One of my favorite TV shows is The Simpsons. It is definitely my longest running favorite for sure. It's an acquired taste, for sure but I love it. It's funny and relevant and usually hits pretty close to the truth of this world. There are several central characters that have become essential (in my opinion) to the series - one of whom is the Simpsons' next door neighbor - Ned Flanders.
Ned is a square. He is a devout, even to the extreme, Christian. He is also among the most helpful characters on the show. There are many good things about Ned I could elaborate on but there is general motif of angst between Ned & Homer that runs throughout. Homer is the anti-hero but still the hero. Ned is usually a goof and while very sincere and genuine, generally not the person people want to be.
I can say I used to be one of the Simpsons. I was fully in this world, trying to make of a go of it by any means necessary. Along with that, I had friends like me. But since I decided to rededicate my life to Jesus 6 years ago, He has slowly taken me out of who I was into who He wants me to be.
That's good. That's the best. That's what I want. Most of the time.
There are times though, over the last several years where I've noticed a trend. Sure, I might be respected for my faith but because of that, it puts people off. No one has ever come right out and said that to me, to my face (it has been said behind my back), but when you are left out of the loop on some things and figure it out- it hurts. To realize I am now much closer to Flanders than I would like it just shows my flesh, my pride, my feelings still get wounded. I don't want to be uncool just because I'm a faithful Disciple.
I know real truth. I know I am no longer of this world. I know if I want to gain my life, I must lose it. I also know my faith is completely relevant to everyone in this world. But when I find out I've been excluded, it hurts.
But Jesus is asking me to make a choice. Put down this cross and go back to before He picked me up or keep carrying it. His burden is light so my spirit must persevere.
It is willing but my flesh is weak. Thank God He is stronger.
Have you ever been left out because of your faith? Have you ever faced the flesh showdown?