Why is the Christian life the way it is?
When surveying Christianity, have you ever wondered why it is so repetitious? Think about it, the Bible doesn’t change, the problems of humanity don’t change, the message of the gospel doesn’t change, the purpose of the church hasn’t changed, and God doesn’t change. Why? The answer is rather simple… Christianity remains changeless because it is supposed to change us!
The implications of this fact can be somewhat loathsome for us. On a daily basis as individuals, and on a weekly basis as a corporate church body, we are to expose ourselves to the same book, the same message, the same God, and the same work of the Spirit. 365 days a year for approximately 80 years (29,000+ days) we must hear the exact same thing! Why? Why this seemingly insane amount of repetition? If you think about it, there is nothing else in life that we expose ourselves to reviewing this much. We don’t review mathematics, the basics of our jobs, history, the rules of grammar, or anything else 29,000 times in our life! But we are to read the Bible and pray every day? Why?
There are three reasons we should look at Jesus every day through His Word and prayer:
First, holiness, righteousness, and godliness are not instinctive or inherent within us.
Romans 3:23 tells us we are all sinners. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us that God’s ways and thoughts are not our ways or thoughts (what we think and do naturally is not in accord with God’s standard). Proverbs 14:12 tells us there is a way that seems right to us, but it is death (what we instinctively do and value leads to our destruction and damnation). Consequently, we must constantly be fed, guided, and refreshed by the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God if we are to walk in holiness, righteousness, and godliness (1st Cor. 6:11 & Rom. 12:1-2). If we do not seek the Lord daily, then we default back into our sinful ways!
Second, Christianity is a relationship, and relationships flourish through time and intimacy.
The reason we engage the Lord through the unchanging practices of Christianity on daily basis—even though we do not do so with any other subject—is due to the fact that our God lives and he relates to us through such practices. Sure, the Word of God does not change, nor does our God change… but He is alive and active. 1 John 1:3 tells us that we have fellowship with the Lord. 2 Cor. 6:16 tells us that we are the temple of the living God. 1 John 3:24 tells us that we know we belong to the Lord because His Spirit abides in us. These passages (and numerous others) serve to inform us that God is active among us and within us.
Consequently, we do not study God like an academic subject; rather, we routinely read, pray, and participate within the church body to know our God and enjoy His presence. In the same way that I cannot wait to get home from work each day to spend time with my family, we long for the opportunity to spend time with God each day. This makes Christianity a joy and privilege within our life that brings about our flourishing and God’s glory.
Thirdly, a failure to engage the Lord daily reveals that our heart does not belong to Him!
According the book of Hebrews, if we can go beyond (or past) Jesus, then we do not belong to Christ (Heb. 6:4-8 & 10:26-31). These passages serve as a gauge for identifying true believers. True Christians cannot go beyond Jesus, depart from Jesus, or ignore Jesus because Christ Jesus has captured their hearts and given them a new heart; that is, we are born again in Christ to an eternal life (1 Peter 1:2-4). Consequently, those who depart from the “faith” were never really apart of the “faith”; that is, just because someone says they are a Christian does not mean that they are a Christian—endurance in seeking Christ proves that Christ has saved us (1 John 2:19). What this means for us is this: those who love the Lord and are saved by God seek Him daily. However, those who do not really love the Lord (and have not been saved by Him) fail to regularly engage Him because they have no desire for Him. The warning is simple: IF YOU DO NOT DESIRE TO SEEK THE LORD YOU ARE NOT SAVED BY GOD. John says if we say we have fellowship with God, but don’t walk with God, we deceive ourselves and belong to the darkness (1 John 1:5-6)!
So, what do we do with this? Well… we ask ourselves a few questions and then we seek the Lord.
If, for one reason or another, you realize that you are not faithfully engaging the Lord, we must understand that no amount of effort will solve our independence from God. Instead, we must ask the Lord for His strength and, then, seek Him—we do not have the ability to enjoy the Lord apart from the work of the Lord. It is God that guides us into His presence. So, let’s begin by prayerfully asking God to help us walk with Him, then seek to know Him through His Word and His church.