American Christianity vs The Sold Out Life
When I got saved, I kind of expected that there would only be one kind of Christian- the Christian who is completely sold out for Christ, who's life is centered on the cross, and who is consumed by their walk with Jesus.
Maybe it's just because of where I was at in life. I was born only knowing one speed- to go 100% into the pursuit of what I thought would make me happy at that moment. I framed my life around that reckless pursuit. So, when I came to know Jesus as the true and ultimate source of all pleasure, pleasure so much deeper than the goofy things I was pursuing pleasure in before knowing Jesus, I pursued Him with the passion and fervor that I had just been used to pursuing pleasure with previously.
It did not take long to see that not all Christians were looking for the same kind of buy-in from their walk with Jesus. To be completely honest, it was confusing and kind of dejecting to me when I came to grips with this. To be completely transparent, a lot of my disallusionment probably came from the fact that I was working through a judgmental spirit early on in my walk. Not that I never stumble into that, but doing life with people with Jesus at the center has a way of teaching you to love them and not judge them, and also has a way of humbling you and making you see that God is not calling you to judge His people, He's calling me to lead them.
So, as I think through this tension, I wrestle.
I get it that life fills up quick. I get it that the monastic life is not something that many felt called to, and probably shouldn't feel called to. I get that family, finances, kids, relationships, hobbies, work, keeping up a home and the million other things that call for our attention scream a lot louder than that still small voice urging us to come away and be with Jesus.
But there is a difference between understanding the pressures and condoning the giving of ourselves over to those pressures to the place where we are crowding out the supremecy of Jesus in our lives and replacing Him with the supremecy of whatever urgent thing we happen to be facing at the time.
You also come to realize that EVERYONE has those pressures. This is not unique to some or more prevelent to others. We all have a million things vying for our attention other than Christ. And often, those things are louder, or at least more pressing, than the voice of our Savior.
So, what's the answer?
Well, I think Philippians 3 gives us a good understanding. Paul catalogues those same pressures that I just wrote about, and says that compared to Christ, they are rubbish. Notice that he does not say that the pursuits themselves are rubbish. He is just saying that they do not stack up to a pursuit of Jesus.
It's interesting that understanding this helps us to keep Christ at the center of our life, but it also kills that judgmental spirit that I wrote about a couple paragraphs ago. Because, you begin to see that those things that you would add to your account that "give you the right to judge someone else" are also in that rubbish category, and really all that judgmentalism does is stack up my rubbish against their rubbish and we get in a rubbish measuring contest. When you look at it that way, judging is not nearly as fun or rewarding.
So, back to our original question. Is radical Christianity something that is expected of every Christian? Well, its kind of a loaded question. Maybe what we see as radical is just plain old Christianity, and we should change the metrics of what we consider to be radical or extravagant. It would seem to me that the easy metric that Paul gives is: is a pursuit of Christ driving the things we pursue in life? Can all things that we pursue be directly tied to a pursuit of our Savior? If so, He can bring meaning to the most menial pursuit. If not, then even that which appears to be most noble is just added to the rubbish pile.
So reader, I ask you- does your pursuit of Christ drive everything that you pursue? Do you pursue Jesus and have that in one sphere and then have your other pursuits in another sphere with little to no overlap? Or, do you even take the time to look at the mundane and ask how this generates from a pursuit of Jesus? When we learn to do that, then even the mundane has a way of becoming pretty radical.
More in Pastor's Blog
November 22, 2017The Ancient Roots of Thanksgiving
November 10, 2017Having conversations with people who are not "Right, like ME"
October 31, 2017The Gospel and Race: On Earth as It Is in Heaven