Tag Archives: Christianity is a lifestyle

Internalizing God’s Word

Several years ago I had a boss that I didn’t see eye to eye with. They had their way of doing things and I had mine, but they had a “my way or the highway” mentality. They thought their way was the best way to do the job. I voiced my disagreement and explained why my way was better. They listened politely then told me to do it their way. At that point, I developed a forced compliance mentality. I would do the job my way, unless they came around. Sometimes I would do it their way out of spite, but over emphasize certain aspects of it and say, “This is what you said you wanted.” It didn’t create a good relationship. I kept thinking my way was better the whole time and never truly gave their way a chance. We were both miserable the whole time I worked for them.

Sometimes we approach Christianity that way. We read God’s Word and disagree with how it tells us to live. We think we have a better way so we live one way on Sunday when we think God is watching, and live a completely different way the rest of the week. We argue with pastors and teachers about what God really meant or we look for someone online who will agree with us. We simply want the benefits of Christianity without changing how we live. Jesus described this mentality in Luke 6:46-47 when He said, “Why are you so polite with me, always saying ‘Yes, sir,’ and ‘That’s right, sir,’ but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on” (MSG). Jesus isn’t offering good morals to live by. He’s offering a different way to live completely and a compliance mindset won’t work.

Instead, we need to truly internalize His words if we’re going to integrate them into our lives and change how we live. They have to move from our head to our heart. Jesus continued in verses 48-49, “If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss.” We can’t just pick and choose what we believe in the Bible or just talk about Christianity. To internalize His words, read them asking Him to help you understand how to apply them. Meditate on them to think deeply about them so you can work them into your life. Christianity isn’t a list of rules to follow, it’s a way of life to live.

Photo by William Wendling on Unsplash

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Checklist Christianity

I’ve studied and taught DISC for years. When you see a DISC logo, it’s usually in a circle. It’s broken up with lines going north and south, as well as east and west. The letters on the top of it represent outgoing personalities and the letters on the bottom are indicative of people who are introverted. On the left side, the letters are personality types that are task focused, and on the right represent people focused individuals. My letter falls on the top right. I’m an extrovert who is people focused. I get my energy from being around people and enjoy working with a team rather than individually. What my wife has found is that I will sacrifice tasks if given the opportunity. If she needs something done, she makes a to-do list and I’m pretty good at knocking it out. Tasks are easy for all of us to relate to. We have a set of things to do. It’s defined, clear and appeals to our goal oriented nature.

In the Garden of Eden, God had a relationship with Adam and Eve. They walked in the garden and talked, but when they sinned, it hurt the relationship. Fast forward to when the Israelites left Egypt and were in the desert. When God met with them on Mount Sinai, they preferred not to have a relationship with God even though He had just rescued them. Exodus 20:19 says, “They pulled back and stood at a distance. They said to Moses, ‘You speak to us and we’ll listen, but don’t have God speak to us or we’ll die’” (MSG). They were afraid of relationship. Moses went up to talk with God and came back down with the Ten Commandments. It was a task list of how to behave. We, like them, tend to gravitate to a check list approach to Christianity instead of the relationship God wants to have. We often pull back from Him and try to make it into Heaven by following the checklist of behaviors we’re to exhibit forgetting that the work has been done and a relationship is all God wants.

I wish I had space to incorporate all of Galatians 3:11-12, but here’s a portion of it. “The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way…Rule-keeping does not naturally evolve into living by faith, but only perpetuates itself in more and more rule-keeping.” Task oriented Christianity does not lead to relationship. You can’t sustain any relationship by following a check list. You must know the other party in the relationship, know their heart, understand their motives and be vulnerable if a relationship is going to be healthy. For these reasons, many of us allow our fear to have us pull back and stand at a distance from God, but He’s still there waiting for you to enter in. He’s waiting for you to draw close. He tore the veil when Jesus was crucified so that you could enter in and know Him yourself. Spend time in prayer today building that relationship rather than offering God a checklist of things you want. He prefers relationships to tasks.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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