Alright, so I described two basic insights on life as a Christian. Firstly that it is a demanding calling - demanding of us all we can give. And secondly that it is exuberant, filled with reassurance, joy, and inspiration. Last blog I described the church prayer meeting as part of the joy dimension, something you wouldn’t want to miss. Although a quick glance around suggests most churches haven’t discovered this yet – usually very few people attend.
This week I turn to the other dimension. And I pause, daunted. So much flows from this insight, yet every path we might take at this point turns out to be a minefield.
It’s okay if I stay on the strictly personal level. I personally find the Christian calling to be significant, purposeful, worth giving my life to. It’s different from joining the tennis club, or the bingo club, or honing my skills with video games. Those pursuits may form my character in some ways, but they aren’t ultimately satisfying. No, Christian faith is the only calling worth my total engagement.
Even thus far, there may be some red flags waving. Does it sound as though I am claiming perfect, total engagement with Jesus, 24/7? No, tain’t so. But it is my desire. I pray for that constantly. Oops, even that sounds perilously close to self-praise. Let’s just say I’m one of those who constantly seek a deeper experience of Jesus. And there are lots of us.
But you see, I can’t just stay at the personal level. I care about what I see among the saints around me. There are many aspects of church culture that do not serve us or our God well. Let’s just pick this aspect for now – our level of expectation that we will come together to experience God, and be prompted to outside-the-box exploits for him. Some churches experience the vibrant presence of the Holy Spirit during the singing and prayer part of the service, but for the most part it seems we are surprised when God shows up. I have the feeling that if someone talked about contemplating a daring step of faith, the rest of us would be surprised, doubtful. And we would regard that person as having extraordinary faith and daring. Nope, that’s just the way the Christian life is – trusting God big time.
I’ve blundered around the minefield for a bit. How am I doing? Maybe I’ll try describing the demanding Christian journey a little more in coming weeks,