Some weeks ago I spent the evening playing poker with some friends. The mood was upbeat, and I tried my best to get the right balance between bluffing, playing and keeping my cool. As usual, after a while when the ‘blinds’ were greater than my chips, my participation ended in an ‘all in’ which I lost.
All in. For those of you who don’t know so much about poker, this means that you bet all of your chips. Either you win, and get back much more than you bet, or you lose. I’ve thought a bit about this phrase lately, not in relation to poker, but in relation to my life.
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I’m a Christian. That means that I’ve chosen to do something as crazy as believe in something I can’t see. Something I don’t have concrete evidence for the existence of. I believe that someone called God created the world, and that the meaning of life is to follow Him. I believe that the only way to true happiness is to live life in this way. Call me weak. Call me a fanatic, or naive. Anyway, this is what I've chosen. And there are consequences for how I live. There are consequences for how I think about myself, and how I think about others. It has an effect on how I use my time and my money. For the choices I make. I’ve chosen to let the words that Jesus said about how we should live be a standard – a kind of instruction manual – for my life. That’s because I believe it’s RIGHT. I’ve chosen to believe, and when I’ve chosen it, I have to live accordingly. I’ve gone ‘all in’ with my life.
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However, today’s society makes it hard to be different. Standing up for something that has consequences for how you live is seen as old-fashioned and conservative. Society says you should be FREE! You should do just what you want. Live in the present, let YOURSELF be the centre. It’s outdated to talk about submission and commitment. No one should tell you how to live, in fact you should rebel against everything that can be seen as rules! And if there’s anything that can be seen to hinder your self-expression, just throw it away!
Unfortunately, I see many young Christians being drawn into this kind of wrong thinking. Of course we’ll have fun, live life, enjoy ourselves and develop our interests, but too many people compromise their own beliefs. Slowly but surely the doubts creep in: ‘Can I really take the Bible seriously, it’s so ancient? Has Jesus any claims on how I live my life? Is how I live really all that important?’ I would answer ‘YES, YES and YES AGAIN!’
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Yes, the Bible does say something about your life. For example, it says that as a believer, you should not have sex until you have found the one person you will share this gift with, and that it must only take place within marriage. The Bible hasn’t changed, although this is an absurd thought for the rest of society. The Bible also says that a Christian mustn’t abuse alcohol, even though the Norwegian culture tells you that you’re slow, boring and stupid if you don’t drink. The Bible also says a lot of other things, which are meant to help you to live as God wants you to.
My challenge to you who call yourself a Christian, is this:
Dare to be different! If you have chosen to believe in Jesus, live with reference to this! Put all your eggs in one basket! I don’t understand the logic in choosing to believe in something if you don’t choose to live in relation to it. If your faith doesn’t have enough impact on you to make your life different, how is it credible? Be a radical person. Choose to stand up for what you’ve chosen, both in word and deed. Choose to be someone who makes an impact on society, don’t let society impact you.