choosing a Christian lifestyle

15 02 2007

If you’re a Christian, which of these lifestyles do you prefer :

  1. Walking in the Spirit, hearing from God regularly, seeing miraculous things, having the joy of the Lord, etc.
  2. Having a form of “religion”, not making much difference in the people around you, not walking in victory and abundant life, etc.

If you’ve ever experienced option 1, then the answer is very easy.  It’s great to hear God speaking to you and to know that He is working through you to change people’s lives.  So the question is, why do we so often settle for option 2?

In some ways, option 1 is harder, because you must die to self and the enemy will attack you more.  But option 2 is harder in another way — because we’re trying to live by our own power and knowledge and thus we fall short and end up with a lot of frustration and regret.  Even though option 1 has added difficulties, God gives grace to empower us, to help us live the life He has called us to.

So why is it that we ever choose option 2?  It’s something to think about…

(BTW, I realize that by narrowing it down to two categories that it’s not really fair, because life isn’t always so easy to group like that.  But we do tend to settle for much less than what God intends for us.  Read about Jesus’ lifestyle in the Gospels, and read about Paul in the book of Acts.  Then examine your own life to see if you’re anywhere close.  If not, why not?  If we choose to wholeheartedly seek after God, we will live like option 1 — there are no valid excuses why we can’t, because God will empower us for that, if we do our part.)

Any thoughts?

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4 responses

16 02 2007
TruthSeeker

You asked was why we so often settle for option 2; I think it’s because most don’t look at the options in the way that you listed them. Looking at those 2 options from a ‘worldly’ POV would be different:

1. Rejection by others, persecution, maybe loss of friends, giving up things that hinder you spiritually–even those that aren’t sin, having something else (spending more time with God) added to your already too-busy daily schedule

2. Acceptance by others (probably being accepted by both Christian & secular friends), having more time to fill your schedule with whatever YOU want to do, focusing on your plans/goals/dreams to climb what you deem to be the ladder of success, and feeling as though if something does happen to you, then you’ve got heaven taken care of and waiting

Given these descriptions (which are also true), the question would probably turn to ‘Why would we NOT settle for option 2?’

Awaiting the answer…

16 02 2007
Fab

I’m not Beppo, but I have a few ideas concerning your question, TruthSeeker.

What gives you the idea that heaven would be waiting? I thought that Jesus said to take up your cross daily and follow Him. If you die to self, then you can’t live like option number two. The Spirit of God living inside of you would keep you under constant conviction until you allowed the Truth to set you free from the dead works of the flesh.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 says:

1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

Now, with all these “option 2” traits and behaviors being condemned in this Scripture, I would have to say that option 2 isn’t a picture of true salvation, but dead religion. In verse 5, Paul tells Timothy that they deny the power of godliness. What is the power of godliness? To avoid all those things listed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, not since Jesus Himself has ANYONE ever walked perfectly in obedience. If we could, there would be no need for the blood of Jesus to wash our sins away. But, I can say and I’m sure other Christians can tell you that we all mess up more than we’d like to mention. The difference is this: we haven’t denied the power of godliness to keep us from sin, and the Spirit of God (our “godliness” ) within us has been transforming us and changing us. Consider 1 Corinthians 3:17-18:

17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

So you see, although Christians are not yet perfect, there is a transformation going on that changes us more and more into the image of Christ Jesus our Lord.

The following Scripture is a good idea of what it means to be a Christian:

1 John 2:1-6

1My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for[a] the sins of the whole world.

3We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love[b] is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Hope this helps.

19 02 2007
Sambo

Straight is the way and narrow is the gate that leads to eternal life– option 1— Broad is the way and WIDE is the gate that leads to destruction –option 2— We settle for option 2 because it is easy and there aren’t as many valleys to go through. But I bet if we ask Paul and Joseph which way to go they would take option 1 cause they have been there.!!!!!!!!!

1 03 2007
Beppo

I have to agree with Fab on this, in that “option 2” is not true Christianity, but is only dead “religion”. I know that ultimately only God judges who is one of His followers, but consider that Jesus had some strong words for people who committed to Him but also loved the world.

My point in writing the post was not to present two types of Christianity, because there is only one way, and that’s through Jesus, doing things the way He said it must be done. I wanted to illustrate that a large number of people claim to be Christians yet aren’t really walking with God. Having a form of religion — even if it looks similar to Christianity — is not good enough. And sadly, many churches have so watered-down their message that people think they’re fine in God’s eyes because they follow some religious traditions and try to be pretty good. But Jesus said to surrender all of your life to Him. At the judgment, many people will tell Jesus they did all this stuff for Him, but He will say something like, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” You must have a real, living relationship with Jesus, according to His terms. (And since He is God, He gets to define the terms.)

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