Saturday, November 3, 2012

With Fire

Christ is a conqueror.  All too often, we try to soften him up, to make him seem harmless and passive, but if we don't find Jesus Christ to be incredibly dangerous, we're absolutely kidding ourselves.  Jesus is not sugarplums and teddy bears.  He is not a security blanket, nor is he a hearty laugh.  Jesus is fierce; he is wild and threatening.  Now, can Christ be comforting?  Of course!  Does he warm the heart?  Absolutely!  Is he refreshing?  Certainly?  But does Jesus Christ stop there?  Absolutely not.  While he may begin his journey with us through comfort, he will continue it with fire.  Jesus Christ is relentless, and he wages war on your heart.

Let me explain.  We live in a limp world, one of cheap excuses and cheaper thrills.  We let alcohol, drugs, and sex do for us what we cannot do ourselves.  We justify 5 days of the week with the brief refreshment we gain from the weekend, and even that does not subside.  More people kill themselves on Monday than any other day of the week.  Less than 50% of us actually like our jobs, and 75% of us lack the motivation to do anything about it.  We are a generation that doesn't live, and certainly doesn't thrive.    Most of us live within an hour of getting anything we want, we can get nearly infinite amounts of entertainment with the push of a button.  We aren't starving, we're actually more likely to die because we have too much food than because we have too little.  And yet, life seems miserable to us.  Anti-depressant use has increase a whopping 400% from 1994-2008.  There is a problem here. In today's world, we merely exist, subsiding through each day with the vain hope that the next might just be possibly be better.  I'm going to pull the Captain Obvious card and suggest that this isn't right.  Its not good that we are miserable, that happiness is so fleeting.  We're killing ourselves slowly with drugs, alcohol, and rampant promiscuity, desperately searching for peace we never seem to find.  Much of our society sees this as inevitable.  Jesus Christ sees this as a war zone.  Our society, in its united melancholy, has dismissed our beloved Jewish carpenter.  How can a roaming preacher save the world?  How can a crucified nobody free us?

If there is anything 2000 years of Christianity ought to have taught us, its that it was no mere nobody that hung on the cross.  Warlord and kings have risen and fallen in the past 2000 years.  Greece is a page in the history books.  The Ottoman Empire is a section on our world history exam.  Caesar Augustus is consigned to museums.  But Jesus Christ, the Nazarene?  Two billion people stand as rousing testimony that this obscure man from a dusty corner of history is alive.  Caesar commanded millions of legionaries, Alexander conquered Persia in his twenties, Mehmet II toppled Constantinople, but they are all dead and dust, banished to library shelves.  So why has Christ survived?  Why does Christianity flourish to this day?

Christianity shines resplendent because the Cross of Jesus Christ is a weapon unrivaled.  The sword has laid waste to many, and armies has conquered lands over and over again, but the Cross of Jesus Christ is stronger than sword and soldier; it does not make claim to land and to city, but to the human heart.  It is easy to conquer a city, you can set fire to it and raze it to the ground.  Not so the human heart.  The heart of man is not conquered in the fires of destruction, but in the fire of Christ's love.  This is the secret of the Cross, and the strength of Christ, the Warrior King, he does not conquer in death, but triumphs in life.  Jesus Christ lives eternally, his Sacred Heart ablaze in love.  It is this love that compels us, that wages war on our heart.  The love of Jesus Christ is relentless, it is unstoppable.  Christ is conquering the entire world with fire, the fire of the Holy Spirit.  We may speak of our withering world, but even as it seems so dark, Jesus Christ is rising.  He overwhelms the darkness as the sunrise overwhelms the night, as spring overwhelms winter, as life eternal overwhelms death.

Jesus Christ is waging war for you.  He comes with blazing fire to conquer your heart, not to destroy it, but to bring it to life.  Jesus Christ will make you burn, not in death, but in Heavenly Life.  He will ignite your heart with fire, and how you will love having it burn.

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