“Think outside the box” is a frequent expression we hear used particularly by motivational speakers and successful leaders. The point is to encourage people to escalate their thinking outside the accepted parameters—outside what is accepted as the norm.
I started pondering what revolutionary attitudes prompting ground breaking actions these words might excite with a Christian application. And it dawned on me that Jesus was the originator of thinking outside the box. He solved problems in unconventional ways. His miracles of healing were controversial. His behavior was so radical and out of step with His day that it cost Him His life.
Just think about this example illustrating the way Jesus showed His compassion and understanding—the “outside of the box” way He defused situations. One of my favorites is Jesus’ handling of the woman that was accosted by the Pharisees while in the act of adultery. (John 8:1-11) Even in our day of loose and decadent morals, adultery can be a scandalous event. But in Jesus’ day the act called for punishment by stoning. I have to smile when thinking of how Jesus baffled the accusers and silenced them with His shrewd handling of this confrontation, by suggesting the first stone be thrown by the one among them who was sinless. Note He did not condone the woman’s actions because He said she should go and sin no more—but neither did he condone the barbaric punishment she supposedly deserved. In unconditional loving fashion He also said He did not condemn her. Unconventional—outside the box.
Then there is the recorded encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, demonstrating how He countered accepted boundaries. (John 4:1-42) Samaritans were hated by the Jews. And also for the most part women were a demeaned segment of society. So for Jesus to not just be speaking to a woman but to actually be in a real conversation with her was unheard of. Not only was it a total surprise to this lady but Verse 27 states the disciples were “shocked” that Jesus was interacting not just with a Samaritan but also a woman!! But because of this progressive—for the time—interaction many people came to be aware of the Son of God. Unconventional—outside the box.
This is the challenge—to not allow the accepted, traditional, and customary to keep us in the box. As we strive to be like Christ, we must be willing to step outside our comfort zone, throw aside our fear, and then follow up the stepping out by walking with Jesus outside the box.
(Lonetta is available for speaking engagements throughout the United States. If you are looking for a dynamic, soul stirring, challenging, and engaging presentation for an upcoming Christian event you will not be disappointed. Please contact her through this site or her website for more information.)
Categories: INSPIRATIONAL ARTICLES