Russ Ray

Trying to become more like Jesus

Owning it

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“Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea: ‘The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creation says: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’ and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked—Revelation 3:14-17 (HCSB)

So, I mentioned the other day that guys in their 30s that learned everything they every knew about pro wrestling on the internet love to cheer heels, and I guess I am no exception in that category. One of my favorites was “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. Ted has since reformed his ways from his gimmick days and goes around the country giving his testimony as part of his Heart of David Ministry.

While DiBiase was in WWE in the 1980s, he had a bodyguard named Virgil. Virgil was basically a paid slave to the Million Dollar Man. When DiBiase was wrestling, he would take shots for his boss from other wrestlers and then pay them back when the referee wasn’t looking. Outside of the ring, they shot promos of DiBiase making Virgil do humiliating jobs like giving back rubs (which I guess didn’t seem quite as creepy in 1987), cleaning horse manure off his boots after horseback riding, and washing his feet and scrubbing his toes (again, I guess not creepy by 1987 standards).

Virgil continued to work for DiBiase doing his grunt work for the next 4 years until he finally decided he had enough. When DiBiase told Virgil to put his Million Dollar Championship around his waist, Virgil decided that he wasn’t going to let his boss own him anymore, decked him with his title belt, and then walked out of the ring a free man.

I had a similar experience (though less dramatic) earlier this year. I decided I had to own my faith and take responsibility for it. I realized that I didn’t want to get to the judgment seat and get grilled about the missed opportunities and going through the motions of lukewarm Christianity. I wanted to set my standards higher as I felt God would challenge us to do.

After all, the people we read about in the Bible that are revered had higher standards, while the lukewarm people were mocked and chastised. I realized that if our leaders and our church weren’t challenging us to have a higher standard, then we needed to go somewhere to be equipped with that. I didn’t want to be the type of follower that Jesus would reject for lacking passion to do what He has called me to do.

Fortunately, six months later it seems that we are attending such a church. It’s still not as comfortable as our old church, but it’s getting there. The problem is that Jesus didn’t call us to be comfortable… He called us to take up our crosses and follow Him. I think we’re still growing and still stretching our faith a little bit, but after 8 years of not really exercising it, we’ve got a lot of working out to do.

Do you feel as if you own your faith or are you just getting by and getting along? I think if you honestly ask yourself that question, you can take a great step in faith and figuring out what you need to do to own it. It doesn’t have to be as drastic as a change of scenery. Often times, all you need are some other people around you who are as sincere as you are at challenging each other to live your faith with more boldness. If you have a story or a suggestion you’d like to leave in the comments, I think that would be a great encouragement to others too.

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