The One Tradition All Christians Should Observe

footballGod asks us to do the impossible.

In these days, these days of abusers, users, addicts, enablers, entitled mindsets, terrorists, and anti-Christian worldviews, in these days He refuses to release us from the command to love.

How are we supposed to do that? Seriously, most days we look like chumps. Smart money in 2016 is not on people who love. The point spread of this generation falls to those who keep up their guard, hold their love close to their vests, invest love prudently in a chosen few who prove themselves capable of receiving love responsibly, and reciprocating by changing then loving in return.

We cannot love like God (although that is the call). God loves lavishly, extravagantly, with no thought to return. He loves with patience, kindness, humility, without demand, without irritability or resentment. His love is never rude.

God holds out a love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. How are we supposed to love like that? From our experience on this side of glory, that’s a chump’s love. That’s a love that gets taken for a ride. Love that gets taken for granted. Love that extends itself for those unable or unwilling to love in return. People don’t do that anymore.

We’re too smart for that kind of love in these times.

Of course, Jesus showed us what this looks like. Jesus lived in this hard, Roman-army ruled world full of thugs, murderers, scoffers, and jackboots.knight-1421358_640 Jesus knew scoundrels, hypocrites, oppressors, and whores. He saw, better than we, the depth of their sins, the blackness of their souls, and the perversion of their thoughts. Yet, He offered them love. Pure love. Heavenly love. Love divine, all loves excelling. Love that defines love. The gold standard of love He offered to men who smelled like fish and women who reeked of perfume purchased by their adulteries.

He loved the ones who spit in His face, laughed at His captivity, crowned Him with thorns, and nailed Him to a tree. He loved under fire, under duress, under a captor’s boot and a scorner’s laugh. He loved when His Father said no to His prayers and when His dearest friends deserted Him in His darkest hour. He loved when He had to look on the pain in His mother’s face as she watched Him die.

No one took advantage of Jesus – He offered His freely. No one took His life – He laid His life down. He didn’t love because anyone forced Him to love. He loved because He is love. He bore all things, believed all things, hoped all things, and endured all things. And He still does.

So, God asks us to do the impossible but He did it first, He did it best, and we can do it because He will make us able. If you think about it, how we operate in this world comes down to one simple question:

charlie-brown-1132276_640Would you rather be Charlie Brown or Lucy?

How can Peanuts characters teach us how to live out our call to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things? By always running to kick the football.

For over fifty years, Charles Schultz testified to us all. Every fall, Lucy offers to hold the football for Charlie Brown to kick. Charlie Brown sometimes wavers but he always relents and goes for the kick. Every, single time, Lucy pulls the ball away at the last second and Charlie flies into the air. He falls flat on his back and stares at the skies.

All of us who offer our love in these times know exactly how Charlie feels. The world abounds with Lucy’s and they seem like the smart ones in the moment of the fall. But what we have to ask ourselves is this:

At the end of the day, do we want to be Charlie Brown or Lucy?

We can join the smart ones who withhold their love, who smirk at Charlie’s gullibility and hope, who toy with and deceive for the pleasure of those who spectate, who display their own arrogance and superiority through trickery, who refuse to really allow themselves to be children and engage in the real game

Or we can bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things and always, always choose to run and kick the sunset-50494_640ball. I choose to be Charlie and keep tradition – the tradition to love the Jesus loves.

Je suis Charlie – how about you? 

**To celebrate the release of my new book, Jesus and the Beanstalk (Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life), I’ve created a free download with everything you need to plan a retreat or one-day workshop for your small group, women’s ministry, Christian organization, or ministry team! Equipped to Slay Giants Workshop Guide is free for any of you who do that kind of planning and can be used with my book or without it! Thank you for praying for God’s work through this book and for readers to grow in Christ and in application of 2 Peter 1:1-10. Mercy and grace, Lori

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    The Conversation

  1. Your description of the depth of Jesus’ love brought me to tears, Lori. It brought to mind the song “You Love Me Anyway” by Sidewalk Prophets. It reminds me how superficial my love can be. The only way I can love as God loves is to pray that He help me see those around me through His eyes.

  2. Desiree La Roche says:

    “Jesus lived in this hard, Roman-army ruled world full of thugs, murderers, scoffers, and jackboots.” When I read this, my mind and heart go to the same place as when I watch the Paralympics…. no excuses.