I am a christian, which is to say that I trust Christ as my savior. And yet, over the past several months I have not been living for him. I am saved by grace and fueled by egocentrism. What a mess!
I do not mean that I am necessarily pursuing things that are not of Christ. I’m sure that if an outsider were to observe my life, that I might appear quite holy. I attend church regularly, I am part of a bible study group, I read scripture regularly, I participate in a Christian community, and I pray.
What I mean is that Christ has not been the central focus of my life. While I do all of the things listed above, I do them at my convenience, not as part of a disciplined lifestyle. When I don’t feel like attending church, I skip. When I’m too tired to pray, I don’t. When scripture doesn’t hold my attention, I put my bible down. And probably more serious, I haven’t prayed about many of the large decisions in my life. The result is that I am no longer passionate about most of what I’m doing, I’m just going through the motions.
This shift wasn’t immediate. It has been a gradual change over a period of years. I guess the lesson for me in this is that my feelings follow my actions. Much as with any relationship, if I want to be excited about my time with the Lord, then I need to invest myself. And if I passively attend church or read the bible, then I won’t get much from it.
I need to turn this around. In spite of my lack of faith, I do believe that God cares about the details of my life, and I also believe that I’m the one that pays the price when I let this slip.
I find encouragement in scripture. Abraham is noted as a man of faith (Heb 11:8-17), and yet he didn’t trust that God could provide a child through his wife Sarah, so he had his first son through her maidservant (Gen 16). Also, David, though he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed (2 Sam 11), is called a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).
I don’t take from these passages that I’m going to end up being a spiritual giant, or necessarily be remembered for my faith. But rather, if these great men can slip and still be considered valuable in the eyes of God, then that’s great news for you & me!
So, I have a plan. I’m reading scripture on a regular basis, I’m keeping a prayer journal, and I am starting to be intentional about discussing my spiritual condition with those that are close to me. This is one of my goals for 2005, to get my spiritual life back on track.