2 Corinthians 5:13-14
"If I acted crazy, I did it for God; if I acted overly serious, I did it for you. Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do."
Following Jesus is the greatest adventure of a lifetime! Should we follow and obey Jesus for the sake of the adventure itself? No, we should follow Jesus for the sake of Jesus Himself. Can we enjoy the adventure of sharing Jesus as we enjoy the adventure that sharing Him and obeying Him brings? Yes! Adventure is a byproduct of following a wild Jesus, and is not always positive, in that it feels good, is easy, and fun, but it is good.
We are compelled, or should be, by the love of Jesus. "Love is a choice not a feeling," and I would add "not an obligation.” Adventure is not always easy, or fun, or a good feeling. We choose to put ourselves at risk to experience Jesus and the adventure of following Him. It is God’s love that compels us to do so.
In doing adventure ministry and in making disciples in the outdoors, I have notice two subcultures of outdoor enthusiasts. This first subculture likes the idea of adventure, but they are terrified at its reality. There is another group that seeks adventure for adventure’s sake and not for the transformation that can take place in doing adventure activities.
This first subculture loves to subscribe to outdoor magazines and books, they read about adventures and expeditions, and they go to conferences, and they collect all the right gear, but they do not get outside and actually embark on the adventure. I would call these "North American Yuppie Adventurers.” They wear The North Face® and other technical gear, but they have no idea if it breathes or resists the elements and they don’t want to get it dirty or damaged. They like adventure in theory, but they have never slept outside in the rain. They drive Hummers, but complain of potholes.
The second subculture makes an idol out of the adventure. They seek adventure for the sake of adventure. They are not interested in the change and transformation that the adventure can bring to their own life through the power of Jesus, and in the lives of their teammates, the other people in their expedition. Adventure is difficult and trying and these people thrive on the difficulties. They are into the adventure for the fun of it and have self serving motives. They are the god’s of their own adventures. They seek to prove themselves and to “one up” themselves and others for the sake of creating their own identity in what they have done, or in the adventures that they have had. They are not looking to be made Holy, to know the true God, or to better people than they were before they set out. They have a high tolerance for adversity and uncertainty. However, suffering for God or others is outside of the realm of what they seek or desire. When the going gets tough, these people get going and move to the next big thing, regardless of who they leave behind. They are performance driven.
Now, let's apply this to the church. If we are following Jesus in theory only, then we are not fully experiencing Jesus and the adventure of following Him, and we are not being fully transformed by Jesus. It is my fear that much of North American Christianity is either following Jesus in theory or we are following a lesser god, or an idol, and a self serving “Christianity.” If we are following Jesus for the sake of the adventure that He brings in serving Him, we “want His stuff” (Keller). We do not want God in this scenario. We want what God and what His people have to offer us, and we are not compelled by the love of Jesus.
The Love of Jesus should move us forward in this Christian life. If we are truly following Jesus, we will have dirty feet (Everts). Following Jesus in theory alone is not following Him at all (see the book of James, faith without works is dead). If we are to be His disciples, we must go! We must go because we love God and his people. It is the love of God that compels us. It is “His love [that] has the first and last word in everything we do!” It is His love that brings us to Jesus, leads us to true adventure, and sets us free!
Seeking Jesus in His Adventure,
Everts, Don. Jesus With Dirty Feet. InterVarsity Press. Downers Grove, IL. ©1999
Peterson, Eugene H.: The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, Colo. : NavPress, 2002, S. 2 Co 5:13-14, Jas 2:18
Keller, Timothy. Counterfeit gods. Penguin Group (U.S.A.) Inc. New York, New York. © 2009
“I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, ‘Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.’ Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.”