Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Common Christian Complex

Most Christians live in a never-ending cycle. In short, we fall, get up, and fall again. This has been expressed most commonly as "peaks and valleys" in the Christian walk. 

There will be times that we are on a spiritual "high" -- the Bible camp experience, a great conference, even a good sermon can get us excited to live for Christ. However, there comes a point when we hit a wall. We become complacent and we sin either by comission (doing things we shouldn't do) or omission (not doing things we should do; I believe that's more common). 

But there's more to the story than just being a sinful hypocrite. That's an accurate description, sure; but it's not the whole picture. To try to illustrate the full scope of what is actually happening, I made this chart:

Start at the top, with "Contentment." This is the first step down the peak of the Christian walk -- the start of the slippery slope. Spiritual contentment is a bad thing. That may not be what you anticipated. 

There is such a thing as good contentment. The Bible speaks of it often (see Matt 6:25-33, Phil 4:12-13, and 1 Tim 6:6-11). 

But there is also such a thing as spiritual {dis}contentment and the Bible speaks of it as well.

In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul tells this particular church to be obedient and to love one another and first introduces the idea of holy discontment. These things he was writing to them about he says they are already doing, but they are to do so more and more

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more...for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more...
1 Thess 4:1, 9b-10

This is the thesis: Christians should never be satisfied with their Christian walk. There is always more work to do. There are ways to be more effective, more efficient, and more pro-active. By keeping a healthy holy discontentment at the forefront of our minds, we can sustain a fire for God that keeps us disciplined and in line with God's Word.

In the coming series, I'm going to talk about each of the qualities that make up the chart above, and hopefully we will all realize ways that we can be more effective for Christ.

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