I just discovered this quote recently and I think it has to be one of my favorites. I feel this way often. My head and heart overflowing with thoughts. I just cannot help but spill them out.
One of the thoughts that has been germinating in my mind lately is the thought of a 3 Step Christianity.
We live in a culture that demands instant gratification. Patience isn't a virtue. It's fairly non-existent. We want what we want, and we want it now. We want to see instant results. We want to expend a minimum of effort for the maximum result.
Which is my theory on why new diet fads never die a quick death. At least, not before they become fads. Hope springs anew! With each new diet.
Each new diet promises the elusive lean figure we have been chasing our entire life. The promise that for x amount of money, you will be given a certain pill or shake, and poof! the fat is gone! And, they actually work-until you stop the plan. Then you are back where you started, or even worse.
No surprise that this instant gratification, minimum effort, maximum results thinking has filtered down into mainline Christianity.
While perusing the used book section of our local Christian book store (the used section is actually bigger than the new section), it is easy to spot former Christian fads...
The Prayer of Jabez
WWJD and In His Steps
Purpose Driven Life
8-10 copies of each (and many more titles) lined up in a row. Some never opened.
Now, don't get me wrong. I think these are all wonderful things. As a matter of fact, I prayed the prayer of Jabez before it was a best seller. Not that I'm the litmus test or anything.
Praying for God to enlarge your borders is a great thing. Asking yourself what Jesus would do in any given situation is a great thing. Having a life driven by the purpose of glorifying God is a great thing.
They can change your life. Forever.
Actually, the Holy Spirit can use these tools to change your life forever.
So, why are they sitting abandoned on the shelf in the used section of the Christian bookstore? By droves? Is is because they don't work?
Or maybe because they don't work fast enough?
As Christians, we know it is our chief end to glorify God. We know that God is working all things together for good in our lives. For the good of conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ.
We want this. We want to be godly people.
How does this happen? 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that as we behold Jesus Christ's glory, the Holy Spirit changes us into His image.
Some Christians spend their entire walk jumping from one Christian fad to another. Never really growing. Never changing. Never beholding.
Beholding Christ is a life long process, and we will never be perfect here on earth. That is the truth. We can and should become more Christ-like, but we never will arrive while here on earth.
Side note-an awesome truth is that when we actually do see Jesus Christ one day, with our own two eyes, at that moment, we are going to be changed to be like Him. Completely and totally.
Which begs the question, "why are these Christian fads so popular?" Well, because we are trying to short circuit the process. We are trying to find a 1-2-3 step formula to being good little Christians. We want to follow the formula to holiness that someone else has figured out. "Do this and you are done."
How much easier is it to follow a set of rules than to walk in the Spirit? (Galatians 5:16)
Rules are definite. For diets-don't eat carbs, take this pill=weight loss.
Don't smoke. Don't dance. Don't Drink. Go to church every Sunday. Read your Bible for 5 minutes a day=Godliness. Christlikeness.
Except it is not that easy. Following a set of rules doesn't require reliance on the Holy Spirit. It takes Him out of the equation. Following rules doesn't require daily dependence on God for grace, strength and enabling.
Which is easier? Which is more profitable?
If we daily walk in the Holy Spirit-we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. Immorality, anger, strife, jealousy, idolatry. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit will produce His fruit in our lives. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control.
It isn't a formula, but it will work. Daily dependence on the Holy Spirit will produce these in your life. Guaranteed. But, it is a daily thing for the rest of your earthly walk. No vacation. No putting your Bible on the shelf because you have it all figured out. No quick fix.
Just daily walking.
The secret to a successful diet is to forever change your life style. Change your eating habits, exercise patterns, and thought processes.
The secret to a successful Christian life is to abide in Jesus Christ and walk in the Spirit. That's it. Not tricks. No rules. Just daily abiding and dependence.
So simple. So hard.