Time for a Christian Questions pop quiz! Who here in our listening audience is so satisfied with their Christian life that they see no need to focus on further change or development? As you look at your life and imagine yourself before Jesus would he say to you – wow, your character is so fully developed, your prayer life is so complete and your sacrifice of your will is so overwhelmingly perfected that you can stop trying – just relax, for you are the perfect example of my disciple! No? Well, then what are we doing about it? Are you resolving to change, but more importantly, are you keeping your resolve?
Here we are in the 21st century and Christianity has really taken on a different look than when it all began. So, what is following Jesus all about? Is it costly? Is it pleasant? Can we customize our following of Jesus to our personal preferences? How do we know if we are really following him or if we are following our own idea of what we would like Jesus to be? Stay with us as we try to get our arms around what true discipleship is and how we can be fully immersed in the footsteps of our Lord!
Oftentimes as we look around us we can really get discouraged, for we live in a world that embraces darkness and persecutes light. We are surrounded by political corruption, we are developed in a “me first” environment. We are shown that winning at all costs is acceptable. And instead of a “turn the other cheek” mentality, we are bombarded with a “smack him before he smacks you” approach. It is like living as a lamb among lions – and we all know how that works out. So, can we as Christians “thrive” in a world like this? Stay with us!
Did you ever stop to think how much of our lives are built around our habits? The words we use, the thoughts we think – driven by habit. Our morning routine...a habit. The time we arrive at work...habit. Our actions and reactions to our co-workers...habit. What we eat, where we eat, how much we eat...all connected to habit. How we treat our spouse, our family, our friends and acquaintances – you guessed it – all connected to habit. So, if such a large portion of our lives are based in habit, then we ought to understand what makes a habit and most importantly how to better our habits!
Christians always talk about following after Jesus, following in his footsteps. What does that mean? Are we supposed to abandon every earthly possession and every earthly ambition to follow him? After all, isn’t that what he did? Are we supposed to sacrifice all of our human will all of the time? Is the idea of Christian sacrifice a requirement for all Christians to follow through on in order to fulfill our calling? Stay with us as we look into this not too often discussed part of the Christian life to try and understand just how it is supposed to work.
For most of us, healthy living is one of those things we all want a part of to varying degrees. We realize that there is a trade-off because certain personal sacrifices or lifestyle changes will yield a healthier and hopefully happier life, so we pursue it. With a Christian, it is the same thing. To keep the spirit of God healthy in our lives requires trade-offs, sacrifices and lifestyle changes. The question is, what are they? How do we implement them and how can we tell if they are working? Stay with us as we look into our lives, God’s spirit and the healthy combination of the two.
The New Testament describes Christianity in a variety of ways. From our theme text it would seem that journey would be restful and easy. From other texts, it would seem like to be a Christian means sacrifice and difficulty. So, the thousand dollar question is, can you have a peaceful and restful experience as a Christian while living a life of sacrifice, selflessness and adversity? Stay with us as we look into how these seeming contradictions could possibly make sense together. Is being a Christian a heavy burden? Let’s find out…