“It’s easy to be a ‘Christian’ inside the protective walls of a church, but can you maintain your beliefs and actions once you step outside the door?” The pastors words hit me hard. It’s nothing I haven’t heard before, I think I have actually taught part of this lesson as part of a Biblical Worldview training at Food for the Hungry. Its amazing that we can teach and preach, and still not truly understand. In this particular period of growing pains I’ve wished for (and almost found) a church service for everyday of the week. To soak up knowledge and guidance but mostly to seek refuge.
“What cripples us as a collective people is our desire for other people’s approval. We find ourselves in perpetual sin to gain the approval of our peers, society, and our culture.” The pastor continued, “Have we forgotten that we follow the biggest reject of all time?” Jesus was the popularity equivalent of a nerdy Urkel in a pack of jocks. His beliefs and behaviors didn’t follow the norm of his peers or society, and he was eventually killed for it.
So while getting cozy in a pew and submersing myself in all things Jesus sounds lovely, the reality is, we do have to walk out the door. This struggle with the world and how to be in it and yet set apart is normal. (wahoo, I’m normal!) Wrestling with the challenges of life isn’t a sign of a weak faith, for Christians, its just part of the package.
I think for a long time I viewed human morality on a scale… or really more of a balance beam. Conservative Christians on one extreme side, and basically hateful horrible people on the extreme other side.
I stood somewhere in the middle with a massive population of people who pick and choose Bible passages to follow and cultural norms to follow. It is only after repeatedly trying and falling flat on my face, that I finally decided that “my way” was not working out for me.
“Instead of letting the Bible shape our view of the world and of ourselves, we allow our feeling and our comforts to shape the way we read the Bible.” Guilty – that was me. I absolutely believed in God and my very own brand of Christianity. But really giving up what was “normal” in my culture seemed a bit extreme and I read the Bible with my cultural lens only taking in what seems like a good fit for my life. You know, be nice to people, care about the world, etc etc.
Does any of this sound remotely familiar? I refuse to believe I’m the only one that didn’t get this lesson the first time around. So here I stand, or lean really, in a season of growing pains. “Obedience is an outward action of an inward change God is making in our hearts.” I’m so thankful for Gods patience in teaching us lessons.
What lessons are God teaching you this season?