Have you ever seen a sporting event on television where the stadiums are full of a team’s home colors? Around Wichita, it’s black and gold, with a hefty helping of blue and red or Wildcat purple. But there have been times when I’ve seen a sporting event where the stands are full of one color of shirts and hats—except for one or two people, who are wearing the opposing team’s colors.
I’ve always thought those people were very brave. Wearing the enemy’s colors, right? Wouldn’t it be easier to wear the same color as everybody else? Wouldn’t it be wiser not to set yourself apart as different from the rest? Why would you draw attention to yourself like that?
How many times do we use that logic when we’re talking about following Jesus?
And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.”
It’s so much easier to blend in, to put our heads down, to not stick out. The more you stick out, the more attention you draw. And, let’s just be honest, sometimes attention isn’t fun.
And maybe it’s okay at a sporting event. I’m sure it’s okay in other circumstances to claim allegiance to a team or a cause even if you don’t really support it in your heart. It’s not an earth-shaking trauma if you aren’t a Broncos fan but you wear a Broncos fan jersey to a game. But if you take that same approach with following Jesus, you’re going to have trouble in your life.
With Jesus, it’s all or nothing. Sure, you can get your “hell insurance,” but if that’s all you want out of a relationship with Him, you aren’t going to be very easily satisfied with your life.
I don’t understand the Christians who say they believe in Jesus but consistently go against what the Bible says is right. If you don’t believe the Bible, if you don’t support the teachings of Jesus, if you don’t want to live like a Christian, why do you call yourself a Christian?
I have atheist friends, and I am proud to know them because they are honest about themselves and their lives. I also have encountered Christians who say they have trusted Jesus for their salvation (and I don’t doubt it) but who refuse to live their life by Jesus’ example. And I don’t understand.
They are the same people the prophet Isaiah is talking about in this verse. They honor God with what they say, but their hearts are facing the opposite direction.
Now, are we supposed to run around offending everyone we come into contact with? No! Absolutely not. Jesus wasn’t offensive. Yes, He said things that offended people, but He wasn’t offensive as a person. As a person, He was beloved. Even people who didn’t agree with Him still wanted to talk to Him.
So if you were at a game where God and the World were competing against each other, whose colors would you be wearing? Would you be bold enough to don God’s colors and cheer? Would you be courageous enough to wear God’s colors even if you were sitting amidst a section of only the World’s supporters?
Think about it. Because that’s what we’re called to do.