Believe and Obey

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Anywhere But In Between

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The Idea Comes From the Bible

There is a long history of references in popular culture to the idea of not  being “in between”.  The idea is to take a stand, to dig in, to let the world know what you think is important.  The immediate such reference that comes to mind is from Bruce Springsteen’s 1978 release Badlands, with its strong lyrics: “But there’s one thing I know for sure, girl I don’t give a damn For the same old played out scenes Baby, I don’t give a damn For just the in-betweens”.  This may sound like youthful bravado, but there is a Scriptural basis for this idea.

Revelation 3:15-18 speaks clearly about the dangers of being lukewarm, neither hot nor cold.  You are likely to get spit out, and discarded.  God apparently does not call us to be wishy washy.  The more modern version of this is when someone points out that being “middle of the road” will get one run over.  How then are we to apply this to our response to God’s gifts of Grace upon Grace?

Take A Stand For God

First, I would suggest that we are to clearly take a stand for God.  As Jesus says we cannot hide our light under a bushel basket-no one will see it. In some perceptible way we are to witness to our faith in Jesus as Risen Lord, and in our hope for an eternal relationship with our Father in Heaven.  This does not mean cornering some poor soul in an elevator and haranguing them for the entire ride.  It does mean being open, not hiding where you are going when you are on your way to church (you have to go to worship service to make this work), or shying away from answering a question or two about your faith.

Most people when asked about their faith tend to give others the impression that it has something to do with their shoes, because they immediately thrust their hands in their pockets and look down.  Don’t be that person!  Just tell them what you feel and what you think about your faith and the faith community to which you belong.  This is also a good time to invite them to experience it for themselves, as you point out that this is the best way to answer their questions.  None of this need be obnoxious, we can and in fact must be civil and gracious about all of this.

Taking a stand for God also means getting involved in at least one thing other than going to worship.  It does not have to be some massive project, or major time commitment.  It can be a simple thing.  Be a worship assistant, join a study group, help out at a food pantry, or spend a Saturday at a Habitat for Humanity build.  Or just offer to help clean up after a ministry event.  You do this so that you give back something in response to God giving you everything, but you can also do this to make a visible statement to the larger world.  Remember, God never calls His people to silence. Much of our response to God is to share His Good News, we cannot do that by being lukewarm, so don’t be in between-take a bold stand.

Take A Stand in the Here and Now

Taking a stand, and avoiding the “in betweens” is also about the here and the now, not simply witnessing to God’s saving Grace.  It means getting involved in the matters of society, and “earthly things”.  This does not mean placing these things over God, it is simply another way of responding to God’s gifts.

This also need not, and in fact, must not involve rancor.  One can be politically engaged and active without demeaning others.  Politics is one of the ways that people interact with one another, and God has everything to say about that.  Yet, as I have pointed out before, we are to distinguish between the things that are essential and the merely important.  Proclaiming Christ as Risen Lord is essential, politics is just important.  Yet we should engage in those things that are important.  But keeping this distinction in mind keeps us gracious, and of goodwill in interacting with others.  Yet, at the same time it allows us to take a stand for what we believe in.  This keeps us out of the middle of the road, and away from the in between.  It allows us to avoid being lukewarm, and possibly spit out.

Why Any of This Matters

All of this matters because it serves as a reminder that God wants us “out there”.  He wants us witnessing to His love, grace, and merciful redemption.  He wants us to tell the world about what He has done through His Son Jesus the Christ.  The bolder, more forthright, passionate, yet civil we are, the more effective will be our witness.  The more we take a stand for God in Heaven and also His work here and now on earth the more people will take notice.  The more that take notice the more that will join us.  It is simply a vocal and visible way of believing, then obeying.

Praise Be to God

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