Many Christians seem to be of the opinion that the Christian life boils down to clean living. They feel that if they are avoiding gross sin, then they are doing all that is required to be a faithful disciple. This view, of course, permits them to indulge all the fun they want, provided it is clean. Now I have no problem with clean fun in and of itself. In fact, I indulge a little of it myself from time to time—like backpacking and mountain climbing. But I would point out that the Christian life portrayed in the Bible rises far above the mere avoidance of dirty things into the higher ground of an exchanged life.
The Bible minces no words here. “Take up your cross and follow me” is our Lord’s cry to the world—including the religious. This is a call to death…not physical death, but death to living our life for our own things. Again we read in Matthew 10:39, “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” This is why Romans 6:3-4 regards Christianity as association with Christ in his death and speaks of baptism as a funeral. And this is why we read in Galations 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” This transaction, where a man ceases to live his life for himself and begins to live it for Jesus, is what is meant by the exchanged life.
I must confess that my life would look very different were I merely trying to live a clean Christian life and felt at liberty to pursue my own interests in clean fun and excitement. Come the fourth of July I would blow a ton of money on fireworks, including the biggest rockets I could find. My inner pyro would come unglued. Come Christmas I would splurge whole hog. I would go backpacking in the Rockies far more often than I do. I would pursue adventure with a vengeance … hang gliding, parachuting, mountain climbing, white water rafting, spelunking, diving, hunting for lost treasure in the Andes, prospecting for diamonds, and fishing in far-flung places like Mongolia, Siberia, and the South American jungle rivers.
But I have significantly tempered how much time and money I allow myself to spend on self, for I have said yes to the exchanged life. This means that I am a steward of my life, using it for the cause of Jesus. And I don’t regret this decision. It is not a heavy cross to bear. It doesn’t feel like the rigors of religion. It feels like following Jesus in an amazing cause with amazing rewards at the end. And I have set all my hope—as the Bible exhorts me—on the glory that shall be revealed in that wonderful day when believers receive their reward. From that day forth I shall embark on one long eternity filled with adventures.
If you struggle with letting Jesus have more of your life, I would encourage you to trust his promises … precious promises as … a far more exceeding and infinite weight of glory … inherit all things … pleasures forevermore at the Father’s right hand. What’s not to like about this deal?
May you have an amazing week following our amazing Saviour in his amazing cause.
“Eyes wide open, brain engaged, heart on fire.”
Lee W. Brainard