Francis of Assisi (an Italian preacher who lived from 1181/1182 – 1226) was a young man who had it all together – money, position, fame, success. And yet he gave it all up to become the servant and the secondary figure. Prior to his conversion to faith in Christ Francis had messed up in his relationship with his father and failed in his military efforts. He was brought low in order to see his need for God, and after being taken captive in battle and suffering a serious illness he turned in his hour of need to God. After that realisation and conversion he chose to remain in the lowly position, humbly serving the poor and sick, a living example of the truth that God chooses the things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who are powerful.
And it challenges me. Do I cling too tightly to my position as a comfortable respected middle class Christian? Am I prepared to be thought of as foolish for the sake of the Gospel? What does being a fool for Christ look like today? I am sure we can all think of some Christian fools, but what about being a fool for Christ?
For me, being a fool for Christ means living a life that doesn’t make sense without God. Which makes me wonder, what in my life would be different if I was not a Christian? Because if conversion leads to a deep, lasting and complete life change then there must be not just occasional things we now do/don’t do anymore because of our faith but our life should be full of things that only make sense when viewed with that assumption that God is real, and therefore make us appear as fools to the unbelieving world. It means living a life that is markedly different from a Christless life rather than just doing the same things but as a Christian.
Historically there has been a view of conversion as a one off event, a moment when you pray a prayer, an exact moment of conversion. But conversion is a characteristic, and characteristics are ongoing traits. And to me conversion is an ongoing process as we are constantly day by day transformed into the likeness of Christ – a process of ongoing examination, reflection and evaluation.
Be challenged by Francis to live life as a fool for Christ. Be challenged to constantly seek to become more like Christ. Don’t regard your conversion as a one-time deal, but seek to become more and more transformed into the likeness of Christ each and every day.