How To Make Christianity Work - A Paradigm Shift

"Jesus did not come to be a model. He came to be our life." -William P. Young

A common idea occurring in Christianity today is that I need to work harder and try harder to reach Jesus' standards. Just be a little more determined. Reading the Bible becomes an exercise in discovering what things I am not measuring up to today and see what things I just need to buckle down and work more at. The problem should be obvious. The measurement is Christ. I am not perfect. And therefore I can never reach His ways on my own.

I'm convinced that this is an unbiblical humanistic idea of Christianity. And it doesn't work. I've never seen it work. And the legalism people strap to it, doesn't make it work. It can't change heart issues.

Gal. 3:3 asks why anyone would try to do through human effort what can only be done through the Spirit.

I'm convinced the Christian life is much more parasitic (the good works only come from us leaching them from the Lord). As we abide in Christ and receive from Him, THEN we bear fruit (John 15). It is through Him that it occurs, not through me.

Let's look at the idea of love, for example. 1 Corinthians 13 defines love as not being proud, rude, self-seeking, but being patient, kind, and many more things. To even try to do one in my strength in a day is going to be virtually impossible, much less the whole list. But yet I'm doomed because the beginning of the chapter says that if I don't walk in love, it doesn't really matter what incredible things are occuring in my life because they mean nothing. However, everything changes when we see that what 1 Cor. 13 is describing is not human love. It is GOD'S love. It is a perfect definition of God's love. But how can I have God's love in me? It seems impossible to get by simply willpower and determination.

1 John 2:15-16 says, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world." It appears from verse 15 that if God's love isn't in a person if they love the world that God's love CAN be in a person if that isn't the case. So it IS possible to have 1 Cor. 13 love in me. However, the Lord is pretty good about defining what loving the world is (since people have twisted it to include pretty much everything under the sun). It's sinful cravings, pride, and lust. So God's love is opposed to those things. So if I think I can walk in pride and God's love at the same time, I'm kidding myself. And if I walk in pride BECAUSE I was walking in God's love, it disappears (seems like a catch-22). Like virtually everything good in the Christian walk, I am only indirectly able to make it appear in my life. I can stop it from occurring by my actions, but ultimately only God can cause those things to flow through me. Which is crucial because if I could directly make those things occur, I would grow prideful which would cause them to cease! Hopefully, that makes sense...

I kinda think of pride, lust, and sinful cravings as like little trinkets or fool's gold. They feel fun and are enjoyable for a little bit. But ultimately the happiness wears off and one needs a new trinket or something else to lust after or be prideful about or whatever in order to satisfy (i.e. only partially because there is no true lasting contentment here). However, those things rob from the true Mother Lode - the love of the Father. It is only as one experiences and dwells in that love that they freely give it. Think for a moment of when you saw The Passion of the Christ or were in another way deeply touched by the Father's love. I'm guessing no one had to tell you not to walk in lust or pride afterwards. And you couldn't help but want to pass along the love you experienced from the Lord through the movie to someone else. You received His love and you past it along. And it was a pure love - no strings attached. You weren't trying to get something from that person just as the Lord wasn't trying to get something out of you. But yet you couldn't help but pass it along. This is the type of relationship with the Lord that we are called to. The depth of encounter of knowing the love of the Lord like this need not be an isolated occurrence, but rather a way of living life such that God is flowing into and through us to impact those that are around us. When one realizes that the focus of the Christian walk is not in the performance and determination of trying to measure up but is in saturation in relationship with the God who loves us is when Christianity does not burn us out, but becomes incredibly fun because of the joy of living in His presence and the fun of watching Him do stuff through us that we could never have hoped to do on our own! In fact, I think a frequent marker of God showing up is to think, "wow, that was good, I wish I would have come up with that (when the rest of the world thinks it was us, but we know that what occured was far better than what we could do)!"

I think a lot of life is just to bring some brokenness into our lives so that some desperation can come which can break some pride so that we won't think we got it all figured out and can do everything on our own so that we are ready to truly turn to God and cling to Him and walk after Him and learn to receive from Him. It seems there is no shortage of brokenness in this world. And there is no shortage of people who want deliverance. But what they seem to not get is that God delivers people not only FROM something but TO someONE. The casual Christianity no longer cuts it anymore, because that isn't the way God intended us. The pride, lust, and sinful cravings can't stay around anymore because God's love doesn't inhabit with that stuff. But yet people aren't truly wanting to be delivered from that stuff. They like the fool's gold. And so they are slowly dying internally because their desperation to live for something more than the emptyness of this world has not prompted real change. Oh, people make little changes and tweaks in their mind. Ha, perhaps YOU might be even making them now thinking that maybe this or that little change might make a difference. But lets face it. I'm pretty sure most people I know don't need just a little tweaking. I know I need an overhaul every single day. An overhaul called the Father's love, abiding in Christ, soaking in His presence, walking in the Spirit, and complete obedience (this includes what I own, what I do, and so forth as much as I am able). Christianity is no longer about justifying and rationalizing what "isn't that big of a deal" or using others as my litmus test of what is acceptable - even if they are Christians - instead of the Bible. Because it is only those who hunger and thirst for righteousness that will be filled (Matt. 5). And it is when we are filled and content that we no longer hunger after lust, pride, and sinful cravings.

Wow, I didn't realize when I started this would turn into something so long. If you read this to the end, though, and it makes sense to you, I don't think you will be disappointed. Hopefully, I didn't over advertise on my title.

You know what's funny? As I finished this, I watched Brian Welch (formerly in Korn) in an interview and was like, dude, he's talking about what I am (at the end).