Links Daily Devotional

The Jesus Card

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us…our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:17 & 20, ESV)

I recently had the opportunity to join the Symetra Tour’s weekly Bible study. These young women are in the beginning years of pursuing their dreams as professional golfers. I remember those early years being filled with both exhilaration and exhaustion. I qualified for the LPGA Tour on my second attempt, but it was one of the hardest and most intimidating experiences I had faced up to that point in my career.

Being a Christian golfer in the mix of this performance-based environment has its additional set of challenges as well. One of the young ladies at the Bible study really hit it in the sweet spot when she said, “To be a Christian is countercultural.”

As the ladies continued to discuss what it costs to be a Christian on tour and in our culture today, I found my thoughts drifting to a sermon I heard recently by Pastor Kent Dobson. He shared from Romans 12:9-13:14 where Paul gives a practical (and intimidating) list for how to actively live in this world when our true citizenship is in heaven.

I encourage you to take a few minutes and read this passage of scripture. While the title in my Bible reads, “Marks of the True Christian,” Kent Dobson playfully labels it, “A card-carrying member of the kingdom of Jesus.” I like this and it feels like an invitation to actively participate in this world, even when it feels counter-cultural. The passage simultaneously convicts my heart and births deep gratitude for God’s grace, because I definitely fall short in every area.

Pastor Kent summed up Paul’s words of instruction beautifully. A card-carrying member of the kingdom of Jesus is humble; it takes practice and does not come naturally. We are to be relational and have been gifted to serve (hospitality) in unique ways within the community of the church body. Choosing joy and being hopeful in all circumstances keeps us moving forward. Patience, sharing, and joining others in their mourning are characteristics of being in the kingdom of Jesus.

Our natural tendency leads us to hang out with people who will enhance our status in our world, and yet Paul tells us to do the opposite and associate with those who are cast down. Then Paul goes on to say that we are not to avenge ourselves or be overcome with evil, but instead to do good, even to our enemies. Countercultural!

Additionally, while we live in this earthly world, we are to honor and respect our governing authorities. And lastly, the only outstanding debt we are to owe anyone is to love each other. Since love does no wrong to a neighbor, this is the fulfillment of God’s law.

Whew! This is an overwhelming list of characteristics to live out as a card-carrying member of the kingdom of Jesus and feels harder and more intimidating than all of my years as a card-carrying member of the LPGA Tour. But Jesus is sending us out into the world to live this way. Are you willing and ready to be countercultural?

Tracy Hanson
June 11, 2015
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