Turn the World Upside Down for Christ

upsidedownworld

The first summer I ever went to GA camp our theme was Turning My World Upside Down! I hadn’t ever heard of that before — maybe you haven’t either. The idea comes from Acts 17:6: “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also” (ESV). Some of Jesus’ followers were being accused of upsetting the normal way things were done, or turning the world upside down through their radical surrender to and witness for Christ.

Once in a Sunday School class, our teacher asked us what we could do to reach our community, to give our community hope, and to show God’s love with the people of our community. I couldn’t help but think that we have to do the same thing those men did in Acts. We have to turn our world completely upside down. Do you know why? Because somewhere along the way, someone flipped it back over.

These early Christians were working hard for Jesus. Many of them had actually seen Him, touched Him, and heard His voice, and they were really, truly changing the world. Things were different. People were responding. But somewhere between that time and now, we have lost our touch. We aren’t making the difference we could be making. I think we have gotten too comfortable with our lives. And maybe, just maybe, we’ve gotten too comfortable with Jesus.

For many of us, Jesus has become someone we talk about, admire, even talk to sometimes, but we don’t experience the completion of a relationship with Him because it’s not so easy. When was the last time you actually gave something up for God? Not just for the sake of giving something up but for His sake? To honor Him?

In 2004 Karen Watson, an International Mission Board missionary, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Iraq. Before Karen went to the Middle East, she wrote a letter that was meant to be opened only upon her death.

Karen’s letter read in part, “When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the Nations. I wasn’t called to a place. I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory was my reward, His glory is my reward.”

I don’t know about you, but when I read this my heart is moved with a ton of emotions. I’m not just sad about the loss of this precious life; I feel challenged. Would I be able to have this perspective? Would I actually be able to say, “to suffer was expected” about my life? I don’t expect to suffer. I hate suffering, and it almost always catches me off guard. But it shouldn’t, should it? Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV).

We are all missionaries. We may not live in Nepal hiking through the mountains to find a lost people group, but we are all called to tell. We are all called to care about others even when it hurts. To risk our lives, reputations, relationships, and desires so that God can be glorified. To dream with God in mind. To expect the unexpected because we know He will do more than we could ever imagine!

Karen also said, “I was called not to comfort or to success but to obedience.” Karen isn’t the only one who hasn’t been called to “comfort or to success.” We are all called to serve, and no matter what, we will have to sacrifice. Sacrifices will have to be made, but Jesus tells us that it will be worth it. What we do now may be difficult but this can be the generation that turns our world upside down again.

Be in prayer about what you might need to give up for the sake of God’s glory. Spend some time now brainstorming and talking to God about what that might be for you personally. Is there anything you feel Him asking you to give up for Him?

 

Allison Turner is a former National Acteens Panelist. She and her husband, Travis, live in Blytheville, Arkansas.

This article first appeared in March/April 2015 The Mag.

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