Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Do I Love A What or A Who?

I am reading Phillip Yancey's, What Good is God?.  Like all of Yancey's work, it is excellent.  At one point, he is expressing ideas on grace as a reality and he quotes from a letter he received:  "I loved my Christian lifestyle, I didn't love God."

That comment has shadowed me for days.  Does it describe me?  I always thought of myself as D.L. Moody said, "yes, I am filled with the Holy Spirit, but I leak."

I do love the Christian lifestyle, in America--there is a lot to love.  Free from persecution, drawn to many wonderful and interesting people, often a source of encouragement and a place to serve that is frankly convenient.  

I also think God purposed us for his church, that we should as a simple matter, be actively serving the church.

Yet, that comment confronts me, am I loving a lifestyle not the person of Christ?  A lifestyle is a way of living that reflects the manners or values of a person or a group.  There is nothing wrong with a "Christian lifestyle" it reflects the person of Christ.  

The rub, the interesting point of the quote is the loving of lifestyle instead of loving the person the life is supposed to reflect.

In other words, do I enjoy being a Christian more than I love Christ?

Is it semantics or is it a healthy question?

To love being a Christian is to love self.  Frankly to love Christ is to deny self.  Instead of working toward being a better Christian, should I not focus on loving Christ more? 

OK, so how?  What does that look like.  What difference does that perspective make?    Yancey points to a clear acceptance of grace.  To relate to God through His gift of grace,   

Yancey writes that rules or Christian lifestyle, "present a temptation to rely on external behavior rather than cultivating the inner life.   Basing your faith on externals has the advantage of letting you know exactly what is expected.  On the other hand it also makes faith easy to cast off.  I can exchange on way of behaving for another, like a chameleon changing colors while nothing really changes on the inside." 

So, this Christmas I accept the perfect gift of grace.  I look to the person of Christ, as a baby, as a teacher, as a miracle worker--as a savior and I remember he not only chose to die for me, he opts to dwell in me.  The internal presence is there, do I love it?

No comments:

Post a Comment


About Me

My photo
Roswell, GA
Loves to find the answers to three questions of a sound Bible study: what does it say, what does it mean, what difference does it make?