01 November 2006

A Christian All-You-Can-Eat

Let's say I'm discipling a new Christian.
This is what she knows:

1) God is perfect and requires perfection. Anything less deserves death.
2) Which presents a problem- I'm not perfect. I deserve death.
3) Jesus, who is perfect, paid the debt of death for me.
4) Somehow (amazingly), when I trust that Jesus' death is good enough in God's economy, my sins are no longer an issue to God. He considers me perfect.

This is ALL she knows about being a Christian. That's it.

As this girl's mentor, what is my next step?
Is the above knowledge enough?

Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

As mentors, disciplers, churches, ministries, seminaries, Bible Study groups, missionary organizations, worship teams, Sunday School classes, peer relationships, parachurch groups, etc. what yoke of burden are we placing upon other believers that is unnecessary? What yokes are we placing on ourselves? How much of what the Pharisees added to the Law was really necessary? I imagine, if God thought it was necessary, He'd have written the 678 Commandments.

This is something I really struggle with myself. How much of "the Christian life" is too much? I'm logging hours in christendom, but am I being transformed by Christ in the process? There is a monumental difference between being in the same room with Jesus, and being at the feet of Jesus. Ask Mary and Martha.

Most churches I've been a part of offer many programs and classes. There is always something going on to help me be a better Christian. I find myself looking for the next program or study to join so that I can keep myself sharp, gain more spiritual knowledge, or tuck more training under my belt. Piling more "stuff" on the buffet plate so I can get spiritually obese.

True confession: I spend more time adding shiny new things into my Christian journey than I spend obeying what I already know.

Avoidance? Selfishness? Laziness? Cowardice? Pride? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.

Truthfully, it feels better to take a class on the Book of Amos than honor my husband with my tongue.
More fun to join the worship team than to wash my children's potty training clothes with the heart of a servant.
Praying at home, alone, for missionaries? Taking some canned goods down to the local rescue mission ? Yawn. I'm going to the newest Women's Bible Study up at church.

I'm really not trying to be contentious. I just want to know- if I burned the dross off of my Christian life; if I let it be SIMPLE; if I actually began doing what I already know to do- to let Jesus do through me- and let all the other "stuff" fall away, how would things be different?


Blogger Leatherwing said...

You know it is possible to be contentious without trying :)

Our church is in the throes of trying to do what you describe, at least some of us are. And it is difficult to do as a group. like most things in our christian walk, we must choose to do it individually, but it does help when there is someone of a like mind to walk beside you. We can't really hold each other accountable because we al have secret places to run to. But we can go for a walk together in the light and see where we get.

8:00 PM  
Blogger gretalynn said...

You are bringing up great points. Angel and I are on the verge--we think--of being part of a small house church in one of the areas where we are meeting new people. We don't have any visions of planting a church that will grow and grow, but a church that will maintain its intimacy and help others a few streets away meet together and "do church."

Oh, I have tons to learn, but leaving the programs--not having the opportunity to really be in a Bible Study for women--not having all of the stuff churches offer has forced me to enjoy God. There's such a difference in "going to church" and "living church."

I'm rambling...but I'll try to make it more concise on my blog--tomorrow?

And, yes, we do seek the easy way out, don't we?

1:14 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

So, how do you guys strike the balance between being around the people of God for mutual sharpening without succumbing to the pressure (from yourself or from others) to be at the church building every time the doors are open? How can we differentiate the voice of Jesus from the voice of the church-y crowd?

Leatherwing, it is also possible to spread disease and pestilence without trying. hack! cough! (Ok, that really is my last jab at you. Unless you just leave the door wide open for me. Watch your bat back, dude.)
Seriously, I admire the pioneering spirit you talk about. Someone who is willing to take the risk of doing church in their heart versus doing church in their chuch is swimming against the tide. I just saw a book your small group might be interested in- Simple Church.

Greta, I sometimes wish that the church-y choices were removed from the equation. It seems it would make it easier to see the face of Jesus. But, as a missionary, I'm sure there are many times you've longed for the support and encouragement of a church program or Bible Study group. It's nice to sit at the table and enjoy a meal someone else has prepared. If you can get my spiritual drift.

Don't try to keep your blog up with my rapid-fire thoughts these days. I've had the luxury of a few spare moments this week and wanted to strike while the iron is hot. Take your time. Live your life. I'm not going anywhere.

7:55 AM  
Blogger Roberta said...

This is a great post. I love your last paragraph question.

About 8 years ago my husband and I were both desiring some sort of change and all we could say to explain it was "We are craving simplicity." Now we know that the Holy Spirit was leading us away from our busy, "ministry" focused church life to a new place. After 6 months of church limbo we ended up trying a church where we "lived our lives out loud". Having children in service with you does that...no pretending. There was difficulty in the journey, sadly our pastors took it personally, but we are so glad for the work God has done in our lives to bring us to a place where we understand so much more deeply (and still sin in our selfishness) that it truly is ALL ABOUT HIM.
Yes, serving our families with joyful servants hearts sure doesn't make the headlines (like my 3 year old's assessment of dinner last night "This looks like something I hate!"...yeah, I was feeling the love! ;)), but it makes an eternal impact, and eternity is where I want to worship Jesus forever...with my children.

1:13 AM  

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