January 29, 2010

Demanding It All

We Disney fans are quite the lot, aren't we? We expect top quality in the parks- we are right to do so- and we expect cutting edge attractions popping up every year. We want the suits and the Imagineers at the Walt Disney Company to deliver what they promise. It's the least they can do when they demand so much of our hard earned money just to walk through the gates.

We are frustrated when we do not get what we want and when we get what we hate. Whether it is cheap off-the-shelf attractions like at California Adventure, old parades, or the endless character infusion into areas and attractions where they do not belong. We get ticked off at half-hearted commitment to quality when manintenance stinks at Walt Disney World, when buildings are left to rot at Disneyland or attractions close for no apparent reasons. And we hate it when we are given lip service about it. Where's the follow-through? Where's the integrity? Where's the passion?

Let me turn the tables and say we are not the only ones who demand it all and yet we do not deliver.

The challenge before me is to give my all. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I took from him the gift of eternal life through His sacrifice by promising I'd give up my life to gain His. And yet I find I compromise or forget about it at times. Don't you?

I'm telling you, Francis Chan's book Crazy Love, is knocking me on my rear and causing me to reevaluate what it means to be a Christ follower. Do I really live like I am giving it all up for God- or am I playing games with it. I can fool others, even myself, but not the Creator of the universe. Here's the clear scriptural challenge before me:

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it."

Jesus is calling us to a life of personal, daily sacrifice and devotion to Him and His purposes. He demands it all from those who call on his name and expect eternal life upon his return. This isn't philosophy here- this is relationship. Christianity is not a set of rules, and "believing" in Jesus is not the answer. Believing and obeying Jesus and living for Him daily shows our devotion to him, proving we are truly his followers. It is a high price and a high calling.

We are going to be so surprised to discover that giving God a small piece of our lives didn't do the trick. We think we can give him head knowledge but live and act as if He doesn't require more of us. He wants all of us not just the parts that we want to give him. Ouch! I fall short here- and I need his grace and forgiveness to keep going.

The great apostle Paul puts it in perspective: "In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body do that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness". This means discipling ourselves in how we talk, what we do, and what we choose to think about. In other words, a radical change in our life as we now belong to Jesus and His purposes.

So, I ask those of you who claim to believe in Jesus, calling yourselves Christians- Where's the follow-through? Where's the integrity? Where's the passion? Lest you think I am harsh, these are the same questions God asks of all of us- the very ones I am asking myaself these days.

(Concept art copyright The Walt Disney Comapny.)

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