We are ending the Barbaric series today.  I want to define what it means to be a barbarian and explain what that looks like.  Maybe I should start with what I am NOT talking about.  I’m not talking about being irresponsible.  I’m not talking about being mean, or stubborn or a jerk to others.  I’m not giving anyone permission to be offensive to others.   I am talking about someone who is pursuing God and giving life to others and being unapologetic about that.  They have this courage and focus as they walk through life.  The opposite of being barbaric is being domesticated.  That’s someone who is spending no or very little time with God, and desperately looking for validation from people and the things of this world [like their stuff].   They have little courage or focus as they walk through life.

MSG Romans 15:1-7   1  Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. 2 Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”   We are expected to be strong in the faith.   That means being a person who is pursuing God and developing a godly character.   And while we are being developed, we step into the lives of others to help them.   And guess what, this isn’t going to be convenient for you.  It’s not always going to be fun.  It will even take energy from you to share that strength with others.   How do you know you are that kind of person?  You show up into the relationships of your life and ask, “How can I help you today?”   Are you doing that?  Actually, what would those around say you do?

3 That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it.   MSG Romans 15:1-7   Why would we ever live like this?  Because Jesus did it for you.   Why would we decide to live a life that is less convenient for us?  Because Jesus’ invitation wasn’t into a life of safety and comfort.  It’s an invitation to ‘wade in and help out.’  Why do I always have to be strong and give, why am I always giving?  Because you were created to give.   You’re most like God when you give.  To live a life where you don’t grow, you don’t give and you never risk anything; that’s not living.  That’s called selfish and is a very boring way to live.  To live means you take the risk, you grow and you give.

 6 Then we’ll be a choir – not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!  7 So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it!  MSG Romans 15:1-7   Want to live in an awesome friendship or community?  Then start growing and sharing your strength with others.   Show up and ask others how you can help.  Ultimately, you will live in harmony with God and people.  The most unhealthy relationships and communities are the ones where everyone stays immature.  They sit back, do nothing and complain about how others don’t serve them well.  That includes marriages, churches, work places, etc.

In my life, I have at least 3 barriers to becoming a barbarian, let’s see if you can relate.  The first barrier to being barbaric is doing the easy thing.   That is, doing the least possible.  I want to guarantee you that you will always get out of your relationships what you put into them.  Who do you know who has a statue dedicated to ’Joe six pack’ who did nothing but complain and criticize others?  Read again what Jesus did.  He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it.   MSG Romans 15:1-7

Then second barrier I face is being a people pleaser.  If I lived everyday trying to make everyone happy, I would be an overcommitted, miserable wreck.  It’s trouble ahead if you think life’s all fun and games.  There’s suffering to be met, and you’re going to meet it.   “There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests – look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.”  MSG  Jesus in Luke 6:25-26

The third barrier is fear.  What if what I do isn’t good enough?  Ten or twenty years from now, looking back, you will realize that fear held you back from experiencing God.  The worst part, fear is nothing more than an emotion.  God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.  NLT  2 Timothy 1:7

How will you decide to live?  Barbarian or domesticated?