“No, I’m still in Kansas City,” I told my new friend in a text message. “Don’t worry, I’m not coming to California to surprise you.”
“Worry??” she replied. “I wasn’t worried! I was excited!”
I was encouraged by her welcoming response, but later, as I pondered this brief exchange, I realized that perhaps ‘worry’ was just the right word:
I am the guy who just caused his brother and friend to pay a $150 fine for trespassing in a cave.
I am the one who inadvertently wrestled a ‘holy cow’ in India and received a scolding by an old woman who came out of her home and shooed me away.
When friends are with me, they don’t sleep. We get kicked out of places.
They dice their shins open with me wading into 34 degree water, blanketed with sheets of sharp ice.
After I got a tattoo on my lip late one night, we were held up at gunpoint by a madman on the beach in Rio de Janiero.
I’m the guy who accidentally slapped an IHOP waitress in the face.
I’m the one who takes freshmen bridge- and cliff jumping.
People were embarrassed to be with me when I showed up at a club wearing short shorts, a wolf T-shirt, and Crocs.
And there was the time I was stargazing with a girlfriend on the roof of a restaurant, when the cops showed up and we escaped by running into the adjacent neighborhood.
Or the time I was with a different friend on the roof of an abandoned school building, and the cops surrounded us and told us we had committed a felony.
Or when I led my friend out of the hotel, and around town in Nigeria, which we found out later was very dangerous, and we could have literally been killed.
I was kicked out of living in someone’s house because I accidentally pooped all over his carpet.
And recently, after a mounting episode of dares and late-night excitement, I ended up with my friend’s face tattooed on my [ahem] body.
So, yes. She should be worried if I ever conjure up a plan for a visit to the West Coast.
As I meditated more and more on this reckless picture I painted of myself, I couldn’t help but wonder if it isn’t quite a bad thing. Maybe when Jesus sent out his disciples to do “crazy” things, like raise people from the dead and evict the demons from their bodies, He did not intend for them to be quite normal.
One of my favorite Bible verses, Matthew 11:12, says that “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” In other words, good luck advancing God’s kingdom sitting on the couch with the remote in your hand. Get out. Do stuff.
In an amazing message I heard this past week at the OneThing conference, Allen Hood told a story of his younger, rebellious years. He was out drinking with some buddies when they were approached by a tarot card reader. This man was doing his act when a woman walked up, stuck a finger in the man’s chest, and told him “You’re a liar! You serve the father of lies!” and the tarot reader left them.
Then she turned to Hood and his friends and commanded them to sit down. She exclaimed again, “What are you doing here? You know better than this!” Then she opened up the Bible and preached to them from the book of Revelation. “Time is short! You were not made for this; you were made for glory!”
They later found out that she had been a prostitute before Jesus met her and turned her life around. She was traveling around the country telling everyone she could about the amazing grace of Jesus Christ, and the cleansing power of His blood. She was no longer ‘Michelle the Prostitute,’ but ‘Michelle the Beautiful and Glorious Wife.’
After she was finished with the boys, she stormed off after the tarot reader who had disappeared into the night. In his message, Hood mutters to the tarot reader, “Ohhh, my. She’s gonna tear you apart. Just get saved now. Just go down now. You’re gonna go down; it’s whether you want to go down now, or limping later.”
Michelle was someone who made the devil worried.
Brothers and sisters, can we be the type of fiery believers that make satan worried? I’m not talking about doing stupid things like my list above, in the name of Jesus. (My friend Drew points out that being radical for Christ is not equivalent to being annoying for Christ.) Make the devil worried with holiness. Make him worried with love and compassion. Make him worried by praying for strangers and proclaiming truth everywhere you go. Memorize scripture. Dwell in the Presence of the Most High God.
I have a friend named Brad, and I am 100% positive that when he walks down the snowy streets of Chicago, demons get nervous. He can’t quite seem to shut his mouth to keep the gospel from flooding out of it to strangers on the street. He loves them enough to tell them the good news about the glorious grace of God and the healing blood of Jesus. Every day. When Brad talks to people, demons shrink back.
Let’s make people worried.
Let’s make the devil worried.