“My God’s not dead. He is surely alive. He’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion.” This is the chorus from the Newsboy’s hit song that serves as the theme for the movie with the same title. While everyone is fighting the accuracy of Noah to the Genesis narrative, this movie has taken a bit of a backseat. I went tonight with a group of coworkers, and the movie stirred up a lot of thoughts for me.
To me, it all boils down to one main point. We, the church as a whole, have become the walking dead. If you think about the popular show, The Walking Dead, we’re playing the wrong part. We aren’t meant to play the “walkers” aka zombies who are dead and now just wander around aimlessly. We are called to be those who are set apart because we still have life.We don’t live our lives as if God is alive in us. Instead of roaring like a lion, I see us being content with the meow of a kitten. Where is our boldness? Here’s some things the film brought up for me even though they weren’t the main plot.[WARNING: Minor Spoilers! If you don’t want to know details, go see the movie. Then, come back and read.]
In the Film, there’s a Chinese exchange student named Martin. In the film, he mentions a woman back home in China who would meet with the Christians in secret. It was a sobering reminder about what it means to be a follower of Christ in some places around the world. Why would they need to meet in secret? Because being a Christian in their country means that you could easily lose your life. Persecution is not just in the Old & New Testaments. It happens today in 2014. When Martin decided to accept Jesus, he was well aware of the risk it would be for him to return to China. He lived there and knew what it was like for followers of Jesus. Martin decided that following Jesus was worth the risk.
The next character that really hit me was Ayisha’s story. We first see her wearing a hijab, the head covering for Muslim women. When she is out of the presence of her father, she removes it. Later in the film, she’s caught listening to a Franklin Graham sermon on her ipod. When her father discovers this, he slaps her, grabs her, and removes her from the home. Ayisha lost her family, her home, and everything she knew about her life because she chose to follow Jesus. She knew the risk it would be, and she openly chose that path because she knew Jesus is worth it. Her encounter with Jesus Christ made everything else worth losing because she had gained Him.
I believe we as the Church in America have a hard time understanding these types of sacrifice because of how vastly different our Christian lives are.Francis Chan has a chapter of the book Passion in which he talks about visiting the church in India and China. I encourage you to find it. He speaks to this issue with profound but obvious reasoning. In our country, there are a number of churches to choose from. If we don’t like the music they play, can find better child care, or want to sleep in later, we simply switch churches. What a luxury we have! We have allowed our comfort focused culture to permeate God’s house. What do we fight for in God’s name? When is the last time we put our personal comfort on the line to Honor God?
Now, don’t get me wrong. America has its own issues and battles. I just think that our issues have caused us to tame the passion and burning pursuit of Jesus. When is the last time you took a risk for your faith? I’m not asking you to make yourself a martyr. I’m asking all of us, myself included, to look at the world around us. The world around us is dying right in front of us. They’re waiting on us to decide to allow the spirit of God to roar from within us. We cannot sit idly on the sidelines while the problems of our society engulf those who don’t know Jesus. God isn’t dead, and through Him, we aren’t dead either.It’s time for the dry bones to come back to life, for Lazarus to get up. While our brothers and sisters around the world are in immediate danger, we of course, should be praying for them. We should also be taking advantage of the lack of restrictions we have in this country. They may be hindered from preaching the Gospel at times, but it is time we stepped up and used the time we are given. We need to step out of the fear the enemy has thrown at us, and step into our divine call from the living God.
We need to get back to work. For my God is not dead, and neither am I.
What would it take for us to live like God’s not dead?