rebelling against low expectations

One Thing Atheists and Non-Believers Have Right


I’m disheartened and, I dare say, maybe even a little frightened by this big world.

I’m disheartened and, I dare say, maybe even a little frightened by the fact that a great portion of humanity is so anti-God.

Evil likes to masquerade in a robe tinted with just enough light to cause questions of whether the darkness is really there.

Lately, it seems like those robed in darkness can be awfully good at spreading light and living life as they seemingly live in a way devoted to… to living, for lack of a less elegant way to put it. Living with a confidence in the way they are living because life is life and life is meant to be lived.

A confidence. An assurance. A rich candor.

Lately, I’ve wondered why we Christians, in my experience, don’t more often live in a more similar way since we actually have something (or more like Someone) to put our hope in.

We actually have real confidence, a real assurance, and all the reason to live in a rich candor drowning in brotherly love.

Further, we live in a broken world which needs us to be all that we can for the sake of all who exist.

Lately, I have marveled over us, us so seemingly stuck within ourselves: focused on how bad we are and what a mess we are and how we just need to figure out our problems so that we can go and do good and how we are so insecure and how we are so unloved.

Then, we hear how we are so loved and how we can be so secure and how our mess is okay. All this is meant to “feed us” but, when it is overused, it can become “fluff” to us, fluff which feels good going down but offers little propulsive fuel to drive us beyond our personal issues.

The concept of living for the sake of the world is not foreign to Christianity:

“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16

Jesus lost himself for the sake of the world.

Why don’t we, then, turn from our own self-centered focus on issues to our broken world hoarsely crying out for healing?

Maybe it’s not so much that we need to figure ourselves out but that we need to let ourselves go — let ourselves go, once and for all, surrendered into the arms of a Savior.

Maybe we need to accept that we are flawed. We’re imperfect. We’re sometimes left without the answers and neat, clean fixes. Maybe we need to accept that acceptance of those things is okay, for, are we not to count all else as loss, anyway?

“More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ.” — Philippians 3:8

It’s all counted loss in view of what?

“The surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

When we are seeking to know Christ, what else should we, then, do? Paul tells of the ministry we’re propelled to in 1 Corinthians:

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” — 1 Corinthians 5:18-20a

Maybe, what we really need to do is get our eyes off ourselves and actually realize with our hearts and not just our heads that this is true: all else but knowing Him and making Him known as His ambassadors is loss.

Yeah, we’re hypocritical.

Yeah, we complain a good deal more than we should.

Yeah, we judge when we have no right to and wear our masks to cover our perceived imperfections.

Frankly, the world keeps spinning.

It doesn’t make much sense to be incessantly spending an undue amount of time berating ourselves.

The world is spinning right. now. You and your fleeting days are contained within its atmosphere.

The world is aching to be healed through the touch of imperfect hands.

For the sake of the world and the sake of the One Kingdom that will outlast it, know Him and make Him known with all you’ve got, for all else… is loss.

If you do not do so, it’s yourself and the world that will suffer for it.

Please, forget yourself by losing yourself in His arms.

Please, for Christ’s sake, loose yourself on the world.

Devote yourself to living… Living with confidence, assurance, and rich candor as Christ’s ambassador.

Because life is life and life is meant to be lived.

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Photo courtesy of MartinaK and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Deborah Spooner

- a college student and pastor’s kid - is a city loving and avocado eating cultural enthusiast, creative, and dreamer who is addicted to dipping words in candor as she writes for her blog Hope Shining. Her hope is anchored to a man who came to earth around 2,000 years ago – Jesus of Nazareth – and she just wants to know Him and make Him known.


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  • Philippians 3:8 is one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible. It speak so powerfully of the incredible worth of Jesus Christ in comparison to all others. How thoughtless we are to focus on “rubbish” when the prize worth dying for is offering Himself to us. Thanks for this post!

  • “For one look at the self, we ought to taken ten looks at Christ.”- Robert Murray McCheyne. It can be all too easy in this world to be preoccupied with the promotion of self and the figuring out of self. We must gaze deeply at Christ and glance at ourselves. Let us be willing to waste what this world has to offer (even that of ourselves) for the sake of obtaining the greatest treasure of truly living life to the fullest in Jesus Christ.

    Thanks for writing such thought-provoking, encouraging, and inspiring posts!

    • “We must gaze deeply at Christ and glance at ourselves” — wow, thank you for sharing those thoughts; they really blessed me! It’s my prayer that we would be willing to “waste” all that is really weighing us down, in the first place, and live in the power of Christ (Heb. 10:1).

  • “Because life is life and life is meant to be lived.” Yup. “Yeah, we complain a good deal more than we should. Yeah, we judge when we have no right to and wear our masks to cover our perceived imperfections.” Oh yes.

    Thanks for this post, very inspiring! 🙂

  • Thank you, Deborah! I’m glad God put this on your heart to write this. I think we as Christians sometimes misunderstand non believers and make them seem shallow and illogical. But they are searching, they are wanting to be filled. We are searching just like they are and we want to be filled. We find that sufficient love and fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Amazing. Thanks again! This post is definitely one of my favorites.

