Today’s A to Z challenge letter is ‘L.’ Judging by the title, one might guess my subject is lifestyles.
Lifestyles have appeared a lot in the media recently. I’ve even been told that the term ‘lifestyle’ is inappropriate and rude in certain cases, since some people attest that their actions and desires are by nature and not by choice. I’m not getting into that here… but I am thinking of a particular decision we make and how it affects our lives. And yes, our lifestyles.
The privilege of chasing after God comes with a teensy-weensy price tag attached. I don’t mean to counter anyone’s understanding of grace or faith, and I definitely reject any claim of salvation by works, as though we earn God’s love by being good.
But if we pursue God, there’s an exchange that must take place.
14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NASB
The mission of the church is to make disciples. As we’re going, as we’re teaching, as we’re baptizing, we are commanded to make disciples. Not converts. That distinction is easy to miss. It’s a lifestyle choice we must make, or reject.
We belong to Him. He’s our King. He’s in control. We’re His subordinates; He’s our commanding officer. We can’t say “yes” to our Savior without the following “Sir” to our Lord.
Think of the storm chaser analogy. Someone doesn’t become a storm chaser and sit at home. They travel; they fly to where the storms are likely to hit, and then they drive out to where the activity is taking place. They go after the goal, and we must do likewise.
Over the years in the military and in the general public, I’ve heard people suggest that “there is a place for religion, and it’s ok as long as it’s not taking over everything else in your life.” In other words, religion is Sunday stuff (or Friday stuff, or Saturday, or whatever day is the appropriate day of the week for a particular faith), and would you kindly keep it in that box for the rest of the week, thanks. Jesus is great for you in the morning or evening at home, but if you could refrain from expressing your faith around anyone else, we’d appreciate it.
Not going to happen.
Why are religious people so difficult about this?
Well it’s not just a little box of “religion” that we’re being asked to put away. It’s our passion and purpose, our love and our hopes and our joy. It’s the fundamental driving force behind our interpersonal skillset. For the believer, our faith is the foundation of our values that motivate our actions, the beliefs that inform our decision-making. It’s not our hobby, it’s not our favorite sport or team. It’s becomes a part of who we are, a spiritual skeletal framework to which everything else is attached.
Paul tells us to be living sacrifices on the altar, chasing after God with all our heart, being transformed in the process. We are to be fully invested – not merely interested.