You do not have to know me personally for very long before you will discover that I am a big fan of my alma mater’s football team, the University of Oklahoma Sooners, and their two recent Heisman Trophy-winning and now NFL quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray.
Last season, In Mayfield’s first year as a pro, he was asked, after a particularly outstanding performance, “How did you do it?”
His answer gave me a new insight into exactly what we have recently been discussing in these blog postings: 1.) How can we walk by faith and not the law (what we have discussed in previous postings), and 2.) What can we expect when we do (today’s topic).?
Mayfield’s answer to the question is classic: “I woke up this morning feeling dangerous!”
Today’s typical, church-going Christian in our society has no idea how those words apply to his everyday life as a believer because his Christianity is not the Christianity we see on the pages of the book of Acts.
For example, after Stephan was stoned to death in Acts 7, the story of the immediate aftermath of that event is resumed in Acts 11: “Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord” (Acts 11:19-21).
These persecuted Christians who were a part of the original Jerusalem church had to “get out of Dodge,” i.e., flee for their lives because of the now-burgeoning persecution in Jerusalem led by Saul and other Jewish leaders. They were not missionaries, not Christian leaders, not bent on some endeavor to “reach the world” with this new experience of Jesus they had discovered.
No, these believers were just like you and me—plumbers, carpenters, real estate salesmen, school teachers, doctors, lawyers and clothing salesmen, so to speak—whose lives had been uprooted. But wherever they went, they were dangerous. With whomever they spoke as they went about their daily lives, they could not be silent about what they had experienced.
Peter and John had set the tone in Acts 4 when they were dragged before the SanHedrin and commanded not to speak about Jesus: “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19, 20).
The result in Antioch, and we can assume in all the towns where other Jerusalem Christians went as well, was the same; “and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.” This is, as author Roland Allen said in 1925, “the spontaneous expansion of the church.” This is New Testament evangelism: every day, in all I do, with whomever I meet, finding it impossible to contain what I have experienced!
Why is this not occurring all around us, every day, so society cannot ignore it, forbid it or legislate it out of existence? Make no mistake, our defeated enemy, the Devil, is fighting a delaying action with lies and deception against the church, whom God is using right now to mop up Satan’s guerrilla forces. Let’s look at how the Lord will answer the prayer He asked us to faithfully pray: Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Luke 11:2).
The Lord tells us clearly in Genesis 1:26-28 how His Kingdom will come: He is using US to answer that prayer, as we 1.) Reflect His image (personifying Him as the Holy Spirit expresses Himself through us), 2.) Rule over the earth for Him just as He would rule (in all situations in which we have been given authority), 3. Reproduce (do our part to fill the earth with offspring who will reflect, rule and reproduce with us and then join us in the battle). This is how Jesus’ prayer is answered and His kingdom, His rule, comes, in time, on the earth!
With that vision before us, assuming we are living by faith and not by the law, as we have seen in past posts, we are absolutely dangerous! I know when I am talking to the checkout girl at Safeway, the auto mechanic who works on my car, and my neighbor in the apartment complex where Jill and I live, the love of God will reach out through me and envelope them. Ironically, that will occur only as long as I realize I don’t love them because I am a poor sinner who can’t even begin to do so.
But Hallelujah!, “the fruit of the Spirit is love …” (Galatians 5:22). As I face my inability to ever love anybody with agape love, that love comes roaring out of my life and—miracle of miracles— inundates those I meet with this very love of God, of which I am unable to produce and even completely unaware when it is present.
After experiencing total failure in trying to be a substitute teacher in the early 2000’s, I took a second crack at it 10 years later (Jill and I really needed the money!). The first attempt was marked by shock at what had happened to the public school system in the 20 years I had been absent—the disrespect, the lack of discipline, the disinterest in learning and the helplessness of good teachers to make any real progress in their teaching tasks. The inmates were running the asylum!
I disgustedly bailed after three days! My attitude, whenever I saw kids waiting for the school bus, was to mutter “You poor fish! You are consigned to prison for 12 years and you don’t even know it.”
Ten years later there was a dramatic difference. I was able to substitute for six enjoyable, productive years before finally having to call it quits this past school year, and then only because my mobility would no longer allow it.
Did the students change in the 10 years I did not substitute? No, if anything, they were even worse than before. What had changed was me! During that 10 years I began to understand what we are discussing today, realizing that wherever I go, whatever I am doing, I am dangerous! That is only because Jesus is telling me the same thing He told His disciples as He sent them out: “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” (Matthew 10:7).
As I entered the school each morning my prayer on most mornings was, “Lord, who are You going to love on today through me? Who am You going to touch? Who will see Your kingdom, your rule, in me today? Let’s attack the gates of Hell that stand around this school today!”
This is our heritage, This is our calling. This is who we are. We are on the attack and we are dangerous!