Thursday, June 18, 2009

A New Christian Life

I'm not going to lie: I've become increasingly bored with the brand of Christianity I've been practicing. It seems that I joined- no, was born into- some sort of club and the rules involve trying not to cuss, not drinking (or at least not drinking excessively), dressing up on Sundays and carrying my Bible to church. No matter what sort of week I've been having, there's an unspoken obligation to be perky at church. We should be happy at church, but because we're free and forgiven not because it's the thing to do. I've noticed that my life bears very little difference to the lives of my unsaved neighbors and friends. We're all after the same thing: security, money, a healthy retirement account, the American Dream.

Last year I read Max Lucado's book It's Not About Me. (My blog post here.) That was the beginning of seeing my life the way it should be rather than what I've allowed it to become. It was the first time I had consciously considered that Christianity wasn't a side thing to do along with the rest of my life, but the main purpose of the life God gave me. Then I read Tom Davis's book Red Letters (my post here) and started visiting his blog. Until then I had always thought of anti-hunger organizations as the non-Christian's way of feeling like they were making a difference without God. I thought it was making up for not having Jesus. What an eye-opening experience to realize that the saved are those that should be at the forefront of these efforts for the hungry, orphaned and widowed!

God began to speak to me about making a difference where I am- to bloom where he plants me. I can show his love to my neighbors, believing that He put me where I am for a divine purpose. I heard Lee Strobel's Focus on the Family- aired recordings "If Jesus Lived At My House" and suddenly a whole new world of opportunity opened up.

And now I've been reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I've been impressed with so much of the book, but these particular points have stood out so far:

  • Christians were first called "Christians". They didn't name themselves. The unsaved looked at them, at the way they lived, and said, "Those people are like the one they call the Christ. They are followers of his teachings. They are Christians." How many of those around you would voluntarily call you a Christian, or is that a label you've given yourself? What makes it true?
  • God is HUGE and doesn't need me. He wants me. He created everything through Himself and for Himself.
  • It's time to step out of our Western Christian mindsets and live radically for Christ in whatever way He calls each of us to do that.
I'm still not sure what all the practical applications of that will look like in my life. But here are my first, elementary thoughts: I don't have a job and I am raising kids. I want to raise them with an awareness of what true Christianity looks like. I want to be an example of that. In the following days and weeks I will be praying for God's directing in my life on how to do that. I will pray for the lost and abandoned and hungry and pray that the change I see in myself will be lasting and not a passing personal fad. I will start this year to get an education that will lead to money and skills to help the lost and hurting. Currently, I'm planning to pursue a nursing degree, unless God tells me otherwise. Until then, I will begin selling many of the possessions I have that weigh me down. I'm tired of feeling bloated and sluggish in regards to my material possessions. I don't need most of what I own, and it would be much better put to use for the kingdom of Heaven. I will be using my eBay account to sell my things, with a majority percentage of the profits going to charities that I will be choosing.

With the Spirit of Christ in us, we can change the world.

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