Hello again. Last night at the Living Room Gabe shared with us some reflections of his from his favourite movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Today I want to share with you some of my reflections to further some of that discussion. This will be done in two parts.
Gabe focused on the character of Finn – a First Order Storm Trooper who had an awakening and decided that he can no longer be a part of a group that lives by inflicting fear on the innocent and killing, taking, and destroying anything and everything they need to in order to get what they want. He breaks out a prisoner and joins the Rebellion because he knows it’s the right thing to do. He leaves a relatively easy life working for the the ones in power, to living a much harder and more dangerous life with the rebels. It would have been easy for him to stay with the First Order and blend in, and even surrender to their way of life, but he was convicted (I say by the Force, which can be interpreted to be the Holy Spirit) to resist and leave, even though it would not be easy.
Sometimes…a lot of times doing what is right isn’t easy. And that’s true for non-Christians and Christians alike. But for us, as believers, following Christ is certain to be difficult at times, if not all the time. We’re constantly having to keep ourselves in check by reflecting on what’s important and re-prioritising our lives. It’s all too easy for us to put material things and other interests and temptations ahead of God. It’s a fundamental aspect of the Christian faith to do what Finn did; to question the majority or societal norms, to question human power and influence, and seek to do what is right. Christ says if we are to follow him we must deny ourselves (Matt 16:24, Luke 9:23), even daily! That means to deny the things that consume us instead of Christ. For me that’s often tv, youtube, sports, and games. At the moment those things are what take up more of my time that I give to Jesus most days, and it’s something I’m addressing. Maybe you’re like me and these things, or other things similar to these, are jumping out at you. It won’t be easy to change them, but that’s what living for Christ means sometimes.
Sure, our passions and our interests are part of what makes us who we are, and how God made us, so it’s not really all that bad. BUT it’s when those things become the centre of our lives that we need to reevaluate them.
That said, I pray and trust that the Spirit will do a good work in you. As you pray and discern what daily changes (some may be little, some may be big) need to be made to build a stronger relationship with God, know that you are not the only one. I am doing it too, as I’m sure many (if not all) in our church is working on as well.
If you’re in a group, perhaps spend some time discussing some of the things in your life that you need to work on ‘denying,’ if you’re comfortable to do so. And spend some time praying for each other for the strength and awareness to do so.
The other thing that came to mind during and after last night’s service are some Biblical examples of those who chose to do what was right over what was easy (and a couple people who did the opposite).
Moses: Moses fled Egypt. He met a girl, married and lived with her family as a shepherd. He was happy. Life was easy. Then God appeared to him in the burning bush and asked him to do something very difficult: go back to Egypt and demand that Pharaoh let the Hebrews go from slavery (Exodus 2:11-4:17). Moses tried to get out of it. He wanted to get out of it. But after speaking with the Great I AM, he knew he had to, because it was just and right.
Rahab: Rahab lived in Jericho. When the Israelites were making it to the promised land they had to first invade and conquer the great city of Jericho, so Joshua sent out spies to sneak into the city. They found Rahab and she invited them into her home. The king knew these ‘visitors’ had gone to Rahab so he sent men to her house to retrieve them because he knew they were Israelite spies. He meant to have them killed or at least captured. But when his men showed at Rahab’s house she hid the Israelites and lied to the King’s men, saying they had come here, but left before the gates were closed at dusk. Believing her, they left the city walls in search of the Israelites. She had saved their lives and asked in return that her life be spared too when they came to conquer Jericho (Joshua 2). The easy thing was for Rahab to hand over the men to the King and gain favour with him. In doing so she would have spared the lives of many in her city, and the city itself. But she knew that they were doing this for God and she had heart what the God of the Israelites can do and she knew it was right to help them.
Joseph (NT): Joseph, Mary’s husband, had a MASSIVE bombshell dropped in his lap when he found out that his soon to be wife, whom he had never slept with, was pregnant. Not only would it have been the easy thing to do to leave her, but it was customarily the RIGHT thing to do, and the ONLY thing to do. To stay with her would bring upon his family name (which was King David’s family name, mind you) disgrace. And even after being visited by an angel and told what really happened, he could have left her and he would have been respected for doing so. But he knew what was right and he married her anyway, and helped raise the Son of God, Jesus (Matt 1:18-25). Joseph doesn’t get talked about very much in the scheme of things, but I reckon this is a great example that doing what is right isn’t always easy.
Paul: Paul is the church’s most famous missionary. He traveled across most of the known world at the time spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, bringing in all sorts of pagans and Gentiles into the family of God. And on many occasions he went in to hostile territories knowing that he’s be arrested and/or beaten. He would have been scared for his life had he not fully trusted in God’s promise to him that he’d one day make it to Rome and share the Gospel to the most influential people in the world (Acts 23:11). Many times Paul faced death. He endured pain and embarrassment. But he avoided an easy life and embraced these hardships because he knew it was what God had asked him to do; he knew it was right.
Jonah: Jonah is an OT example of someone who did what was easy (or at least what he thought was easy) instead of what was right. Jonah is tasked by God to go to Ninevah, a city rife with wickedness and sin, and proclaim to them that God will destroy them if they do not stop living in sin and turn to him. Jonah hates the Ninevites. He wants nothing to do with them and he’d rather have God destroy them than help save them (Jonah is kind of a crappy servant, lol) so he refuses God’s order and tries to trick God by getting on a boat and fleeing to another city instead. That doesn’t go well for him and, long story short, he ends up in the belly of a whale (or giant fish) and spit out on the shores of Ninevah (Jonah 1-4). Jonah tried to avoid the right thing because it would have been hard for him to simply care enough about the people of Ninevah to try and save them. Even in the end, they are saved and Jonah is angry (again, he’s not that great of a servant, lol). It’s still too hard for him to accept these people as people he should care about, even though it’s TOTALLY the right thing.
and finally, Peter: Peter is also an example of someone who did the easy thing instead of the right thing (though this could be debated, and I’d love for you to do so). When Jesus was arrested Peter followed the jailers to see where they were taking him. In the courtyard area, some people found Peter and recognised him as one of Jesus’ disciples. When they asked him about it Peter did the easy thing and lied, denying that he knew Jesus at all. He did this three times, because he was scared of what might happen to him if they knew the truth. This story, now that I’m thinking about it more, is such an interesting one. I mean, what would have been the right thing to do? Sure, denying it was the easy and safe thing, but what was the right thing? Telling the truth would have just got himself through in jail and possibly executed as well. And without Peter, who knows what would have happened later on (that’s the potential debate I was talking about). Perhaps the right thing was not following them in the first place. I don’t know. What do you think?
And what are some other stories in the Bible that you can think of where the right thing was done over the easy thing, or visa versa?
What are some extra-Biblical stories of people, either yourself or someone else, who chose to the right thing even though it wasn’t easy? Were these people of faith, and if so, how do you think their faith helped them?
Thanks for reading. Please leave a response and begin a conversation.