Tag Archives: Weird

Principles are weird…are you weird?

jetskiSometimes it’s hard to do the right thing, even if we have resolved to live our lives on principle. We will always be tempted to fall back into a habit of self-preservation and the seeking of our own self-interests. However, there’s another factor that will make it difficult to live consistently on principle.

Living on principle is weird.

It is unusual to find someone committed to living on principle. When you do, they stand out. They spend a huge amount of time doing things apart from their own self-interest; they don’t simply volunteer one or two Sundays a month at church, they are consistently and regularly volunteering hours whenever and wherever there is a need, while also being active in other community activities and outreaches. They don’t look at their time as something they sparingly donate, they are focused on making a significant impact on the world around them.

Looking around, you will see lots of people spending their money on lavish vacations, recreational activities, bigger and better vehicles, and other things that make life a little more comfortable. Often times, people who live on principle seem short on cash. They live below their means because their spending is tied to their principles. This doesn’t mean they don’t go on vacation, upgrade vehicles, or have other comforts, but they could have much more than they do if they didn’t spend so much money supporting their church and other worthwhile missions and causes. It isn’t an issue of tithing 10%; that is simply a minimum. Jesus highlights that we are called to more than the minimum; we are called to live generously.

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Luke 21:1-4, ESV

Living on principle means putting those valued ideals of yourself and your own comforts. For some, that may mean donations yearly in the tens of thousands of dollars. For others, that may “simply” mean hundreds or thousands of dollars. It means we are willing to sacrifice some things that would be really nice for something bigger than us.

I remember when my youth pastor, Tim Hunter, challenged us to give 10% of whatever we money received as junior high and high school students. He said, “Right now, you are sacrificing a meal out or a case of soda, but if you can’t do that now how will you be able to sacrifice a jet ski or a new car when you tithe as an adult?” Living on principle means the mission is more important than the money.

As a ministry director for a new nonprofit, it’s fair to say that funds are not plentiful in my household. However, we were what I would call “comfortable” in our finances when I was a youth pastor and my wife worked for a law firm. We owned a modest home, had decent vehicles, and I even eventually saved enough money to buy my Harley Davidson motorcycle. However, that purchase came after a year of saving extra money after our tithe, our other bills, and additional giving to groups and missions like our support for a missionary friend in southeast Asia and our giving to a Christian summer camp that we are passionate about. Anything we purchase beyond essentials (true essentials, like food and clothing, NOT “essentials” like cable TV and gym memberships) was weighed against doing what we could do to support the advancement of the gospel in and through the various groups we worked with.

If by some fluke a “normal” person notices that you are living on principle and not for our personal interests, it will grab their attention. While they will talk about going to the cabin every weekend and the new snowmobile they bought to replace the “old one” that they bought last year, you talk about volunteering at the food distribution over the weekend or at the local youth drop in center. In addition, even though they know you make enough money to afford new things, they will notice that you don’t buy new toys every year. They may eventually work up the gumption to ask, “What’s different about you?” And when you give them the answer, their response will be simple.

You’re weird.

And they’re right.

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“Weird” – Craig Groeschel

Normal infects our faith as well, both what we believe and how we live it out. When we consider how people relate to God, it’s normal to either reject God altogether or believe in him while living as if he doesn’t exist. In churches, normal is lukewarm Christianity, self-centered spiritual consumerism, and shallow, me-driven faith. God has become a means to an end, a tool in our toolbox to accomplish what we want. The majority of people claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.

And all this is normal.

But normal isn’t working.

As I have discussed contemporary challenges for the church with various people, a lot of current struggles come up: homosexuality, the decline of sexual values, a reduced view of the Bible as God’s word, the exodus of young people from churches, a lack of spiritual depth, etc. The list of things churches and Christians are struggling with really could go on and on. However, there is one issue that I believe is the primary struggle that accounts for most of these second-level issues. That issue is laziness.

You could also call it apathy or as Groeschel terms it, being normal. It is this rampant tendency to follow the crowd and avoid challenging anyone (most of all yourself), and to fall in line with what is comfortable and familiar. The tough reality is that we are called to something radically different, something weird. We are not told to conform, but to follow a unique path laid out by God.

Groeschel points out the struggles that go with being “normal”; stress, anxiety, depression, shame, a feeling of being lost or alone. Our world is struggling because of “normal” and, as Christians, we have been given a cure for those struggles, but it comes with a dramatically different lifestyle. In the book, Groeschel talks about how our time, our finances, our relationships, our view of sex, and our personal values should reflect God’s kind of weird, and how as Christians we should stand out from the world.

This book is a great challenge to Christians who have gotten lazy. We all tend to fall into patterns, and we often do things to avoid rocking the boat. However, being a Christian should be hard. If being a Christian for you is easy, then you are doing something wrong. When we are living as Christ has called us to live, then we are very different from the world around us. In their eyes, we’re weird. But that is what God has called us to and what we must do in order to follow Him.

If you have just enough of Christ to satisfy you but not enough to change you, answer his knock and let him make himself at home with you.

You’ve purposefully chosen to leave the broad path. You’re gladly traveling the narrow road. Your journey may seem weird to others, but your destination will be infinitely better than anything a settle-for-normal world can offer.

Because you can’t settle for normal any longer. You can’t be normal, because you are getting to know the loving, grace-filled, all-powerful God of the universe. And as you come to know him, you’re becoming like him. The more you are like him, the more different you will be.

Weird.

“Weird” by Craig Groeschel

ISBN# 0310327903

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