Category Archives: Living our faith

The out-living of the in-dwelling

So what does it look like if you are living your Christianity out loud?  If you are in fact living that way then other folks know that you are a follower of Jesus Christ.  What does the world see in you that tells them that you are a follower of Jesus Christ?  Paul, in his letter to the church at Galatia, wrote “I am crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20).  That single picture, a life absorbed and covered with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is the foundation, the bedrock of living your Christianity out loud.  It seems at once complex and yet it is so simple.  It is not about what we do but rather what Christ does within us.  What He does within us is, after all is said and done, what shows on the outside.  There is no fanfare.  There are no announcements or pictures in the local newspaper proclaiming our status as a follower of Jesus Christ.  Christian character, according to Paul, is the result of the indwelling Holy Spirit, not by anything that we do or produce.  Be very careful that your concentration is on that one thing:  It is not about what you do.  It is about what the Holy Spirit does through you.  Take a few minutes and read the first five verses of the gospel of John as Jesus explains our position in living our faith out loud.  These verses are indeed the root of living your faith out loud.  Your life as a Christian is not about you.

Availability – But at what cost?

How many of us are, as Paul was, simply annoyed by our own physical limitations?  His life was of no consequence to him and his physical limitations were little but hindrances that kept him from giving more. Paul lived and taught the Gospel, nothing more or less.  Compare that thinking to the much more prevalent mode of using our limitations as excuses to not do what God wants us to do.  My suggestion is not that we should do “what” those who have gone before us did but rather that that we should do “as” they did.  How many of us assume that we are just sheep because, as a result of our perceived limitations, we do not recognize the calling to be more than that?  How often do we say that we will do anything but we impose the regulation of “Lord, you know I cannot do that…?”  Paul did what he was told to do.  Period.
 

I fear that there is a built in complacency that comes with our claim of availability.  I fear that we may find an excuse to say to the Lord that we cannot do “that thing” that we have been led to do and we hang it on some limitation, real or not.  That’s okay, at least we were available.  Wrong.  The call is not that we are to be available for only certain things at certain times and we are free to use our limitations as filters for what we are willing or able to do.

And you are doing this for who?

Am I serving God with a reserve? That’s a fair question for any of us. Have we said to God that we will do anything or go anywhere for Him and yet, in the test, are there things that we will not do and places that we will excuse ourselves from going? Have we ever been guilty of declining an opportunity to spread the free gift of Jesus Christ? How will a stranger know that you are a child of God if it is not obvious in your behaviors? Consider the words of Paul as he addressed the church at Corinth with this phrase: “I will very gladly spend for you everything that I have and expend myself as well” (2 Corinthians: 12: 15 NIV). Can I truthfully say that? That is what it takes to follow the Lord. It is important that when we believe that we are doing something for the Lord or to honor Him, we examine what our motivation really is. It is ours to disappear in the life of Jesus Christ.

Living a Christian life in that manner that can redefine the phrase, “all in.” Are you “all in” or just along for the ride? _dg