Outside the City

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 13:11-14

The same God who guides the stars in their courses, who directs the earth in its orbit, who feeds the burning furnace of the sun and keeps the stars perpetually burning with their fires—the same God has promised to supply thy strength.  –CS Lewis

A friend of mine recently commented on the fact that people aren’t the least bit shy asking others deeply personal questions about whether or not they breast feed their babies, or whether or not their sons are circumcised, but let the conversation turn to Jesus and you can hear a pin drop in the room.  A sense of discomfort settles over the circle, and people who were once chatty either leave the area or change the subject.  Why is that?

Is this reaction to God’s children part and parcel of us bearing the disgrace Jesus bore; our stories about him being a taboo topic for conversation?

Is it us, joining Jesus outside the camp, metaphorically sitting with Him in his suffering because the “city” has closed the gates to us?

Rejection may be a reality for the disciples of Christ, but so is joy!

Here’s the difference between us and the city dwellers: People on the fringe talk freely about Jesus. They share stories about how knowing Him has made a difference in their lives.  They challenge one another to dig deeper into God’s Word so that they might be able to speak about spiritual matters with any who venture outside of the city to join the camp of rejects.

Out on the edge of acceptability, Jesus-followers live rich lives, but the city-dwellers would never know it. To them, we are despised, disgusting, and something to be avoided.

Today, let’s thank God that we are people of the outer camp.  Corrie Ten Boom in her book, The Hiding Place, talked about how an infestation of flees in the Nazi war camps kept the guards far away from those who ministered to the persecuted and those marked for death.  Corrie praised God that she lived with flees outside the “city limits,” for she knew that being despised by the masses meant she could serve Christ, unhampered by the guards.

Today, we can be grateful for being outside the city, too.  All that really matters to us is that we are where our King Jesus is, amen?!

Do you regularly discuss your faith and Jesus with unbelievers?  What is the hardest part of witnessing for you?


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