October 17, 2011

Fat Christians

Let me open with this disclaimer-I am in no way referring to the physical fitness (or obvious lack thereof) of many Christians. That’s another blog for another day. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever get to that one, I’ll have to be getting pretty low on subjects to write about.
So, if I use the term “Fat Christians,” what am I talking about? Well, if I were clever like Pastor Todd over in Harrison, I’d turn it into an acronym…however, I am not so clever, and am terrible with acronyms. I am speaking rather to the tendency many Christians have to spend all week gorging themselves on “Spiritual food,” and spend no time exercising any of it. I must admit here to a bit of cynicism on my part that really is probably unhealthy and possibly sinful. I find it very easy to poke holes in most anything churches do. The old joke is that Christian firing squads are usually aligned in circles, and the last thing I want to do is be a part of that. I really do have a love both for my home church and for the church in general, and want it to thrive, to grow, and to be an accurate and genuine reflection of Christ to this world. That being said…
As “good” (good being in quotation marks because, 1-we/they aren’t actually better people…2-I am not including meaning the casual church attendee; I mean to talk more specifically to those who might be deemed “core,” “active,” or “genuine” believer…3- those, and honestly, I just like quotation marks) Christians, we attend church, go to a Bible study (or three), and if we’re super spiritual we might even invite over another family from church for dinner occasionally. Am I about to tell you to quit going to church? No. That would be in direct contradiction with Hebrews 10:25. Arguing against the Bible seems like a bad idea. Nor do I even want to begin to suggest that having Christians over for dinner or studying the Bible are bad things. To the contrary. Far from it. These are all good things, Biblical things, things worth doing.
However-since when are any of these things the marks of being a “good Christian”? Okay, before we go any further, I need to do two things. One, I apologize for my ADD writing today. If you can follow this successfully, you either have a highly functioning brain or an attention disorder. Two, where did the term “good Christian” come from? I started this blog using it because it’s common. But in addition to being common, it really is idiotic. The terms “good” and “Christian” are antithetical. The whole point of the Gospel, Christianity’s central message, is that I am not good. Because I am not good, I offend God. Because I offend God, I cannot have a relationship with Him. Jesus comes and because He, unlike the rest of humanity, was in fact good, He through His substitutionary death can pay for my offense. He then also, because of his resurrection from the dead, can impute to me His righteousness, His goodness. I have no goodness of my own. God accepts me not because I am good, but because Jesus is good. That being said, let us continue.
What, Biblically is to mark the life of a believer? Well in Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,  and self-control; against such things there is no law.” (yet another side note: this is not the “to-do” list you learned it was in Sunday school. It’s a fruit list. Pear trees don’t decide to grow pears, they just grow pears. And you can tell when you see pears hanging from it that it’s a pear tree. Anyhow.) So a Christian is going to exude things like love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Self Control. Interesting.

If I have an unbelieving friend, neighbor, or family member and all they see of my “Christian life” is me running 800 different directions to stay busy, is that something attractive that points them to Jesus and makes them want to follow?
When a room full of Christians sit around with open Bibles and ask each other what this text means to them or how it makes them feel, does that encourage the body to embrace the objective truth and beauty of God’s Word and allow us to more deeply know and love our Savior?
Jesus lived a life both with religious people, teaching them, answering questions, and going to their homes, and with sinners, hanging out with them, teaching them, feeding them, and going to their parties. Why do we always try to make it one or the other?
I know this has been much meandering, but my point mainly is this: there is absolutely no point in knowing what the Bible says if we don’t intend to take it seriously and live it. We will be merely hearers, and so deceive ourselves, as James so nicely put it. So I think it’s time we take a long hard look at a lot of what we do, why we do it, how we do it, and if we really ought to do it. We need to quit making our programs, meetings, rituals, etc so sacred to us. Having your weekly Bible study isn’t life and death. Sharing Christ with someone going to Hell is. Going to Sunday School isn’t life and death. Mentoring a younger believer very well could be. We need to focus less on the stuff we do, and better understand why we do it. Because that will both help us improve what we ought to do, and eliminate what we ought to eliminate. Or to say it as I did at the start, we need to watch what we eat, eat a lot of healthy food, and exercise regularly. Don’t waste time with garbage, and get off the couch! End rant.

Okay, maybe not end. I may have more later when my brain is operational. (temporarily) end rant.

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I love Jesus, my wife, and my kids. Writing and teaching are two things I have a passion for. Gardening and fishing are cool, too. I blog @ willdole.com, you can reach me @ contact@willdole.com