Taken from Pete’s series Better: A New and Living Way.
And they are beginning to realize that the world they live in is a place where the right thing is often hard, sometimes dangerous, and frequently unpopular. — Lois Lowry, Number the Stars
There’s often a lot of planning that goes into our comfort level at churches. A team discusses acoustics, chair color, and flower arrangements. We talk lights, camera, and action. Church services can feel like productions arranged around your comfort
in the hope that you’ll encounter Jesus.
And while I’m a huge fan of the Church and love being a part of the inner circle of faith, I’m also aware that this inner-circle mentality can do as much harm as it does good.
In Exodus 33, after the golden calf debacle when Israel rebelled against God and built a golden calf to worship, Moses obediently set up the tent of meeting. It was a temporary meeting space for him to converse with God.
Question: Since the latrines, executions, and neighborhoods of the sick and diseased were outside the camp, where do you suppose God told Moses to set up this tent of meeting?
Answer: Outside the camp—among human disease, death, and defecation. Why?
Inside the camp, once considered holy, had become defiled by idols. So God told Moses, “If you want to find Me, leave the camp.”
This whole scene prefigures what Christ did on the cross. He left the camp so we might find Him. Listen, if you want to find Jesus, you’ve got to leave the camp and go to an unpopular place. The in crowd is not inside the camp; the in crowd is outside
Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. (Hebrews 13:13-14)
Why would we leave the comfort of popularity? Because we’d rather be with Jesus than without Him. Now, I’m not telling you to leave your church. I’m telling you to leave the mindset that says ritual and religion will purchase holiness.
That’s an inside-the-camp mentality, and it doesn’t work. Exit the gates, kneel in the muck, and be cleansed by Jesus.
Jesus, it’s terrifying to think about leaving the mentality that exists inside the camp. This is safe. It’s familiar. It’s clean. But if You’re out there, then I will be too. I’m Your follower, so light the way. Amen.