I just had a conversation with a friend that has the potential to change my life forever. You’ve had these conversations, right? The ones that conclude by you saying, “Crap, there’s just a whole other worldot there that I’m not seeing and understanding.” My friend and I came to the conclusion that we don’t really believe we need Jesus very much. We say it and we talk about it, but our very lives don’t display that deep need for Christ. There is something wrong. When my friend left, I sat there stunned for awhile, staring straight ahead.
So often in this little Christian bubble I swim in, is the desire to say, act, live, react, etc. in terms of Christin-isms. I feel that someway, somehow we have reduced the person of Jesus down to “Christianism”, some sort of theory or method about the Christian faith. Once a theory is memorized or put down on paper, it is pretty easy to know how to carry it out and look respectable. After my conversation, I started to wonder if half of what I do as a missionary is more Christian-ism than Christ-like. Speaking the Kingdom, taking time to be with people in need, intimacy with God – all these Christ-like qualities somehow don’t make the cut when we’re doing Christian-ism. Christian-ism makes all the other Christians think you’re doing just fine when we know deep down our heart is in the wrong place. Playing the Christianism system has to be cast off.
Since I’m a Christian leader I get asked a lot of questions that pertain to practical steps to take in missions, church organization,etc. The general assumption is that we have mastered the “Christian/Christ-like” thing and we now need a good organizational method to carry it out. Tell me what to do next; I have the Jesus thing down. Pragmatics rule the day. I think actually the opposite is probably true for most of us. It is the Christ-like thing that we are in the fog about, and the pragmatic stuff that we give way too much attention. When is the last time I’ve touched a leper, calmed a storm, hung out with a demoniac? Christian-ism doesn’t allow us to be Christ-like. . . it pushes hard for respectability wherein popularity and normalcy take high ground, not Jesus.
The beautiful thing is that Jesus is just as inviting as he’s ever been, just as pure, just as worth to be followed. And He has promised that if we seek him, we will find him. Where there is a lack of need or desire for him, he can replace with thirst and renewal. I don’t want to forget the conversation I just had.