Day 134: Counter-Culture (2 Kings 9-11, John 5:1-24)

As I read through 2 Kings and John, I am struck by one theme: counter-culture. As citizens of Heaven (Philippians 3:20), we are called to live a life that is set apart. What does this look like? A few words come to mind from the examples in these verses: obedient, submissive, bold, merciful, selfless, and caring.

Jehu’s actions were marked by strict obedience and submission to God’s will. He wasn’t perfect (we see that toward the end of chapter 10) but he did this right. When God told him to act on the prophecy, Jehu did. There was a great amount of risk involved, but he obeyed without hesitation. Jehu acted out of great boldness in destroying all of the worshippers of Baal and the temples of Baal. The culture said to worship Baal; Jehu followed the Eternal One. Jehu’s actions were counter-cultural. He submitted to God’s will, trusted that God would be faithful to His promises, and acted in radical boldness.

We see another side to counter-cultural action in John 5. Jesus acts in radical faith, yet He also acts with great mercy and selflessness. Jesus purposefully stepped into a place where He would encounter those who had been marginalized by society—the sick, hurt, and disabled. First, he stepped into the fringes of society, and then second, Jesus went against the Jewish leaders’ teaching of the time by performing a miracle on the Sabbath. He recognized that it is far more important to love and to serve than to follow a set of rules.

A lot of times I think it is easier in our culture, even our Christian culture, to stay safe and follow the rules. We try not to offend anyone. We talk about job security and financial stability. We follow the “rules” that dictate how we should spend our time and what Christian events we should go to. We are willing to work inside the church, but would rather not put ourselves in a vulnerable position outside of it. I’m not saying any of those things are wrong, yet I am advocating for digging deeper into our faith. If Jesus commands us to be counter-cultural, that means following Him—even when it is risky, vulnerable or uncomfortable.

Can you think of a time that you heard Jesus’s voice telling you to do something, and you walked away because of fear/discomfort?

In the future, what can you do to step into radical faith and counter cultural expectations?

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