As a child I remember playing "Simon Says." I played it on the playground, with my family, with teachers. Simon says, jump on one foot. Simon says flap your arms. Simon says spin in a circle. It is a game that requires complete obedience. As Simon, you have the power to confuse people, or to make absolute fools out of people. (Should I be ashamed to say that the later was definitely my favorite!?!)
Either way, when playing Simon says, your goal is to be obedient. You may get confused, and you probably feel like a dork, but you do it. Why? Simon said so.
After listening to this sermon clip by Francis Chan, I got a whole new perspective on the game "Simon Says."
Why is it that I am so willing to be obedient to "Simon," and not Jesus?
I have spent years thinking that if I am a decent person, go to church, read and study my Bible, that I will be a good Christian. But am I really doing what Jesus says? Does Jesus want me to fellowship with other believers and worship him? Yes. Does Jesus want me to spend time with my Bible, discussing it with fellow believers? Yes. Is that all he wants? NO!
Jesus has called us to radical obedience and abandonment. He wants us to get down and dirty in the work of the Kingdom. He wants us to minister to the poor, the widowed, the orphans, the unbelievers. He wants us to peacefully fight for those suffering from injustice. He wants us to make disciples. He wants us to be willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING for him.
In Matthew 8:20-22 and 19:20-21, Jesus tells us that we need to be willing to give up our creature comforts, our homes, our loyalties to others, and even our money. Luke 14:25-27 is even more shocking! We must be willing to put our commitment to God above not only ourselves, but our families. We must be willing to lay down our lives for the sake of the Kingdom. Yikes!
"Jesus Says," can be quite a terrifying game indeed. Thankfully, it comes with some amazing rewards. The grace and mercy of God. Joy and peace, even in the face of life altering trials. The security of a ever present God, the wonder of being co-heirs with Christ, and the promise of Heaven.
Brothers and sisters, let us be continually examining ourselves and each other. We need to help each other in the life long adventure of "Jesus Says." Imagine how disappointed and infuriated we would be if our children memorized everything we asked them to do, without actually doing anything. As it says in James 1:22,
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says.
Dear Lord, I pray that I will not just be a hearer of the the word. I pray that I will have the boldness and obedience to go forth into the world, doing what you have asked me to do. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
The full sermon by Francis Chan, entitled "Radically Following Jesus," can be found here.