Peculiar (adj.) – Strange or odd. Unusual.

It’s the morning after.

I’ve had a few of those in my unsavory, wasteful, selfish days B.C. – before Christ. And those evenings that I had before I gave my life to God are a topic for another day. But what I’m talking about here is that this is the morning after… Easter Sunday.

There are millions of people who came to church, heard the Gospel message, realized that they were living selfishly, and made a commitment to accept the sacrifice Jesus paid at the Cross. They accepted the fact that Jesus is raised from the dead and because of this, they now have eternal life– everlasting life for the world to come and eternal living in the here and now.

But this is Day #1 of this new way of life. They will be looking for examples of what a Christ-follower looks like. They will be looking at you and me. Do I look like the rest of the world or is there something peculiar about me? That’s the question I’m asking myself this morning: Am I different? Do the people around me at home, at work, in traffic, and yes, even in Wal-Mart, see something different? Am I attractively peculiar?

In our men’s group last week, we talked about this and Pastor Brandon repeated something I had read somewhere. He said, “Christians are known more for what they’re against than what they’re for.” They’re known more by the things they won’t do than by the behaviors, attitudes, and words which actually characterize Christ and His early followers.

The behavior, attitudes, and words that a hurting world wants to see in the followers of Jesus is the same behavior, attitude, and words that they heard all about yesterday: a life filled with selfless love and service for others. That’s the kind of life they heard about yesterday. That’s the life of Jesus Christ while He walked this earth in flesh. And that kind of life is very different from the kind of life they see every day in the workplace, on the streets, in stores, and in traffic. That kind of life is peculiar.

It’s the morning after. I want to be peculiar today.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:12-13)

Is there life BEFORE death?

“God, how can I make you more known?”

That’s a question I’ve been dwelling on for several days. Since March 13th, in fact. I wrote it down in my journal on that day.

Some people have told me privately that my writings each morning have helped them. That’s certainly one way I can answer the question at the top of the page. But in what other ways can I answer that question? And there are a couple of questions that accompany the main one.

Like, “Why is it that the first question I ask myself each day ISN’T that question? Why don’t I think of ways to make you more known? Why isn’t that my goal? I seem to want to make MYSELF more well-known. Why is that?”

Okay, that’s more than a couple of questions.

But as I write each day, that is a question I feel compelled to ask. Because if I write and post it somewhere, I must have the motivation of making God more known. If that’s not my motivation, then it is self-indulgent dribble. It serves no one but me. If it doesn’t make someone know God just a little bit better or a little bit more or is not redemptive, as God is redemptive, then it should be tossed into the garbage.

In fact, I need to be asking the question at the top of the page each day as I wake up and start my day. If my actions, motives, words, and behaviors don’t attempt to make God more known, and then each day has been no more than self-indulgent dribble… a waste of energy… a waste of… life.

I know that sounds harsh, and you may say, “God wants us to enjoy our life, too. What’s wrong with living life to the fullest?” My reply would be, “Who says that can’t be done by making God more known in the process? In fact, I would say that enjoying life and living life to the fullest comes from making God more known.”

In fact, I believe that Jesus words about “abundant life” in John 10:10 were all about living for God and others. I believe that the abundant, fulfilling life in which Jesus shows us is a life which channels God’s living water into the lives of everyone around them. This can happen in so many ways, whether it’s sitting by the bedside of a sick friend, feeding the hungry, adopting a child, a smile and a hug to someone who needs it, or typing words on a page. It can be loving your spouse as God intends it, or raising a godly family, or working with integrity on your job.

When Jesus said these words…

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

… He wasn’t just talking about life after death. Shane Claiborne writes about this when he says, “Few people are interested in a religion that has nothing to say to the world and offers them only life after death, when what people are really wondering is whether there is life before death.”

Making God’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, justice, hope, healing, friendship, wholeness, acceptance, victory, freedom more known brings life… true life.

So my day begins with the question: God, how can I make you more known?