Following Jesus isn’t Boring: Living life in a zoo or running wild and free?

Christians get a bad rap for being boring. Honestly I understand where it comes from. So often Christians are the ones saying no to all of the things that the world deems as fun. The focus ends up being on all of the things that Christians don’t do. They don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t swear, and don’t watch certain films or listen to certain music. They don’t have sex or steal or party or whatever. Focus on the “don’ts”, on all of the religious stuff, and being a Christian probably does sound pretty boring. But focus on the “dos”, and being a follower of Jesus is the most exciting thing you’ll ever do.

Soren Kierkegaard actually believed that boredom is the root of all evil. I guess I can relate. Growing up in a small Midwestern farm town, high school kids seemed to get in the most trouble when they were bored. Kierkegaard argued that faith and boredom cannot coexist. He believed that if you are bored with life, then you are not living out the mission God has called you to live. Followers of Jesus are called to live by faith (define faith), which means we have to live with a certain amount of uncertainty. Following Jesus means that much of the time we may have no idea exactly where we are going. Faith may mean uncertainty but it also means adventure and it never means boredom! If your life is anything less than the greatest adventure you can imagine, then perhaps instead of following Jesus, you are actually living life expecting Jesus to follow you.

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Mark Batterson is one of my favorite authors. In his book, Wild Goose Chase, he asks two very intriguing questions. 1. Do churches do to people what zoos do to animals? 2. Do angels yawn? Batterson tells a story of taking a trip to the Galapagos Islands where he and his family explored and experienced wildlife in their natural habitat. He described it has exhilarating to enter into the animals’ world. Shortly after this trip, Batterson and his family went to their local zoo. Observing animals behind bars and glass was an entirely different experience altogether. There was no danger. There was no unknown. Viewing a lion in a cage is not the same as going on an African safari.

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Does the church take people out of their natural environment and make them safe, tame, and caged even? As Christians, we often want to remove the risk, danger, and struggles of life. However, according to Batterson, Jesus didn’t die on a cross to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous. Dangerous weapons in a spiritual battle for people’s hearts, and our ammunition is faith, hope, and love.

Batterson’s second question is, “Do angels yawn?” th5RM1JJ15

Are we living such safe, boring lives that not only are we bored, but so are the angels? When we lack the faith to truly follow Jesus, wherever He dares to lead, we rob God of glory that belongs to Him. You have an adventure to live, but it requires stepping out in faith. It requires providing hope to the hopeless. It requires loving others with a supernatural love that is only possible because God loves us first.

So where do we find the courage to step out in faith, provide hope, and love deeply? It comes from the knowledge that I am God’s beloved child. The safety and security in knowing I am so loved by God that He calls me His own (and that nothing I do could ever change that fact) allows me the freedom and boldness to take great risks in life. Here’s the best part… when I’m following Jesus, it’s really not that risky at all! His love is sure and unending. His faithfulness is unwavering. He’s never failed and I do not believe He ever will. With that incredible assurance, how can we not eagerly go wherever called, no matter what the risk may seem to be? With God as our Father, how can following Him ever be boring? Get out of the zoo. The cage is already open. You just have to step out and run hard after Jesus. Live your life with fearless abandon and give your guardian angel something to do!

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