’Tis the season and throughout the world—people of all denominations have one thing in common at this time of year: they are celebrating Christmas. Mind you, as a society, we’ve done our fair share to dilute the true point of the holiday with images of Santa Claus and the politically correct “Happy Holidays,” greeting. But this article isn’t about celebrating Christmas. This is about celebrating the birth of the greatest rebel who ever lived. Jesus Christ.
Yes, rebel. But I don’t mean “rebel” in the sense of disorder and disobedience. I mean “rebel” in the sense of a one-of-a-kind original. A true revolutionary in every sense of the word.
Jesus challenged the status quo then, and His life is still challenging the status quo of our “enlightened” society. He encouraged people to turn the other cheek. He encouraged us to love our enemies. Jesus overruled the idea that we can obtain salvation through living by the rulebook, but instead, broke the chains holding us to an unattainable feat, and offered up Himself as a willing sacrifice. He made salvation possible through grace and grace alone.
Everything He said and did went against the norm. From talking to a woman at the well to befriending the lowest and most hated people in polite society. Jesus, ever-perfect in His obedience to God, broke every rule of mankind.
And since we are called to follow Jesus, we are called to live the lives of rebels.
Rebels to what the world says is okay.
Rock star Alice Cooper once said, “You’re always self-centered. Everything is for you. Your self is god. And we make lousy gods. Humans make lousy gods, I think. We need to let God be God and us be what we are. I think that’s what changes: the focus on who you’re serving. You’re not serving you. You’re serving Christ.”
The world’s god(s) take(s) many shapes—money, power, drugs, anything that takes the focus from Jesus. But Christians are told to keep their eyes on Christ. To allow Him to direct us, and trust Him enough to follow, even when we can’t see where He’s going!
Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Let’s face it—it’s not easy to be a Christian! That’s why Jesus has said, it’s a narrow road. Too many are comfortable walking on the wide road with the masses and avoiding criticism, not realizing they are headed to eternal destruction.
Ironically, we live in a world of sheep, baah’ing on about being different—“Be yourself! You’re one-of-a-kind! Embrace your individuality!” Of course, all that is said with a footnote—“Unless you’re one of those weirdo Christians. In that case, you’re wrong.”
But that brings us to another Alice Cooper quote, and possibly my favorite: “Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that’s a tough call. That’s rebellion.”
Let’s take a look at another celebrity, noted for his own share of rebellious ways—Johnny Cash. Later in his life, he said, “Being a Christian isn’t for sissies. It takes a real man to live for God—a lot more than to live for the devil.”
If you want to be revolutionary in this world, it’s not going to happen by following the masses. It’s going to come from being strong in faith and committed to following Christ, even if you are left walking all alone.
Let’s be rebels.
Not as the world sees “rebellion,” but let us end this year, and prepare to begin a new one, through a commitment to reject the world’s ways and embrace what Jesus Christ taught us.
Let us focus on who God is and what Jesus did for us at Calvary. And be bold enough to walk that lonely, narrow path that leads straight to eternity with Jesus Christ.