All In! (Lent 2-2013)

“I’m all in!”  Can you say that about anything in your life?  What might you say commands your total devotion?  What occupies your thoughts? 

For Paul, he was devoted to the Gospel. His writings have a combination of urgency and passion that says he’s all in! Today’s passage, Romans 1:8-15, is no different.  Paul had focus.  He had drive.  He was zealous.  He cared deeply.

I find that I have so many daily distractions that I could literally entertain my life away without having any sense of productivity or lasting legacy.  Distractions all shout, “Hey, look at me! Pay attention to me!  Life’s short; eat dessert first!  Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

Truly, my life is better with a sense of priority where I can focus, be motivated, care deeply, and yes, even be zealous about a few things.

Zeal has received a bad rap.  No one really wants to be called a zealot, especially a religious zealot.  The most popular definition in the Urban Dictionary defines a religious zealot this way: 

Usually called fundamentalists, these people tend to be the idiots that piss off atheists and lead them to be jerks in definitions like god and bible.  these people are oblivious to the obvious, and were ostracized from europe and russia, and sent to what is nowdays called the united states [sic].

Yup. Sounds like me.  Except for that deportation thing.  And that oblivious thing.  Arguably, I can be a jerk, annoy people, and hold on to Christian fundamentals.  But that’s only because I’m all in!

Jesus says, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26, NIV)

Yikes.  Makes us rethink that whole religious zealot idea, doesn’t it?  No fence straddling.  No dip a toe in the water.  No hokey-pokey dancing in and out of Christianity.  No half-hearted, faint, watered down, thin, or wimpy Gospel for me!  Like Paul, let’s say “I’m all in!”

PS. Speaking of wholeheartedness, Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Give it up for Lent: Hokey-Pokey Fence Straddling Religion

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For further study, read Romans 1:8-15 and identify the ways in which Paul was wholehearted, All In!

Questions to think about:

  1. Why is no one afraid to be “All In” when it comes to a sports team or an athletic endeavor?  Are tennis or golf lovers considered zealots?
  2. Why might someone be concerned about being perceived as a religious zealot?
  3. Why are we hesitant to share the Gospel with people we know like family or friends; or with people we’ve never met?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on February 14, 2013

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