    • Thanks so much for your encouraging comment, Kate! Yes, I think that it is so important to not lose sight of the “humanness” that we all share across the board of beliefs. This can put things into perspective and definitely help when we are sharing about Christ!

  • Awe-inspiring writing! May this be my theme- my anthem- for life: “Devote yourself to living… Living with confidence, assurance, and rich candor as Christ’s ambassador.”
    I am also reminded of the words of John the Baptist, “He must increase, I must decrease.” This article has inspired me; thank you Deborah.

  • Just a quick question, what does the phrase “we live in a broken world mean?” I’ve heard it a lot, I just don’t get the connotations of it.

    • It’s a reference to the earth now being cursed and under sin because of the fall of Adam. While it’s not a phrase directly from the Bible, it is certainly spoken about in Romans 5 particularly, where Paul goes into great detail on what the fall of Adam entailed and what our resurrection with Christ then also entails. When Christ is referred to as Healer, it is directly referring to the brokeness and sickness that is from Adam’s fall and the resulting curse. Jesus’ death gave us access to healing, grace, and eternal life in direct opposition to the sickness, guilt, and death that came from Adam’s fall, ushering in the brokenness mentioned above.

      Did that answer your question?

  • Excellent post! You spell out where most churchgoers are today. This generation and the one prior to it are living out the results of being given an “all about me” gospel. They are in the church and calling themselves Christians because they want His love, power, abundance, forgiveness and just plain fun. They have been lied to and it doesn’t work. Working with just half a gospel promising health, wealth, happy families, and happy self is false teaching. These church goers find out after a while that it doesn’t work, because that is not reality. Being a Christian first and foremost involves sorrow and repentance for your sins. Dying to Christ comes next. That means, you aren’t in it for yourselves. If you are a real Christ follower, your life will be filled with trials and tribulations as scripture promised. The world will hate you. They will persecute you and you may even be put to death. You will walk alone much of the time. That is sharing in the sufferings of Christ and this is what we are called to. The road is tough, but worth it all for Christ.

    Matthew 7:14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

  • Thank you so much for this article! It is encouraging, and very convicting. I agree that believers need to make Christ known, not silently living each day. Thanks!

  • {again} Thank you for this article! I’ve been struggling with this very thing even this morning and this spoke to my heart.

  • Good point! As Christians,we hear a lot about on r sins, and it’s nice to be reminded that they aren’t really relevant to most of the world.

  • “Because life is life and life is meant to be lived.”

    Beautiful. Thank you for this reminder, Deborah 🙂

  • Thanks for the needed exhortation for we Christians to die to ourselves so that we can live for Christ.

  • Absolutely. Life was created so that we could live it to the fullest, so why am I not out there living it to all that it could be? Why am I not pushing my Christianity to the farthest bounds that I can reach, and then some? Why don’t I push myself to be more and more like Christ every day and to defy the expectations that others have set for me? This article is striking. Thanks, Deborah.

  • Hey Christina! You are so right; sometimes all we really need to do is take the step as we believe in Jesus and trust the truth of the Bible. It can definitely be a struggle to do that, so I am so glad to hear that you are stepping in that direction!

  • I have a question. Recently on an educational forum, I brought up some questions I had about evolution. They bashed me for my beliefs and I was seriously bullied about it. How can I handle this? any thoughts? Thanks!

    • I’m sorry! I’ve never been in this situation, so I can’t help! All I can say is to continue to be a loving example of Christ, and that we are sent out as “sheep among wolves”. It’s really easy for me to type out words on a screen, a whole nother thing for either one of us to live it out! I’ll pray for you though!

      • Thanks! I always get into the most awkward situations with the whole what I believe thing 🙂 This time I found myself debating with a retired chemist, while I’m a high school freshman! Not good. But I showed what he was saying to family members, and he was blatantly lying! And he wouldn’t listen to anything i said. I’m sorry, I just had to vent! Thanks for the prayers! <3

        • Hey that’s ok as long as you stand with Christ He will not let you go remember that. Hey I tell you what you are not alone. Yesterday I glued two index card on my bag that’s has 2 verses roman 6:23 and roman 5:8 and I walk around with it at school the whole day. People read it but some people said bad stuff about it. But I am proud because I trust God to protect me. God will always protect you and watch over you :). I will pray for you.

        • Liana, have you ever heard of the Institute of Creation Research (ICR)? They have a wonderful magazine called Acts & Facts that you can subscribe to for free, and the articles are also posted online here: From fossils to biochemistry to physics to dinosaurs, they have lots and lots of great information, all from a Christian perspective, and from what I have seen, they strive to honor God in all they do. They also have a great devotional, also free, called Days of Praise, which I’ve come to love. If you’re into science, or debating with scientists, I high recommend those resources 🙂

          Also, Proverbs 26:4-5 are good verses to study 🙂

  • It is sad the way people view are world as void of any truth when God is standing right in front them. Not everyone has to be missionaries to different countries, but we do have to start shining our faith bright so people can see that there is real truth, and he died for us.

  • Brilliant message encased in beautiful composition. Your sermon is skillfully crafted and greatly appreciated.

  • Our own weaknesses are powerful things when we are willing to show them to others whom we witness to. It’s just so hard to show that I’m not perfect!

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →