As you survey Christian history (or any movement in history promoting philosophical or social change) you might discover a seemingly “all-or-nothing” posture towards the christian faith. Whether the motive was God-honoring or self-honoring, people were sold out to what they believed. They did not settle to merely live in “the question” in order to be liked, respected or esteemed. Many of these men and women believed that when it came to life lived in this world, a Creator God offered a word or two about how it should lived and how others should be loved. These men and women lived life in the “declarative.” There was a period at the end of their life’s proclamation because they were rooted in deep conviction. Yes, as you read you will see some men and women whose proclamation of beliefs ranged from biblically-centered to ferociously misguided.
My heart genuinely aches to find that when it comes to living lives of conviction in history, the present, or in my own life, we have often failed to allow our interpretive key to be love. Instead we have pursued Christ’s doctrine so ambitiously that we have often lost Christ’s disposition in the process. But equally as dangerous is to overreact and settle back with little to no conviction and live life in the “question.” In other words, when it comes to having a belief, conviction or action there is a question mark at the end.
The reality of life is that there are some moments, beliefs or causes worth dying for, whether literally or figuratively speaking. In facing one of those moments I had a mentor ask: “Is this a hill you are willing to climb and a battle in which you are willing to die?” I discovered that there are some convictions that should cause us to climb up the hill in the battle-field of life and risk our reputation or job. I have had many mentors, teachers and friends who chose to climb up the hill and fight for what they believed. Some “died” because they were fired or marginalized publicly. Some died because their lives were taken from this earth. It was an all or nothing conviction. A period. No question mark.
All throughout history men and women were willing to climb these hills of battle because they lived life in the declarative. At times it gave birth to terrible movements and actions. But in many cases their convictions were guided by love and kept the christian faith moving forward as they followed their Savior and gave their lives away. They changed their world. Lives lived in the declarative bring change. Lives lived in the question will only bring, well, more questions?
May we be willing to do live life in the declarative, and may we have teachable spirits so that God in His grace can lead us up the proper hills to “die” upon. Too many hurting and spiritually disoriented hearts are at stake for anything less.