Hello Authentic Lovers!
Something heavy has been on my heart since I woke up this morning. God has been dealing with me about the condition of the church, the body of Christ. I thought I would share my thoughts with you and hopefully you’ll hear me out. To tell you the truth, I am slightly displeased with the condition of the church. My spirit is saddened by what I am seeing and I hope things get better soon. One of the things I am really disheartened by is this belief that because one is a Christian, he/she does not need a sense of discipline. It’s like as soon as I say yes to Jesus, I am free to be wild and unruly- operating opposite of what is taught in the Word of God. This belief is so upsetting because to me (if I looked at it from a non-believer’s perspective) it makes God look so dumb, like He is really stupid- which is not the case. I listen to the things I hear some Christian leaders say and I am like “Why?”. We say things sometimes that make our all-powerful God look very small and helpless. Lately, it’s been – because I have grace: I don’t have to work in my relationship with God. It just happens and He does all the work for me. What? Why wouldn’t someone have to put effort in a relationship? Because of Grace? Well…I disagree with this statement and here’s why:
Grace is God’s unmerited favor, freely given to us by Jesus Christ. What is favor? it is an attitude of approval or liking…an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual. So basically grace is God liking an individual and performing an act of kindness towards them for free. That is what grace is. So the fact that Jesus died for humanity and therefore offers salvation free of charge so that we can be in relationship with the Father is grace. This is why we are saved by grace, because our salvation costed us nothing. So grace gave us the opportunity to have a relationship with God, not the tools to maintain that relationship. When I hear, “I can live any kind of way and do things that is not pleasing to God because I have grace,” that irks me because it shows me the ignorance that lies in Christendom today. Paul says in Romans 6:1-2 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” He’s basically saying that just because I have grace doesn’t mean I live a lifestyle of sin. Grace was created to make us free not keep us bound in sin. So when someone use grace as their excuse for living a life that is not pleasing to God, it makes my spirit cringe.
Secondly, I don’t understand why as Christians we do not believe that we have to live a lifestyle of discipline. Yes, discipline. No we are not under the law, but we should live a lifestyle that helps us to maintain our spot in this race of Salvation. We are running a race to receive a crown of life, basically we want to see Jesus one day so we are on a path to do so: a race. I studied all of the other major world religions: Buddhism, Hinduism , Islam, and Judaism. Do you know the one thing all of these religions apart from Christianity all have in common? They all have an element of discipline. Whether its meditation/chanting, prayer 5 times a day, reading of their sacred text or even their food/dietary needs- these religions have a sense of discipline. Am I saying that these religions got everything right? No. not at all but I do think that they got this element right in their lifestyle, and that is why I have a sense of admiration for them. If we are in a race, wouldn’t we condition for the race? Say I am running a marathon in Central Park, NYC. It’s my first marathon. Would I wake up the day of the marathon and just run? Would I win? Or would I get up months in advance and condition my body for the race? Would I change my dietary habits for the race? Would I be disciplined? A majority of you guys would say, “duh Simone- of course you would condition.” “Of course, you would eat right and train hard,duh” These responses would be common sense. So why do we make God sound so stupid when we eliminate this element from our lives by disguising it under grace? When we don’t live a disciplined life, we tell the world that the Holy Spirit inside of us has no sense of self-control, even though He is the author of it. Again, it sounds stupid-doesn’t it?. God is self-control and therefore self-control/discipline should be evident in our lives. If we are going to win this race so that we can receive our crown of life, we have to discipline our walk with God. We need to spend time in prayer and in the Word of God, that’s our fuel for the race. We have to love others and serve our community, that’s our exercise regime. We have to live being filled with the Holy Spirit, so that we can have energy and stamina. We need to be disciplined in a lifestyle of prayer and fasting. We have to live this way in order to win the grand prize. The grace of God allowed everyone to freely enter the race, but we have to do our part to stay in the race.
Think about it, what if you was in a relationship with someone who put no effort into you? They didn’t put any effort into spending time with you? They didn’t put any effort into hearing/learning your words? They didn’t put any effort in the activities they did with you? You put all your effort and love into them and they put none into you. Many, myself included, would say that this relationship is unhealthy and therefore should be terminated, but this is how some of our relationships with God look. He has placed all of himself into a relationship with us and yet we only put ourselves halfway into a relationship with Him, it’s unhealthy and it’s not fair. Relationships take effort and it’s this effort that brings about beauty.
Grace is good but when used the wrong way it becomes a crutch for staying in sin when Christ has come so that we be free from sin. True freedom stems from self-control.
Until next time,
Featured Image Credit: http://ostrakinos.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/crutch-walker.jpg?w=604
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This is my second favorite blog of the year. I’ll be returning back to it
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