Each of us was created for a purpose and has a specific role to play in furthering the mission of Jesus. We have been given a unique combination of passions and talents with which to live out our calling to be disciples of Christ. When was the last time you took inventory of your life to determine how well you were fulfilling your purpose? When was the last time you dreamed the dreams of youth, those carefree times when you recklessly threw yourself into a task without even considering the consequences? Many of us grew up being told we could be whatever we wanted to be, yet somewhere after high school we began to believe that less and less. We no longer dream or believe but rather sleepwalk through a life of conformity. I want to be a non-conformist for Christ.
What would it look like if we put aside social acceptance and cultural propriety and simply lived the life for which we were purposed? What if we cast off the fetters of responsible behavior and instead began to live radically for God? No longer constrained by a list of rules meant to keep everyone in their place, we would be suddenly free to blur the edges and color outside the lines. We would create new ways of doing ministry, breathe new fire into tired ideas and attack our mission with a zeal usually reserved for Bible stories. Imagine defying the acceptable norm and hanging out with those who society deems unseemly and repugnant. Imagine touching the sick and diseased or taking some time to share some conversation with people of questionable integrity or repute. This would certainly be a life that flew in the face of conventional wisdom. The best part is that it would be a life that looked an awful lot like Jesus.
Don’t worry; you’ll probably never have the opportunity to live in such a manner because we have forgotten how to dream. We’ve long ago shuttered our passions and creativity and exchanged them for a life of normalcy and acceptance. How mundane is that? When I read the Bible, I find Jesus to be anything but boring. He was always doing the unexpected and living a dangerous life. He was bold and unafraid. He was opinionated and firm in His convictions. He was gentle, kind, and cared deeply for those around Him. Through it all, He never lost His ability to dream. He knew what His purpose was from childhood, and never wavered for a moment. Yes, it’s true He is God, and so how else would we expect Him to act? But remember, we claim to be His disciples; we claim to live our lives as He lived His, and that He is our example and model. If we believe all this and live a dispassionate life of conformity, then we are simply fooling ourselves.
Remember when you dreamed dreams and were determined to see them fulfilled? Remember how you pledged your allegiance to Jesus and swore you’d never turn away? We said we’d follow Him anywhere and we’d model our life after His. Somewhere along the way we began listening to the whispers of another and sacrificed everything we were on the altar of conformity that is the “American dream.” Fiscal responsibility suddenly trumped holy abandon and self-sufficiency replaced total reliance. Now we are everything we vowed we would never become. We were called to be radical, peculiar disciples whose only loyalty was to the Kingdom of God, but instead have settled for being mature, responsible citizens of the world. I don’t want to face Jesus as a conformist. I want to greet Him as an audacious non-conformist, one who dreamed big dreams and used the talents given me to further His kingdom in radical ways. Everything I do I want to do for Him and because it is something He would do.
Are you conforming or diverging onto the path less travelled? Do you seek safety or are you willing to lose it all for His sake? If we are not living passionately for His kingdom then we are missing the mark and we have missed the point. Following Jesus is not something to which we can simply give lip service. That’s professing, not following. We have to move beyond confession and into a life that is fully alive in Christ. We must live each day as if it is our last because someday it will be. Don’t conform to what this world expects. Rise above and live the life for which you were created.