hand washing, to healing on the Sabbath, and to clearing the temple with a corded whip He made.  It’s there as plane as day for us to see.

This world has become so jacked up and corrupt and our lives are so full of junk and brokenness.  Whether we rebel in our worldly way or conform, we are filled with it and we simply do what Jesus never did.  We fall away from the Father and compromise our faith through selfish self-reliance or out of fear of the world.

You want to be a real rebel?  A real rebel is one that never compromises their faith and seeks the will of the Father in all they do.  Jesus was that to perfection.  I know none of us can ever be that kind of perfection, but he was what being a man as all about and rebelled by standing on Truth.  This is something we need to try doing ourselves.  Don’t let the world dictate to us and don’t let our brokenness force into hiding and capitulation that this is all that life is about.  Jesus brings healing and restoration to our brokenness.  His rebellion paved the way to our the grace we now live in and the glory that is ours through a life filled with Christ.

Jesus had what John Eldredge referred to in his book Beautiful Outlaw a “scandalous freedom.”  Eldredge states that “the risks Jesus is willing to take with reputation is simply stunning.” Most of us would not be willing to do what he did.  Would not be willing to stand in the way of world religions and traditions to stand on Truth and by the will of God.  Jesus knew His purpose was going to do what was needed to fulfill that purpose.  He was not going to intimated into compromise.  Bottom line is, if you want to do something rebellious for real, stand true to your faith in Jesus and to the Word of God and never, under any circumstances, compromise the Word to satisfy worldly, post-modern, and religious views.