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I was reading an article today that made me wonder why it is so hard to break out of the cycle of activities that so many think define us as Christians. The article commented on a mother who would read a chapter of Proverbs to her kids at breakfast and their family would always attend a weekly corporate worship service. I’m sure that more was inferred when the article states, “Now, having modeled Christian faith before her children…” Because, is that really it? If you pray, and read your Bible and “go to church”, is that how we display our faith to our children and to the world?
I want my kids to see that I have an everyday relationship with Father as real as I do with them. I talk to him, I share stories about him, I talk about how he might be leading our family in important decisions. I want them to see how we give of any money we might have to help friends who are in need. I want them to see how we care for people, call them, visit them, or even just hang out with folks. I want them to see how everything we say and do is “modeling our Christian Faith”.
Don’t you? Do you want your faith to be encapsulated in the things we deem spiritual? Did Jesus? Was the extent of what he taught, “Be good, read your Bibles, pray, and make sure you ‘go to church'” Was that it? Didn’t he teach us that the Kingdom is so much more ordinary. More common. It’s like a farmer who scatters seed. It’s like a mustard seed. It’s like, and it’s in every part of life. Whether you eat or drink, do it all for his honor. Every part. Do we really want to relegate it to the sections of life that are “spiritual”?
I believe that is a heresy. I may be labeled a heretic for saying that, but historically, I think it already was called a heresy. It’s more accepted today. Separating the “spiritual” from the “carnal”. The Gnostics did this. (Please pardon my dusty historical archives. I studied this over 10 years ago in a Greek History class at SUNY Buffalo… so the exact facts will be a bit stale perhaps…) They believed that the Spirit was good and the flesh was evil. Anything that was for the flesh therefore was sin, while anything of or for the spirit was godly. This was a heresy. Jesus was not afraid of our flesh, he wore it. He made us body and spirit. We are both. With a soul mixed in for good measure. To deny that is lunacy… and perhaps heresy.
So today we keep ourselves from R-rated movies, we don’t drink, we don’t smoke, we don’t listen to anything that isn’t labeled “Christian” by the music industry (who is making a killing by promoting such “labels”), we don’t swear, we don’t hang out with anyone who does those things – except of course under the auspices of “ministering” to them.
“You have died with Christ… so why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as ‘Don’t handle, don’t eat, don’t touch’?” – Col 2:20-21
Paul said we don’t live by restrictions or rules anymore. We can certainly choose to restrict ourselves for the benefit of others (Rom 14), but for our benefit or for God’s we don’t live by those rules anymore. (See Galatians below.)
Why then do we act as though we still do?
God wants to do life with us, and us with him. He wants us to plug into him and live every moment with him. Our Christian life does not fit inside our neat and tidy boxes. That is where we come close to, or sometimes cross over into the boundaries of religion. Religion is not life giving, freeing, and grace-filled. But kingdom life is.
I want to model that for my kids, and for my neighbors and for my friends. I want my family to know that I love God and I love people. That’s what Jesus said he wants from us, and that’s what I intend to give. I read my Bible. I do something similar to what most Christians would call praying. I can even be found at the occasional corporate “worship service”. But that in no way defines my faith. It’s even somewhat superfluous. It’s fun. It’s good. But it’s not what I want my kids to think life with Jesus is all about.
“No, O people, the LORD has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. And, love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27
So if reading my Bible, and praying, and going to church is how I can be a model of Christian faith. Doing what those verses says must make me a super model!
I wanna be a super model!