Let me start by clarifying “This is not a story about Heidi Baker’s workout regimen nor was Heidi working out with me. nor does she even know me” This is about the vast contrast of perspectives in the Church. One perspective is Kingdom minded and a lifestyle totally surrendered to the Lordship of Christ and the other is a view more focused on the things of this world with some “Jesus” sprinkled on top. I am not trying to dog or besmirch anyone or a church group, I’m just hoping this challenges those of us in the Western-Church to Re-evaluate and begin to realize what God has truly called us to, and that anything less is really unacceptable.
One of my favorite and most challenging scriptures I read is Matthew 16:24-27 – It basically says this – Following Him requires us to give up our lives and lay EVERYTHING down for Him! The sad thing is so often I don’t see that in the Church and far more often than I’d like to admit I don’t see it in my life. But as I walk this thing out more and more I see my desires change and my passions become consumed with just KNOWING Him and Making Him KNOWN to everyone I come in contact with!
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
So what does all that have to do with Heidi Baker and me running on an elliptical machine? I’m glad you asked… First off I had the pleasure of seeing Heidi minister in Dallas a few months ago and quite honestly it “wrecked” me. Her stories alone of God’s Miracles and Love restoring broken people will shatter your heart, but then you just sense such a love! It’s a love for others but it is all spawned by her love for Jesus. She talks of Jesus the way a newlywed speaks of their spouse, an artist talks about a Michelangelo, an athlete talks about winning the championship and a child talks about a loving parent. He is her everything, and should be ours too!
So there I am on the dreaded elliptical machine when I realize I don’t have my headphones. (Cue dramatic music) Just to be clear the main reason I exercise is to just stay in shape and still be able to eat ice cream! So running is not fun to me and running without music or listening to a good message is Brutal!!! So not having headphones I decided to pass the time reading and I had just downloaded Heidi’s book “Compelled by Love.” and I am reading things like this “Since moving to Mozambique, we have learned to depend on God for everything. If God does not show up there, we are dead.” “We need His presence.”* WHAT!!! How different this thought process is from the Western Church, a place where far too often “Programs replace Presence.” And it just goes on and on from there of a people totally dependent and totally sold out to Jesus!
“Our lives are only valuable when they are spent for Jesus.”
As I am reading this and fighting back tears, a group of ladies begin running on nearby machines. Now I am sure these are very nice women and being that we live in the Bible-belt probably attend Church. I am not trying to judge their hearts or their motives by any means, I just noticed a stark contrast in their conversation to what I was reading. They began talking of floor plans and VBS, discussing big foyers and busy schedules for their kids. Nothing that was necessarily bad, but it definitely sounded of lives consumed with “stuff” and “keeping up with the Jones’s.” I didn’t get mad at them but I just felt sad. Sad that this was their perspective of important things in life. Now don’t get me wrong my family is important to me, but what is more important is that my family knows that “our lives are only valuable when they are spent for Jesus.”
I love the Church and because of that I become impassioned with the need to help them see that as Followers of Christ we cannot live for ourselves any longer! The scripture makes it clear that “We are not our own but we have been bought with a price,” the Precious Blood of Jesus!
I for one want to “take up my cross daily” and the way I see it you only carry a cross somewhere to go die! And that’s what I intend to do, die to my selfish wants and desires, die to the thought that I need the biggest and the best, die to the ambitions of this world and live a life that looks just like Jesus!
So hopefully as you read this (even if your on an elliptical machine HAHA) you will not read a message of condemnation but more like a challenge to ask the Lord in an honest way – who am I living for and what do you want me to change? And I believe our gracious Heavenly Father will gently lead you down a path of repentance so that you can live out your life with the Passion and Power of Christ evident everyday in all you do!