In the Trivialization of Jesus, I stated that being a Christian is a state of being, not a lifestyle choice. I still think that’s true. Like I said, no matter what we do or don’t do, we are all sinners saved by grace. We need to understand what it is Christ Jesus calls us to be. which isn’t to say that being a Christian isn’t a call to action. In fact, that’s exactly what it is. Christians are not to do good works to be saved but are to do good works because we are saved. But the problem still remains. Too often christians define themselves by what they do not do. We define ourselves by how we do not act like “the world”.
Action, however, implies doing something: moving forward. If Paul’s words in Romans 14:23 are to be believed, and anything that we do that does not proceed from faith is, in fact sin, that puts a whole new spin on things. Think about it. If we do something that is looked upon as “good” by the Church or society but it as any sort of genesis other than our personal faith, it’s sin. On the other hand, if we do something that may be considered “bad”, but it is spurred on by faith, then it is not a sin.
It’s a risky business to be sure. But it points to why a personal understanding of Scripture is so important. We need to be asking questions about what the Bible actually says. We have to be good readers not just sponges in the pew. Are there some things that we’ve been taught that don’t necessarily coincide with the Biblical record? Are certainly things that are emphasized over emphasized to the detriment of others? Different churches and denominations etc. teach different things for different reasons. I’m not demonizing the churches here, I’m just saying that maybe it’s time for some re-evaluations of our priorities. And top on the list, I think, is the question, “What does Jesus expect us to do?” And by “us” I mean the local people in the local church; you and me. The Church doesn’t need to become relevent to the culture. I detest that whole train of thought because it almost always concerns it’s appearance to the world. It already is relevent to the world. But it needs to prove it to the world. More than that, the world needs that proof.
I’ve been thinking (“Again?” you might ask)… I know how I feel when my wife says something specially nice to me. My feet don’t touch the ground. In times like those, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that anything is possible. “Honey, you are awesome.” Are you kidding me? If anyone else says that, I’m like, “Yea. Whatever.” But when the love of my life says something like that…. whoooooaa. If she asked me to fly her to the moon right after that, I’m pretty darn sure I can do it. I’m serious. Sometimes I wonder if women know what kind of power is at their disposal. A kind word in their man’s direction and there you go.
Do you ever wonder if Jesus is like that? When (if?) His bride looks at him and says, “Wow. You are awesome”, do you think He gets puffed up and wants to do anything she asks just for the sake of doing it for her?
Churches do this every weekend. We do the praise and worship. Say a prayer. Hear the Word. And we call that Church. There’s nothing wrong with that. that’s not what I’m saying. But I’m reminded of a line from one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies; the second one, I think. The pirates are trying to lift a curse and they have some words that someone must recite for the desired effect. The first guy says it like a high falooting prayer….Nothing happens. This one-eyed pirate steps up and clarifies that it must be said as if to a lover. That does the trick.
It’s the way our wives say those things. “The car looks great, hon.” “Thanks for taking out the garbage, dear.” Boom. We’re putty in your hands. And that’s a secret to praising Jesus as well. We need to mean it. We need to praise Him as if to a lover. Yea. It might sound awkward to us guys to think that way about Jesus but that’s not really the point. As the Church, we the people, need to give more than lip service to the idea of being the “Bride of Christ”. We have to act that way if we want to be affectual here on earth. If we truly love the Lord, we need to show it and not be ashamed. It’s not the words so much as it’s the heart behind them that matter most. Those who truly do Love Jesus know what I’m talking about. If that’s you then I challenge you to lead the way for your brothers and sisters all around you.