Friday, October 28, 2011
A Triple-Dog Dare
Here’s a triple-dog dare you.
Perhaps you’ve seen the Christmas-time classic movie, “A Christmas Story.” While there are lots of great moments in the story, one drew a particularly large crowd. Best pals Ralphie, Flick and Schwartz were walking to school one frigid and snowy morning when an old discussion resumed: Will a tongue pressed on a frozen metal pole stick or not? Schwartz said it would, and Flick said, “No way!” With a crowd drawing round the flagpole moments before school, Schwartz loudly dared Flick to “Go ahead and do it,” if he was so brave. Flick, not altogether sure of his tongue-stick position, stalled as long as he could until Schwartz called him out with the ultimate verbal motivator: “I triple-dog dare you!”
You know what happened—Flick stuck. Seconds later the school bell rang, so everyone hurried away including a triumphant and beaming Schwartz. Everyone, except Flick. But I can’t imagine a better bit of tongue-stuck education than Flick gave that day, arms waving and voice wailing. No one would forget it. In the end, foolish Flick helped them all.
I would like to triple-dog dare you into a bit of foolishness—the unforgettable, apostle Paul type of foolishness.
Many of us are frustrated amongst a church that does not recognize itself. Most would agree that the percentage of Christians who believe they have truly become new creations, holy, blameless and righteous is very low. And that’s tragic. How can one truly enjoy the perfect intimacy God has achieved for us with Himself when we’ve got a serious disagreement going on about our union? Further, how can we enjoy true fellowship within the church when we are unrecognizable to each other? The devil and this world have effectively disguised the sons and daughters of God, even to themselves. The cover-up, which cannot prevent our longing for the benefit of true fellowship, nevertheless frustrates the possibility of it. We’ve been trained to settle for the outward appearance, even though we’ve been commanded against it.
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5:16-19 Italics mine)
Surrendering to worldly identities terribly injures us all. It’s not normal. It doesn’t work for us. We are obscured and reduced to life by masquerade—of pretending we are not what we in fact are. Imagine a day in which you throw off your astounding Christian identity and masquerade as a pig in a pen because the slaughterhouse is after cattle. You’re neither one, but that’s what it’s like when a noble Christian accepts the lowly images of this world—pork or beef. It’s a never-ending game that disguises us and keeps us playing dress up. It’s demonic and it’s hurting us.
A better fit for us, a normal, Spirit-led and life producing fit, is to boast in the Lord. He has made us to be like Him in righteousness—pure—holiness—perfect—and redemption—complete (1 Cor 1:30-31). Wherever you are, you are at all times recognized in the heavens as having become magnificent. Those in the heavens see what we must know. Otherwise, we walk covered-over and crippled.
Here’s my challenge: Identify yourself to those who cannot.
If you were to say, “I am a righteous man,” in the hearing of a few friends, would you be accurate? You would. Would they be surprised? Probably. Would you be arrogant? Not at all, since you had nothing to do with what God has done to you through Christ. Your boast is accurate and we need it. It’s healthy to say it, and it’s healthy to hear it. Or how about saying, “It’s amazing that I am a perfect daughter of God,” when with some girl friends. Oh, you’ll get “looks,” for sure, but you will be drawing back the worldly disguise that keeps you and your friends in a lie. Get outta there. Or what would happen if you asked a similar group, “Which of us is the most holy?” That ought to birth some eye-opening conversation!
And don’t we need it?
It may be a little uncomfortable at times because we are not used to identifying each other as we are in Christ, but rather, as we appear in this world. A little discomfort, however, does not mean inaccuracy. To the contrary, we’ll be living in agreement with God. While that has always been daring, it’s also invigorating. You will be assisting yourself and others to the truth that makes free—and that’s unforgettable.
Begin telling people who you are. This may well cause something of a revolution amongst your friends, and they will likely ask how you got that way. Wouldn’t that be great? That’s when the Spirit has a field day—with you and with those around.
Go for it. I triple-dog dare you.
(Two things to help you: 1. Have a look at my sermon from a couple of weeks ago at Andrew Farley’s church. It’s really all about this. Go to http://web.mac.com/ralphandsarah/LifeCourseMinistries/Downloads/Downloads.html, or to http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/17920119. 2. Get a copy of my book (even for FREE if you like), “God’s Astounding Opinion of You” and read chapter 14: “Stripping Mummies—Finding Freedom and Life Outside the Tomb.” You can get it in print or in eBook format at most any bookstore, at my ministry web site (http://lifecourse.org/Ralphs_Book.html), at amazon.com, and many other online retailers.)