Have you ever heard this statement “If you are a Christian, ACT like it!”, with self-righteousness foaming out of the mouth. I have heard it way too many times in my “Christian” circles and recently have been challenged to a new way of living. A powerful way that does not involve “Acting.”
I grew up in the Charismatic denomination, the kind you see on TV, hand raising, falling out, speaking in tongues, running around the church, all about the “Holy Spirit” type church. I went to a Wesleyan University, not knowing anything about Wesleyans, I soon discovered that the Wesleyans are afraid of the “Holy Spirit” or at least the “Holy Spirit” of the Charismatic church. I love my heritage from the Charismatic church and I love that I went to a Wesleyan University and now work for a Methodist church. I love it because one thing I KNOW for sure, no one has this whole God and Bible thing figured out and what each denomination or school of thought brings is a piece to the whole and complexity of God. The Charismatic church taught me how to have a deep driving passion to know God and to be in communion with him, to long to know God with my senses and believe that he speaks. The Wesleyans taught me to use my mind, to think, to study, to test, to grow in my understanding and not be afraid to question. Now the Methodist have taught me that we are all screwed up and we all need grace. A pretty beautiful picture when these 3 collide.
This is what I am afraid of; in our fear of the crazy we have seen on TV or the abuse of the religious many of our churches have abandoned the Holy Spirit and are trying to live a life that somehow represents Christ and the only way you can do that is to create rules. Rules are safe, rules help us know what to do and what not to do. Rules take away the gray and provide clear black and white guidelines. Rules are logical and rational and appease my minds desire to feel in control. Yet rules can leave you in a place where you stop growing and become blind to your own sinfulness.
“We don’t drink, we don’t smoke, we don’t cuss, we don’t watch “R” movies, we don’t get tattoos or piecing, we don’t associate with homosexuals, we don’t dance, we don’t go to the casino (ooo shameful), we don’t dress un-modestly and we don’t have sex before marriage!, we don’t use that language.” I could go on and on. This is the thing Christ, the one we say we are following did not come “for external modifications, he came to change the human heart (Christine Cain).” So here we are this huge group of “Christians” walking around thinking we are better or righteous because we “don’t do theses things” but the problem is our heart, our mind, our soul has not been transformed because we are afraid of the one that transforms, we are afraid of the very cure for our sickness, and most of us do not even realize we are sick.
The heart of man is dark, the mind of man twisted and self-absorbed, the soul of man empty and searching. The fight for our life, the fight against good and evil, is a battle every day and without the help and power of a greater force than ourselves we will fail.
I have recently come to an understanding of myself and the empowerment of the Spirit of Holiness or the Spirit of Christ, that is changing me and changing my perspective on life. I hope to share a few things I am learning if you will hang with me.
I will leave part 1 with this thought: We were not meant to act, perform, or be a robot, the life of Christ, the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ all happened so that we could become NEW.